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Topic: What is the obsession with zombies?

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Subject: What is the obsession with zombies?
Date Posted: 9/4/2012 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2005
Posts: 1,103
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I just don't get the upswing in zombie stories both on TV and books. What is the attraction? I love most types of paranormal themes, but this one mystifies me.

Please chime in with comments.

Date Posted: 9/4/2012 9:56 PM ET
Member Since: 2/1/2008
Posts: 3,538
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I'm with you Jo.  I just don't see what is so enthralling, not to mention romantic, about zombies.  To me they are strictly horror story fodder.  But then, everyone likes something different. 

Date Posted: 9/5/2012 5:09 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
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i'm not particularly fond of zombies either.  however, the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire) that starts with Feed was *excellent*.  i'm still not going to go looking for other zombie books, but i'd highly recommend that one to anyone who likes paranormal or sci-fi.

Date Posted: 9/5/2012 6:46 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2011
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I don't get it either. There is nothing sexy about zombies.

Date Posted: 9/5/2012 9:16 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,178
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Zombies are the only paranormal theme that does not cross over into paranormal romance. Yet. Who knows if they ever will.

Although I've been reading a zombie series that falls squarely into urban fantasy (no apocalypse anywhere to be found) (K. Bennett's Mallory Caine, Zombie At Law series). And Rachel Caine's Revivalist series is also zombies. And, heck, who knows, she might go with the romance angle, too.

For people that like apocalyptic fiction or that appreciate books coming from a sci-fi / horror traditions, zombies are as good as anything else.

I like real horror vampires, too. I get tired of noble vampires. Nothing really all that sexy about drinking blood, either.

Date Posted: 9/5/2012 4:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
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I love good post-apocalyptic fiction and usually some type of zombie-revanant type thing is part of that whole concept, so I kind of like the zombie thing. (I'm also a plague-junkie--any stories about the Black Death, various plagues, etc intrigue me...I should have been an epidemiologist I think. LOL)

Also, as one who really dislikes the whole romance aspect of paranormals, I could say maybe that's also one of the reasons I like the zombies...because they *aren't* sexy and not likely to devolve into total romance stories. I can't begin to count the number of paranormal series I loved the first few books and then ended up ditching them because they turned into all sexual tension between the main character and the "bad guy" or basically into a Stephanie Plumesque love triangle that leaves me gritting my teeth. Bring on the zombies! Braaaaains! Braaaaaaaaaaaainssss! :o)


Date Posted: 9/5/2012 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,178
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The interesting thing to me is how so many genres cross over into what we now call paranormal or urban fantasy.

Obviously, most magic novels (and mental powers novels) are rooted from traditional straight sci-fi / fantasy.

Demons, vampires, werewolves, and zombies come straight from horror.

And women falling in love with anything comes straight from romance.

And anything detective novels obviously are rooted in traditional mysteries. Ever notice how many paranormal people are either actual detectives or some type of policing force? I would say at least 1/2 of the novels that I pick up (that aren't romances) are some kind of paranormal detective mystery. Most of the rest are quest novels.

Even when I was a kid, before there was anything called paranormal, I read from all four of those genres. I've read hundreds of straight-up horror, sci-fi, romance, fantasy and mystery books. So, now that the genres are all mashed up I am game for pretty much anything. 

But I can see where people who come to paranormal by way of a background in reading primarily romance, for example, are probably not too keen on something like zombies.

Date Posted: 9/6/2012 8:48 PM ET
Member Since: 2/1/2008
Posts: 3,538
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Sara, your explanation "explains" a lot for me.  It fully outlined probably the biggest reason I don't like zombie stories.  I also had rather eclectic tastes in reading when I was growing up.  I read from every one of those genres you mentioned....except horror.  I hated then, and hate now, being scared or grossed out.  The other horror characters were able to be "tamed" down a little for me so that I could read them with my paramystery or pararomance or some other para novel.  But zombies still retain too much of that "horror" factor for me. 

Thanks. You put my thoughts into words and made a much shorter and reasonable explanation that my previous answer which basically boiled down to "they just ick me out.." LOL!

eta: clarity

Last Edited on: 9/6/12 8:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/7/2012 11:14 AM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 134
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Zombies are like comedy relief to me.  I read the zombie books for the challenge, but it is not my preference for Paranormal.  The zombies I picture are slow and encumbering, so I feel like it cramps my reading style.  I don't find them exciting enough, so I am with you.

