It's time to talk about zombies. Again. (:
So I've got this novel idea about zombies. Now, I know, the subject of zombies is hardly a "novel idea," as it has been done a lot. But I don't think it's been done truly well. I've got a lot of ideas I think are different from the stories, movies, and graphic novels that have been done so far. I just need to buckle down and start writing it.
But first I have some homework to do. Which is be up-to-date with the "Walking Dead" series so I know what "the other guy" is doing. Netflix has the first season only -- how does one watch the other seasons? I'm pretty new to this "watching things" thing actually. I've always rented movies (back when that was a thing) and then watched them on netflix when that was a thing, but now I'm starting to find there's series I would like to watch, which aren't on netflix. How... does one watch them?
It seems the main way They want you to watch them is their special expensive cable or satellite television channel, well that ain't happening. I ain't shelling out money on a monthly basis to watch something that will only be on at some obscure specific time, what is this, the stone age?
And now, some of my thoughts and complaints about popular zombie media World War Z and Walking Dead (the graphic novel & tv series). I'll put it behind a cut because it will probably contain spoilers.
World War Z
World War Z was a good read, but there were also some extremely stupid things in it. Like in the end the living win the war by making a continuous line across the United States and marching across shooting all the zombies.. WHAT??! WHAT??????? That. Is. Dumb. Really dumb.
Lots of smaller things I thought were dumb but that, just, seriously, what?
And on a bigger picture scale, in the story I have in mind, the living don't win. That's no fun. By the time everything is said and done, the human population is reduced to a fraction of a percent of its current levels, for example, Orange County, currently home to over 3 million people, might have two or three little villages of a few dozen people.
In related news, in WWZ, the survivors, at least in Russia, then embark upon an ambitious repopulation project to bring the population back up. I find the author's idea that current population levels are desirable to be.. interesting.
Interesting fact: by and large, continuously, since the end of the ice age, as the human population has increased, people have had to work more hours to eke a living out of the land. Yes, cavemen had more free time than us. A lot more. So my drastic reduction of the human population is, in my opinion, a happy ending in disguise ;D
So after hearing from a lot of people about how great this was I figured I certainly needed to make myself familiar with it. As I said, I've seen Season 1 on netflix. And I don't really have any complaints either, it was a good well rounded zombie adventure.
Well, I was a bit miffed they pulled the exact same beginning as "28 Days Later." As far as I can gather, the author insists it was just "a coincidence" and neither "ripped off" the other. Even if there wasn't any plagiarism of ideas, I feel they both just wanted to completely shirk the most interested aspect of the zombie apocalypse, the beginning.
And of course the movie Zombieland does it as well, though not with a coma, but they simply skip past the zombie onslaught to a point where it's all already old hat to the protagonist. So clearly this is a theme among zombie novels - they want to talk about a world zombies have already overrun, not one in the throes of it. This will be a major difference in my story idea then, because I certainly intend to cover the initial onslaught.
I also felt I ought to read the graphic novel. I went to the library and picked up the first volume. I was surprised by how closely the TV show follows the graphic novel, with the only departures being very clear improvements. In particular, the thing with the protagonist's friend liking his wife in the graphic novel was dumb to the point of hard-to-believe idiocy (that he simply had an unrequited crush on her that he was being so weird about it that he eventually had to be shot), whereas in the TV version there's the much more realistic non-unrequited uncomfortable weirdness (and at the time I still thought he was handling it immaturely, but it's lightyears better than in the graphic novel).
A theme I find interesting in the WD series is the survivor's "if everyone else is dead, why go on living?" mentality. Kind of similar but opposite to the WWZ "we must repopulate!," there's this idea that without millions of people on the planet life just ain' worth living. Again I don't follow.
Compare to Cormac MacCarthy's "The Road," which is about a father and son who are nearly the only survivors of a nuclear apocalypse. I felt the subtext underpinning the whole story was that if his son could just survive, and find a girl, life would go on. It was wonderfully unsaid. And they trudge through the shocking bleakness and have various misadventures, until finally, in the end SPOILER ALERT skip the end of this sentence if you don't want to know ;) -- in the very end, though the father has just died, the son meets another family, and though at that age he shows utterly no interest in the fact that the family has a daughter as well as a son, I feel it is the totally unmentioned critical thing.
Compared to how the mentioned zombie novels deal with the idea of survival, I like The Road's take much better. And I also really appreciate the fact that it is not mentioned, or even hinted at.
Obvisouly different people, in the circumstance, would deal with things differently, and many would indeed despair, but I don't like how WD and WWZ both treat it as if surviving is barely worthwhile if nearly everyone else is dead.
I suspect this is getting TL;DR here, but I have one more thought I want to get out here. One thing that made me seriously groan in the WD graphic novel was that Grimes, the protagonist, has the "great idea" to go find a gun store and raid it for guns. Because "no one would have thought of that during the onslaught." Oh please! Fortunately the tv version cut out this dumb idea. It's the FIRST place everyone would have gone.
And that's another theme I want to include in my story -- any idea you think is a good idea, everyone else has that idea, it is therefore not a good idea. Gun shops, first thing overrun by panicked people. Even ideas that don't pop immediately to mind but after some thought seem like a good idea, yeah everyone else did that too. My story will most likely take place in OC, since it's easiest to write about what you're familiar with. Oh look at those oil rigs off the coast they sure gotta be zombie safe right? Just imagine the hundreds, thousands maybe, of little motorboats, yachts, kayaks, and everything in between. Converging on the oil rigs. Yeah, doesn't sound so fun out there with way more people than can fit on the rig trying to clamber aboard eh?
So, yeah. I'm going to try to buckle down and make some progress on this little project. Tomorrow I'll aim to have an entry up dealing more with the plot arcs and ideas I intend to make my story out of.
Previous Zombie Episodes - the following are some entries I've written that fit right in with the zombie apocalypse as I envision it:
28 Hours Later - Zombie proof is easy, panicked refugee proof, not so much.
28 Years Later - The world begins to recover from the human apocalypse.
56 Years Later - They always said WWIV would be fought with sticks and stones...
The Coming Zombie Apocalypse
It's time to talk about zombies. Again. (: