Zombies weren’t always carnivores.
There is an excellent cross-examination of the rise of the 21st century zombie over in the New York Times called The State of Zombie Literature – An Autopsy, discussing just how zombies came to be the flesh-hungry beasts they are today and why we find them so appealing.
I particularly enjoyed the author’s suggestion as to why zombie fiction has seen a recent surge in popularity:
“You have to wonder whether our 21st-century fascination with these hungry hordes has something to do with a general anxiety, particularly in the West, about the planet’s dwindling resources: a sense that there are too many people out there, with too many urgent needs, and that eventually these encroaching masses, dimly understood but somehow ominous in their collective appetites, will simply consume us. At this awful, pinched moment of history we look into the future and see a tsunami of want bearing down on us, darkening the sky.” – The State of Zombie Literature – An Autopsy
I think that’s exactly what terrifies me about traditional zombies, and that’s why I walked a different path with Hungry For You: by giving my zombies personalities — the ability to think and feel — they evolve from faceless, insatiable voids mindlessly destroying the world and become people, individuals with whom I can relate.
If a zombie can take the time to stop to smell the roses… then maybe the world isn’t so bad, after all.
(Thank you to Toni of nzreader for linking me to the article.)