Date Posted: 9/8/2012 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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I just read a nonfiction book called "Gothicka" about the rise in zombie/vamp etc books, and learned something big (for me, at least!):

Most of the zombie books today are not the horror  "living dead," I envision,  they are post-apocalyse--the world as we know it has ended, and the zombies are the result of radiation, or plague, etc.  It's not like horror stories, its about the apocalypse. That's a diffwerent take than some kind of spell cast, or what have you, the old horror story zombie.

Other points have been explained above; vamps represent attractive danger, etc.

Date Posted: 9/30/2012 2:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2011
Posts: 658
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I started out reading reading mostly horror and non-fiction in my later teen years.  As an adult, good horror became harder and harder to find, so I gave of up the genre for awhile.  I don't like cheesy horror and I don't want to laugh at something that's intended to be scary.  So, I gave paranormal romance a try.  Loved it.  As some of you mentioned above, I too prefer my vamps with an edge.  They evolved from horror literature and I prefer them to be a little rough around the edges from the transition.  LOL.  Anyway, I love PR but get tired of too much romance, which led me to branch off into Urban Fantasy.  But being a horror lover at heart, is what made me eventually shamble stumble across zombies...

The best horror, for me anyway, is mostly psychological.  Zombies represent the ultimate mind bender.  Are they really dead?  Is part of the person's humanity still trapped in that nightmare?  Are they a product of man, nature, or something more?  If they author intends the zombie condition to be a result of divine power, that is truly terrifying.  Also, because zombies are essentially mindless killing machines without reason or remorse they are the ultimate villains.  No matter how well a hero/heroine is written, no matter how strong selfless and brave they are, there is no reasoning with a zombie. 

I'm sure we all are drawn to read /watch living dead for different reasons.  Because of they're lost humanity and inability to reason, for me, they are the ultimate villains.  I get together with my mother, who's in her 50's, to watch AMC's The Walking Dead every season.  She loves the show as much as I do, but now I'll have to ask her why.  Thanks for posting this question, I'd never thought about the "whys" of why I'm drawn to the "Walkers" of literature.

Date Posted: 11/15/2012 3:23 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
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I was another one who didn't get the allure of zombies. I read one by Savannah Russe a couple years ago and liked it but never picked up another one until Feed. Omg, I was hooked. It is a lot of comedy relief for some reason even though Feed wasn't exactly a comedy. After the Newsflash trilogy, I find myself looking for zombie books.
Date Posted: 11/30/2012 1:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2011
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Susan, I LOVED the Newsflesh series too.

Date Posted: 11/30/2012 11:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/5/2010
Posts: 162
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Actually sara... Ive read a few "zombie romances" one of them is called my zombie valentine. So they have, in fact, crossed over...

Last Edited on: 11/30/12 11:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/4/2012 5:50 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2007
Posts: 3,022
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I'm with Cheryl that Zombies tend not to be romantic.  I like paranormal stories as long as the romance in the story doesn't overshadow the main story.  There have been to many series that started out great until the romance kicked in and totally ruined the story.

I also read a lot of vampire stories but they don't interest me much anymore because they don't have bite anymore.

With zombie fiction I tend to like seeing how the humans react and overcome the apocalypse rather than just for the zombies.

Date Posted: 12/9/2012 11:18 AM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2007
Posts: 7,874
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Got me too - they tend to leave me cold (very hard to make them romantic or have all that much character development, and the post-apocalypse worlds are mostly just to scary for me - I have a 4-year-old and I just can't contemplate that stuff without being terrified). That said, I made it through Allison Hewitt Is Trapped and mostly liked it, and I do enjoy the somewhat comical zombie subplot in Nancy Holzner's Deadtown series, and Rachel Caine's Working Stiff and its sequel. And Kim Harrison have a couple of short stories (in a byway of the Rachel Morgan world) in which she manages to make a zombie romantic. So like a lot of things, if it's done right it can be good - but my zone of tolerance is pretty narrow!

Date Posted: 1/2/2013 12:22 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2008
Posts: 2
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In Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series she incorporates zombies in her stories using magic. They aren't from a post apocalyptic world, and are pretty much exactly what they're identified as,zombies. The series is mainly about vampires, but there are lots of other kinds of monsters as well. Great series :)