So I've got this big old blog and I do so damn little with it! I suppose I could do some bitching about some injustices in the world but that gets so old. Screw it, I'll let the haters spew on their own sites. Where the hell am I going with this? Oh yeah! I'm finally going to post something LOOOOONG overdue. Padraig Skelly a reader and fan came up with this book tree that shows how all of the books diverge from a central theme. I hope this helps folks that are looking to figure out how they all interweave!
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Today I'm honored to have on a friend of mine that I actually got to meet this year at the World Horror Con - Without further ado - Jaime Johnesee!
Thanks for having
me on your blog today, I really appreciate it. I promise I'll try to keep
everything right where you left it. Except the bratwurst. I have to be honest
and tell you right up front, I ate the bratwurst out of your fridge and for
that, I am sorry. There, I feel better now that I've confessed so I think I'll
go ahead and move on to the less delicious topic at hand, zombies. I love
zombies. They are such versatile monsters and so intrinsically linked with our
fear of death and what lies beyond in the afterlife. Zombies represent the
possibility that there is no peace and that is something that makes more than a
few people uncomfortable and it also explains why zombies are such a great
The history of
zombies in American literature and film all begins in the Carribean. Haiti,
to be exact. The lore says that Bokors practicing voodoo would essentially
shanghai people by using a powdered mixture that caused paralysis and mimicked
death. The victim was thought to be dead and was buried while in an unconscious
state. The kidnapper would then come back under cover of darkness, dig up the
grave, and wake the confused soul within. The zombi had no memory of who they
were or what had happened. These folks were then said to have been sold to
plantation owners, or kept by the Bokor themselves to be used as slaves.
In time, zombi
mythos migrated to the Americas
where, in the swamps and forests of the southern half of North
America, it thrived and grew. These stories morphed from the zombi
being sold into slavery to them becoming aware and attacking the slave masters.
As more time passed the word morphed from zombi to zombie and the creature
itself began to change. This time they weren't merely humans who had their
memory erased, now they were the dead brought back to life seeking vengeance. As the decades passed the stories, and the
creature itself, changed and morphed throughout all mediums.
In 1932 the film "White
Zombie", and its star Bela Lugosi, brought the zombie into the public
theaters for the first time. This paved the way for other films like 1944's
"Voodoo Man" These zombies were of the hypnotized/drugged variety and
the mainstay in these stories is that the zombie themselves was not evil, but
whomever turned them into a zombie was.
like "I Walked With a Zombie" from 1943 showed the creatures to be magical
and under the total power of a voodoo priest/priestess. Then came the undead.
In the thirties, forties, and early fifties zombies start casually shifting
from victims to monsters. By the time the man we refer to as the grandfather of
the modern zombie, George A Romero, came around these beings were no longer
something to pity. Gone were the days of the human robot being controlled by
another through words, spells, or drugs.
Romero envisioned are the ones you read about most often today. The term 'Romero
zombie' is actually used when describing a vicious, flesh eating, nearly
indestructible terror out to spread the virus it carries in any way it can
while feasting on the flesh and viscera of humans.
These beasts are
still changing, still evolving, today. There is the more widely known zom-poc
(zombie apocalypse) category but there are also other subspecies of zombie
tale. Some, like Jeffrey Kosh's "Revenant", bring us back to the deep
South and illustrate the lush voodoo tales of old, highlighting an undead
creature's desire for revenge. Then there is the funny and entertaining world
of zombie comedy --zom-com for short. Jeff Strand's "A Bad Day For
Voodoo" being one of my personal favorites. These types of books and films
poke fun at the thought of undeath. They seek to make this underlying fear of
death --intrinsic to humans-- become something more light hearted and fun. When
done properly, as Strand did, these books can
be just as fun and thrilling as their survival type counterparts.
Whatever form the
zombie has taken, wherever the story is set, and what the zombie itself is
capable of doing changes based on the author/filmmaker. Zombies have been
around for a long time and I honestly don't think they're going to disappear
anytime soon. Some brush aside zombie fiction as being too mainstream, and to
them I say; wade a little deeper into other areas of that pool, you just might
find something you like after all.
* * *
The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to
the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors
spreading the disease in the month of November.
Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don't miss an
interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways
galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!