Posts tagged with "apocalypse" - Faerye Net 2009-10-11T10:03:53+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Random thought: zombies 2009-10-11T10:03:53+00:00 2009-10-11T10:12:54+00:00 <p>Yesterday I started listening to a fresh audiobook, <em><a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780142001431'>Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague</a></em> by Geraldine Brooks. As the name implies, it&#8217;s set around a 17th century outbreak of the Bubonic Plague in England. When the novel opens, the plague has already swept through, and the main character is coping with the emptiness of her village. I&#8217;ve barely begun, but the story has a lot of interest for its sheer novelty: I could name social effects of the plague or list a few historical facts about it, but I&#8217;ve never read a book set during or after it. But it also made me think of a sort of story I have heard more than once: zombie stories.</p> <p>I know, I know, there are no zombies in 17th century history. But the empty streets, the feeling of being an island of humanity &#8212; those are definitely part of modern post-apocalyptic fiction. And that&#8217;s when zombies came up &#8212; I began to wonder if zombies are a plague fear. I know, a lot of stories refer to it as &#8220;the infection!&#8221; and so forth so this may seem obvious to others, but it had never occurred to me to wonder if that&#8217;s where zombies get their archetypal oomph. I&#8217;ve always figured they were a very literal fear of death, uninteresting from a subtextual standpoint. But in an epidemic, even the people you love can kill you. Especially them, as you stay near them and tend them. Everyone is a threat, anyone could prove the agent of your death. You&#8217;re surrounded by bodies and death and there are few survivors, traumatized and isolated. Zombies!</p> <p><a href="" target="links">Ryan</a> responded to this musing of mine by saying he thought zombies came from someone thinking the dead walking and making you one of them would be a good story. But I think recurring stories &#8212; especially scary stories, like werewolves and zombies &#8212; have to tap into something in the human psyche or they wouldn&#8217;t keep coming back. Like plagues and zombies, these stories keep coming and won&#8217;t lie down.</p> End Notes 2007-06-27T19:09:01+00:00 2009-10-11T10:03:25+00:00 <p>Once again, I hear people saying that we have reached the end of days. When I hear or read these words, I stare.</p> <p>Do they not know that every two generations feels the grip of armageddon? That the Visigoths, the Vikings, the coming of Genghis Khan were all seen as clear signs of the end? </p><p>When you say to me that you &#8220;know we are in the end times,&#8221; you say nothing about the world. You tell me that you do not care to consider the sweep of human history. You tell me you are trapped in &#8220;the ghetto of the here and now.&#8221;* You have never imagined the fearful Roman potter listening to the sounds of battle, the despair of the monk whose brothers are slaughtered, the boy running to warn the village of the approaching horde. How can you lack the curiosity, the empathy to realize that this despair is the common lot of man? How can you not even have imagined the thoughts of a woman crouched in a bomb shelter, smelling the top of her baby&#8217;s head, hoping not to hear above the radio&#8217;s talk of Cuba the dim reverberations of the world&#8217;s end?</p> <p>*In a craft talk, David Long described the world without reading as &#8220;the ghetto of the here and now.&#8221;</P>