Say what you like about the zombie apocalypse, at least you don’t have to go to work on Monday morning

There are fucking zombies everywhere these days. There are so many fucking zombies around these days that there are things complaining about how many fucking zombies there are around these days everywhere these days. There are so many things complaining about how many fucking zombies there are around these days that we’re on the verge of crossing a kind of things-complaining-about-how-many-fucking-zombies-there-are-around-these-days event horizon, whereupon all the things-complaining-about-how-many-fucking-zombies-there-are-around-these-days will collapse in upon themselves and be crushed to a things-complaining-about-how-many-fucking-zombies-there-are-around-these-days singularity. Or something. Whereupon there will suddenly not be many things-complaining-about-how-many-fucking-zombies-there-are-around-these-days. Or many fucking zombies, for that matter. No more than usual, anyways. No more than before the recession, which is the event which caused the already insane proliferation of zombies to escalate to a kind of meta-proliferation. The zombies will die down. Back to their original, natural level of presence and prominence. The only thing you can be sure of is that The Guardian’s arts/culture opinion writers will notice and announce it as an exciting new development (which they alone have noticed through their unique powers of penetration) exactly three years and eight months after the very last member of the category known as ‘Everyone Else’ already got sick of talking about how there don’t seem to be any zombies around these days.

I’ve said stuff about zombies before (thus adding my name to a long fucking roster)… though I think my stuff about zombies was better than anyone else’s, naturally. Largely because it was mostly about Cybermen. But I do have a couple more little things to say about zombies, or rather about zombie stories.

The first little observation I want to make is about how accommodating they are to having an ‘interesting and novel new spin’ put on them. And about how seldom it is actually done, which I think is telling. No, no, the spins people put on them are so pallid and tentative. Like, make them Nazis. (They have ideology now?) Or do a zombie Osama bin Laden. (Oh how edgy.) Or insert them into Jane Austen (yes, I know – you’re welcome). Oh, Seth Graeme-Smith, you iconoclast you. You’ve figured out a way to make millions of dollars by essentially releasing someone else’s pre-written, public-domain text with your shit smeared over every page.

Why? Why is the ductility of the concept of the zombie so rejected?

It can’t be the fear of diluting the concept. It’s true that zombies are a very pure and simple and clear concept… but the never-ending, always-churning, meat-grinder-cum-wood-chipper-cum-tombola that is/are the culture industries doesn’t usually worry about diluting clear and pure and simple concepts. You wouldn’t have sequels at all if people worried about that. What is any sequel but a dilution of the purity of an original idea? All sequels, and perhaps even more so prequels, are exercises in stamping all over gorgeous unity and wholeness and discreteness with big muddy boots. This is even more marked in sequels or prequels to high-concept stories, i.e. stories which trade in games of rigour about relatively simple rules-frameworks.…

Continue Reading