Z is for Zombies

a-to-z-letters-z I can’t believe the A to Z Challenge is coming to an end. It’s been an interesting experience and I want to thank everyone who took the time to read some of my entries and a big thanks to those that took time to comment.

Zombies seem to be everywhere these days (no not literally, you can put down the crossbow). From AMC’s The Walking Dead to the upcoming movie World War Z they’re on the big screen and small screen. I won’t bore you with a long lecture on the history of the undead in popular culture, especially since I am far from an expert. Personally, I suspect part of our fascination with zombies is our uneasy relationship with death in modern society as well as our fears of disease and sickness. On the one hand we a reluctant to talk about death in our society, we hide it from public view and only reluctantly deal with it in our mourning rituals. We act as if death itself were contagious and that we don’t want to risk drawing attention to ourselves by talking about it. I also think that we fear (and rightly so) infectious disease and its spread. From influenza pandemics to exotic and deadly viruses like Ebola and Coronavirus we fear the rapid, uncontrolable spread of disease that can rob of us family and friends and threaten ourselves.

It’s interesting in recent years that serious organizations like the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have come out with Zombie Preparedness programs. While it is tongue in cheek, it does serve a real purpose in getting people thinking about dealing with the spread of such an outbreak.

Like my passion time travel, I find Zombies a very rich story telling device that can be used in so many ways. From slow zombies to fast zombies and everything in between. While most modern fans of Zombies wouldn’t consider re-animating the dead on purpose to be true zombies, I consider Frankenstein and re-animated zombies found in Voodoo culture like depicted in the movie “The Serpent and the Rainbow” to be direct ancestors to the modern day zombie in fiction.

In 2003 Max Brooks wrote The Zombie Survival Guide which was a very popular guide that discuss both the history of the zombie and also survival techniques. Online I follow a twitter feed called Zombie Training that offers no nonsense practical advice on surviving zombies. More than once I’ve read on of their tweets and thought, that makes perfect sense.

Getting back to the fiction side of things I want to leave you with a couple of references for interesting additions to the genre.

The first is a short Australian film that you can find online called “I Love Sarah Jane” that is heart breaking in more than one way and is only 14 minutes long.

The second is for the trailer for Warm Bodies (2013) that uses Zombies in a way to explore what makes us human. The movie is based on the book by Issac Marion.

The last is a trailer for a film I keep meaning to watch but haven’t seen yet. A Canadian film called Pontypool that looks at language as a virus. It’s based on the book “Pontypool Changes Everthing” by Tony Burgess

What’s your take on Zombies? Love them or hate them?

Y is for Yesterday


Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday

Suddenly I’m not half the man I used to be
There’s a shadow hanging over me
Oh, yesterday came suddenly

Yesterday – Beatles

When I was a kid, our grade 8 class choose Yesterday for our graduation theme complete with the Beatles song “Yesterday” as our song. It was an odd choice considering the song wasn’t even ‘current’ – this would have been 1982, long past the prime for that classic to be in the consciousness of a bunch of 13 and 14 year old kids. Yes we were passing into another stage in our life and growing up, but why were we so nostalgic for ‘yesterday’ is beyond me.

They say that youth is wasted on the young, and the older I get the more I have to agree with that sentiment. I think one of the reasons that statement rings true is because ‘the young’ act like they have all the time in the world, and older people shake their heads wishing they still were ‘younger’ with more time on the clock. The reason I put ‘young’ in quotes is because its all relative. A 30-something might feel like youth is wasted on the ‘young’ 20 year old, the same way a senior might look at at 30 year old and think the same thing.

It’s one thing to be nostalgic about ‘yesterday’, but there’s nothing to be gained by having regrets about what might have been. Yesterday is in the past and time machines notwithstanding, nothing is going to change what happened. The best anyone can do is move forward and make the best of the time they have left in this life.

It’s never to late to start on a new adventure, try a project you always wanted to start, or try learning a new skill. David Seidler’s Oscar win for his screenplay for The King’s Speech in 2011 was not only notable for the fact that he was the oldest to win that particular aware at 70, he was also developing the story for more than 30 years. A stutter himself, Seidler had always been interested in writing about King George VI’s struggle, but had difficulty finding enough information on Dr. Lionel Logue, the Australian who successful treated the King. He contacted one of Dr. Logue’s descendants and was given access to Logue’s journals under the condition that the Queen Mother gave her approval. After writing to her personal secretary in the early 1980s and receiving the reply that she agreed but not during her lifetime, Seidler abandoned the project for more than 25 years. Only well after the Queen Mother died in 2002 did he look to revive the project.

Seidler said during his acceptance speech “My father always said to me I would be a late bloomer”. Better a late bloomer than regretting what might have been.