Posted in Monday Mayhem

Rigor

One of the perks when writing books about zombies is the fact that I can research various subjects such as physics, epidemics and psychology. With each subject comes a set of fascinating facts I never knew, had I not looked into it on my own. The most interesting and morbid of all subjects I’ve had to study is the rate of decomposition of the dead, the various phases, and the ultimate appearance of the body weeks after the process had begun. It is not a subject for the faint of heart or for regular readers of my Monday Mayhem series to indulge in while having breakfast.

The Walking Dead cast
The Walking Dead cast

Having watched every episode of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, my perspective has changed from when I first became interested in the genre.

For instance, in the early years of my fixation with the undead, my focus fell on what the survivors had to do in order for them to stay alive. Coincidentally, the underlying theme in the early seasons of The Walking Dead is that of survival in the thick of a zombie apocalypse—even if no one really calls them zombies in the show. Survival means different things to different people. In the broad context of the show’s premise, survival means living another day without having had worried about a walker getting in the way. To this end, the survivors play a game of human vs. beast throughout the early part of the series.

As the years went on, however, and by no means would I compare my experience with others who follow the genre, I’ve noticed the plight of the survivors has not been against the walkers but against themselves. Nothing could be more evident of this fact than with last season’s premier when the survivors’ main enemy was a band of cannibals determined to make Rick and his crew their evening meal. For some, cannibalism may have crossed the line, but the ratings sure haven’t reflected that matter. If anything, the audience, including myself, keeps coming back for more.

When it comes to story, The Walking Dead, and now Fear the Walking Dead, has and is leading viewers through a range of emotions that only a good drama can deliver.

Getting back to my original thought about my education within the genre in relation to the shows—has anyone else noticed the walkers in The Walking Dead are different from when they hit the scene in the first episode? Recently, they’ve decomposed rapidly leaving no doubt they’re slowly dying but at a slower pace than otherwise any medical student would suggest. Their skin has lost much of its elasticity. Their color has turned darker. And they have become sluggish as opposed to their former selves, living or otherwise.

Yet, it leaves me wondering what the walkers will look like once the series is over. Will they explode like a bag a goo, as depicted in one episode of a walker trapped in a well? Or will they simply shrivel into a nub and crunch to their ultimate death?

I know that it’s a silly observation, but how can anyone ignore the basic levels of rigor? I can’t imagine what science will do to the walkers once it gets through with them.

Just a thought.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What do you think will happen with the walkers when the series completes? Will the science of rigor finally take revenge on the undead?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

The Book of Eli and Zombies

The Book of Eli is one of my favorite movies of all time. That’s saying a lot, considering I can name my favorite movies in a quick ten-second round. Given I’ve written about Solara, the female protagonist for one of my Women Who Wow Wednesday articles, I thought it appropriate for Monday Mayhem to write about the dystopian nightmare presented in the film. Even though the world of Eli is far from being the center of a total undead infestation, the scenarios the survivors face are the same.

Denzel Washington as Eli
Denzel Washington as Eli

Just how similar is The Book of Eli’s reality with that of a zombie apocalypse?

Not to give away anything from the plot of the film, the future according to The Book of Eli is that of doom and gloom. Gangs rule the earth searching for wealth—but not the wealth you and I might think as valuable. Huge swaths of land lack the basic ingredient to make it flourish into a viable ecosystem. The ingredient? Water. Whether it’s a small blade of grass or an ox, life needs water to survive. Without water, life ceases to exist. What are the chances water can become the new currency? In a zombie apocalypse, all the employees who worked at the dams and water treatment plants will have disappeared, swallowed by their fall into the vortex of the undead. With no one supervising the flow, malevolent humans could easily capture the resource and use it to control those under their supposed jurisdiction.

The Book of Eli
The Book of Eli

Next is the food chain. Survivors will need to eat things. If the film is any indication to what humanity has to look forward to, then there will be more to deal with than a mere food shortage. Lack of sustenance gives rise to the unthinkable. Cannibalism could become the norm. Not only will the survivors have to pay close attention to attacks from zombies aiming to make a meal of them, but they would also need to be mindful of attacks from within. Hunger will do strange things to a person’s mind. It will lead someone, who otherwise in a civilized society would be a model citizen, to commit the most heinous of crimes—to consume a fellow human for the purpose of self-preservation. How farfetched does that sound in light of the fact that we don’t know what humanity is capable of until that day when placed in those circumstances where everyone’s forced to choose?

Lastly, The Book of Eli suggests the barter system will work when all else fails. A pair of gloves, cat oil and a trinket from the past may buy a charge for an iPod. That is all a survivor may need to get them through another week of wandering through zombie-infested farmland in order to find a hospitable environment where they could call home. It won’t be easy. To deal in the barter system one will need to expropriate goods for the sole purpose of trade. Those goods will need to be high-demand items on everyone’s list. It’s unrealistic to assume those items would also not fall under heavy guard by those who’d want to keep them for themselves. And if zombies have anything to do with it, what’s to say survivors couldn’t use the bodies of the undead as trophies for their morbid trades?

Therefore, again I ask. Just how similar is The Book of Eli’s reality with that of a zombie apocalypse?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

What do you think would make a zombie apocalypse less dangerous than a real end-time scenario?