Saturday, September 17, 2011

Zombie Farmers and more (Zombie Ecology cnt'd)

Last weekend I had a discussion on my Zombie Ecology post with Aaron Dickey, longtime friend of my eldest son Karston and hardcore zombie film fan.  So we're going to indulge in some more zombie story idea-play.

From my previous post, it so happens that one of the ideas I thought was original was not.  Zombie animals have been done before, though they became so from eating infected humans and/or general splatter rather than the way I proposed it.  But my question, "What do zombies eat? (when not eating humans)" was one Aaron hadn't encountered before.  So let's continue with that for a bit.

What zombies eat depends on the type of zombie we are imagining:  1.  Supernatural black-magic zombies:  These don't need to eat anything, but they don't spread any zombie "disease" either, so their numbers don't automatically grow--so not even in often-inconsistent fiction will these guys be likely to take over the world.  2.  Infectious dumb zombies:  These zombies need to eat when not gnawing on the flesh of human survivors, but they don't have the brains to find food for themselves very well.  Their infectious nature means they have the potential to take over planet Earth, but their inability to feed themselves means they will probably die out some time afterward.  3.  Infectious smart zombies:  Aaron informed me scenarios exist where zombies are clever.  While this is not the most popular interpretation of this monster, it does exist.  So with this type of "zombieism," the creatures being infections, they could take over the world and would have the smarts to sustain themselves afterwards.  Under their attack planet Earth would become and remain, "Planet of the Zombies" (assuming no pesky interference by heroic survivor types...).

So these smart zombies, once they mop up what's left to be eaten of ordinary humans, naturally are going to turn to farming to provide for themselves.  Smart zombies are still mean and aggressive, so I don't see any of them becoming vegans or eating tofu.  They'd probably prefer raising animals like sheep or cattle...and then enjoy slaughtering the animals with their bare hands and mouths...(sorry if that's too gruesome--these are monsters, please bear in mind).

So imagine a story set in a planet of self-sustaining smart zombies.  Aaron Dickey and I talked this out and he suggested an original story idea:  What if on this all-monster world, zombies started reverting back to being human?  Certain ones started to change appearance to what we would recognize as normal, no longer wanted to eat their meat while still alive, and started loving and caring for one another?  There haven't ever been any zombie stories like that.  And that could even have a strong spiritual application, couldn't it?  How everyone thinks it's normal to be brutal, but some are starting to change into something kinder and more loving, rediscovering what "human" was always supposed to be...

I thought of an alternative, which I first suggested with a tongue-in-cheek attitude.  What if the planet is taken over by zombies (or is in the process of being taken over), but the planet has a military defense network capable of building war robots, as in the Terminator movies?  Then you could have a "Zombies vs. Terminator" scenario...

I meant that as a joke at the time, but using some sort of robotic system to fight zombies could seriously be done in a story.  Imagine, a world infested with zombies, a small band of humans desperately trying to stay alive...their only hope lies in intelligent military robots, who may or may not be on their side.  I don't see any direct spiritual application to such a story, but maybe there's something I simply haven't noticed.

Oooh, and what about an Amish setting in an all-zombie world?  Might be worth looking into, as might one of these other story ideas.  Think 'em over, anyway...

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