It’s Zombie Week!

If you have a brain, you already know that zombie apocalypse is a popular theme right now. And if you don’t … well … it might’ve already happened. Either way, zombies are hot, as hot as the red-hot poker you’ll need to defend yourself when the brain-dead hoard comes to your doorstep. And with a new crop of book-to-movie zombie films (Warm Bodies, World War Z) starting up in February, I thought it’d be a good time for a theme week. So welcome to PostScript’s Zombie Week: Night of the Living Blog. We’ll be posting about zombie books, comics and movies all this week.


Heather’s not actually a zombie. I don’t think.*


Zombie stories are silly and scary, but, like most stories, they also have a layer of symbolism (at least, the good ones do). Zombie tales are usually a critique of slavery — sometimes literal slavery, and sometimes metaphorical enslavement to government or technology or a superficial culture. Lots of people point to the origin of our modern idea of zombies to morality tales told by former slaves. They’d tell fables of evil farmers who used magic to bring dead people out of their graves to be used as free farm labor that didn’t have to be paid, fed or treated humanely. For a generation who’d experienced those kinds of conditions themselves, the idea that their enslavement would never end, not even in death, must have been truly horrifying.


Am I arguing that zombie fiction is actually important reading? No, not in the same way, say, brushing up on the Constitution on Inauguration Day, or reading Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches and letters on MLK Day, is important. But good fiction is more than escapism. It’s also a way of looking at the world, its problems and its people, in a new way. That helps us experience life differently, and in the best cases, it helps us treat people better. In other words, good fiction makes us think.


When we look at it that way, maybe the best way to make sure zombies never eat our brains is simple: Start using them.


Carrie Rollwagen is co-owner and book buyer at Church Street Coffee & Books.


* Let this be a lesson to anyone else who decides to steal my phone and take dumb pictures with it … your silly self-portrait just might end up on the Internet.

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