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Jack Graham

Jack Graham writes and podcasts about culture and politics from a Gothic Marxist-Humanist perspective. He co-hosts the I Don't Speak German podcast with Daniel Harper. Support Jack on Patreon.


  1. Goodluck
    February 18, 2016 @ 11:55 am

    If you really want to see Capitalist society’s fascination with death an mutilation, look into Nollywood. The eternal Cowboy Capitalism of Africa has made an industrial singularity of cheap, pulpy horror for the masses who have to live in an already horrifying reality.


  2. Liam Purcell
    February 18, 2016 @ 1:16 pm

    I’m always struck by how most zombie and post-apocalyptic stories are about how human beings need macho strong leaders, who are prepared to do awful things to protect us. If that isn’t the theme, then it’s just about how human beings are all irredeemably shitty.


    • Lambda
      February 18, 2016 @ 7:20 pm

      That’s probably the main reason why I liked School-Live!’s crossing of the zombie apocalypse with the schoolgirl slice-of-life genre. It being mostly about how even if it is all zombies outside, you need to forget them sometimes if life is going to be worth living.

      Kind of like we can all go on watching TV even in the face of capitalism, global warming and pending ecological collapse, or whatever horror is most on your mind.


  3. Kit Power
    February 18, 2016 @ 1:36 pm

    I attended a panel of writers at The British Fantasy Society on the zombie apocalypse last year. Joe Hill was there, talking about his new novel, ‘The Fireman’, and he said two things that I thought were interesting in light of the above.

    The first was that he had a fundamental unease about zombie fiction becasue, in his words (filtered via my memory) “The survivors are actually the 1% – they’re the ones who will have the food and guns stashes, the fortresses. We, the 99%, are the zombies.” Following on from that, he said that one of the things he wanted to do with his own novel was make the infected ‘the good guys’. The book is not out for a while yet, but I thought that was an interesting take, and might actually represent that ‘fresh spin’ that you rightly note has become a cliche.


    • encyclops
      February 18, 2016 @ 8:41 pm

      Warm Bodies might have gotten there first, depending on how one looks at it.


  4. Objectivereality
    February 18, 2016 @ 9:40 pm

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on Handling The Dead by John Ajvide Lindquist. The titular “dead” aren’t really in the traditional zombie mould, but the book does present an interesting look at a mass resurrection that turns its subjects into unhumans, and an attempt at a government response to the situation.


  5. Ross
    February 19, 2016 @ 1:35 am

    The only kind of zombie stories I like these days are ones where the zombies are almost entirely off-screen and just there to justify the societal collapse, and the story is actually about the survivors building a postcapitalist society out of the wreckage.

    Yeah, I don’t actually read a lot of zombie stories.

    (Actually found it really hard to come up with a good substitute for zombies to serve the story role of “Quickly collapse civilization and pose an active persistent continuing threat for the new emerging society, but one that can be fended off with vigilence and fortification, not, like, radiation. Best substitute I’ve come up with so far is poisonous rain.


    • AG
      February 23, 2016 @ 11:11 pm

      Didn’t McCaffrey do this with Pern’s Thread?


  6. 5tephe
    February 19, 2016 @ 11:56 am

    You’re absolutely right about the central pleasure in post apocalyptic fiction. But another aspect I though you might be more interested in is the earlier origins of zombie fiction specifically.

    The original tales of zombies came from Haiti – and were part of the slave population’s syncretic Vodou religion: a fairly clear expression of their lived experience as owned unpaid labour force of the colonial masters.

    Of course, when Hollywood discovered the tales of working corpses – forced even beyond their natural spans to labour eternally for their master’s benefit – it grabbed the most superficial part of the myth, and used it to tell the tale of white men rescuing their stolen fiancee’s. Sigh.

    When Romero FIRST used the zombie, in Night of the Living Dead in 1968, it was neither about slavery nor post apocalyptic. At the end of that film, a bunch of good ol’ white boys come through in a posse with the local sheriff, and calmly and effectively dispatch all the zombies.

    In Romero’s original, they stand for the myriad of social pressures tearing relentlessly at American society. In an incredibly cynical move, the Sheriff’s men gun down the sole surviving person from the cast: a young, intelligent, active black man.

    If you’re interested, I have talked at more length about this a couple of years ago, here:

    … before I got bored with the political direction The Walking Dead was obviously taking over the past two seasons. So much promise, so little return.


  7. Daru
    February 20, 2016 @ 9:34 am

    I’m pretty bored by zombies, I just generally find the stories rather dull – perhaps apart from Romero’s original film.


  8. Scribbles
    February 20, 2016 @ 11:26 pm

    Hello! Been reading this site for a little while, first comment. Couldn’t help but wonder, do you think the imperialist/racist origins of the zombie movie (a la White Zombie) tie in to this? Because that’s a tension that could have interesting ties to this current zombie situation you’ve outlined.


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