By David Turton, Author of post-apocalyptic novel The Malaise – Cosmic Egg Books
With the exponential success of The Walking Dead and the longevity of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead film franchise, the appeal of zombie fiction continues to stagger, lurch and bite its way into the public’s consciousness.
Zombie’s aren’t a new idea. Originating from a Haitian myth in the 19th century, Romero’s ground-breaking film was released in 1968. So why, in the early stages of the 21st century, do zombies dominate our screens and horror novels?
Horror trends often reflect the world around us, or more specifically, what frightens the public at that time. H.P. Lovecraft’s work in the early 20th century was based around the fear of the unknown, which at the time included the unexplored depths of the sea and the far reaches of icy mountains and desolate caverns. The 1960s saw a wave of ‘end of the world’ fears played out in novels by J.G. Ballard and Philip K Dick, while The Terminator film in 1984 and the more recent Black Mirror television series have explored the dangers in the rise of human reliance on technology.
It is, possibly, the ‘end of the world’ link with zombies that appeals most. After all the words ‘zombie’ and ‘apocalypse’ are so closely associated that it’s often hard to imagine one genre without the other. Readers and viewers alike have long been fascinated with a desolate, barren version of Earth, a dangerous and dark vision of the future, fraught with peril in a land shorn of its population. Maybe it is this combination of trauma, high stakes and the fall of civilization that makes a zombie story so engaging.
Or perhaps the answer lies in the nature of the zombies themselves. They amble around, disconnected to the world, their only aim to consume; all other emotions, thoughts and objectives are obsolete. Is the zombie the ultimate consumer, holding a dark mirror up to our own behaviours, as we amble along the main streets of our towns and cities, staring blankly at information on our phones, sleepwalking from one app to the next, Amazon to Ebay, Facebook to Instagram to SnapChat? Is it ourselves that are disconnected from our day to day lives by this insatiable desire to consume thousands of bite-sized pieces of data and mindless chunks of information?
Whatever your interpretation of zombie movies, novels and television programmes, there’s no denying that the mixture of apocalyptic fiction, visceral horror and cracking storylines will keep us consuming their stories for many years to come.
David Turton’s post-apocalyptic novel ‘The Malaise’ ‘a thrilling and gripping mix of science fiction and horror’ is available for pre-order now, The Malaise - Buy Now published by Cosmic Egg Books.
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