I hate zombies

I fucking hate them. No, really. Not as evil creatures that need to be destroyed — because, well, they’re fucking fictional creations that don’t really exist, yes I’m looking at all of you cutesy-poo “the Zombie Apocalypse is coming! Do you have your towel?” purveyors of bullshit.

I’m so tired of zombie stories as a subgenre. I’m tired of the undead insinuating their rotting cadavers into science fiction and fantasy alike. They’re gross, they smell (well, they would if they existed), and they are boring. At least supervillains can make conversation.

I don’t know, I’ve been looking into scifi and fantasy published by writers other than people who live in the “Anglosphere,” for one thing because I’m sick of the zombie fixation, and what do I find? More fucking zombie stories about zombies. FUCK ZOMBIES. Or rather don’t. Not because zombie-live-person hybrids are possible, but because that shit is gross. Also? THEY AREN’T REAL.

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41 thoughts on “I hate zombies

  1. “FUCK ZOMBIES. Or rather don’t. Not because zombie-live-person hybrids are possible, but because that shit is gross.”

    Now we know who to…thank?…credit?…rouse the mob against?…for thinking up an entirely new, and most loathsome, category of porn. I had never heard, or imagined, such a thing, until reading this. Eeaargh. The culture doesn’t escape Rule 34.

    I haven’t noticed zombies in the David Drake Lord of the Isles series, not that you were soliciting suggestions.

    • Meh. Looked it up, and I’m kind of over heroic restore-the-rightful-heir-to-the-throne + wizards! quest stories. I also hate David Eddings and I could not make it through the first volume of the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time doorstoppers. Just so you know.

      • Try Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot.

        No zombies. No quest. Wizards, but not the sort with spangled, pointy hats.

      • Hmm. I recall being underwhelmed by Patricia C. Wrede many years ago (I can’t even remember what it was I read of hers), so I’m a bit wary. Also, it’s not available on Kindle and I’ve kind of promised myself no more paper books for a while.. Still, the sample Amazon has available looks promising, and I do love epistolary novels, so I added to my wish list anyway.

      • Just in case you haven’t run across these yet, maybe there are authors you haven’t read before. Link to the Baen CD page, which links to promotional CD’s they give away with some of their catalog:

        BaenCD

        Link to Baen Free Library:

        Baen Free Library

      • Wrede wrote The Enchanted Forest Chronicles – very light reading, but fun when you’re in the mood.

        She also has written books set in the world of Lyra, which may be what you found underwhelming. The tales aren’t high literature, but a not bad way to while away a lazy afternoon.

        I’m waiting for the third book in the series she started with Thirteenth Child – I’ve found it well thought out and well executed.

      • The Baen CD’s are text. The complete CD’s can be read online, which made me think it a cheap way to find authors one might like without too much trouble. One doesn’t feel as if one is stealing to read them. Same for the Free Library.

    • Well, if you don’t want cutesey, there is Drake’s RCN series – kind of an Aubrey and Maturin in space. One of the two central characters is a pistol-packing librarian cum spy named Adele. Military SF if you like that kind of thing.

      Warning – Drake’s worlds aren’t clean and pretty.

      Wrede is pretty light stuff. Some are ok, though.

      Bujold and Moon do good SF. Hambly does good fantasy.

      Jordan managed to defeat my ‘get all in the series’ fixation finally when around volume thirty seven the actual time taken up by a 400 page book was about twenty minutes. “Rand al Thor goes to tea”. You just wanted him to go nuts already.

      You can get free volumes of Bujold and the RCN for the kindle from Baen Books.

      • Second on the RCN series. There’s Drake’s “Reaches” series, an Elizabethan swashbuckling in space trilogy I enjoyed. Drake himself makes the distinction between military SF and space opera on his website.

        Damn, looks like you’d better spray for Drake fanboys.

      • I will admit, most military scifi bores me (I’ve nothing against the genre, it’s just not my cup of tea), though I won’t turn away something well-written of any genre, or even something that isn’t especially great. For example, Andre Norton wrote a couple of Western/Civil War era novelettes that aren’t bad though they are problematic, mostly her usage of the then-popular custom of writin’ th’ way ever’body talks real like. (I blame Mark Twain for that.) See, there are two things that bore this American to tears: anything to do with the Civil War, and westerns. But her two stories of this era, Ride Proud, Rebel! and Rebel Spurs aren’t bad.

        I’ve been meaning to read some Bujold, and I might check out RCN anyway because they could be atypical of their genre for me.

      • Moon does good fantasy, too.

        It was the never-ending sequels to Dune that put me off series for the sake of series (or should I say series for the sake of mulcting the gullible yet again) – the quality of writing seemed to halve with every additional tome.

        Avoid David Wingrove’s Chung Kuo series – an interesting concept stretched on a rack, tortured, flayed, drawn and quartered and fed to wild hogs.

      • I tried to get into some of Elizabeth Moon’s stuff and frankly found her boring. As for the Chung Kuo thing, I picked it up, encountered something about inscrutable scary Chinese people ruling the Earth, and put it down. It stuck me as racist yellow-peril claptrap.

      • Chung Kuo racist? Not as far as I could tell. The Chinese were very much in charge, and there was antipathy between them and those they ruled but I can’t see where that makes it racist. My problem with it was the inconsistent pacing and unnecessary complications – it was a muddle that just got worse.

        I like Moon’s stuff (I’m re-reading some of her sci-fi right now): the writing is good, the plotting consistent, the characters believable.

      • It’s not overt racism, rather the fact that a novel series written by a European guy posits that the Chinese will take over the world and be Evil McEvil bad guys with no democracy and everything based on Imperial China (what communism?), and so on. And magical overpopulation — suddenly, World City! (What one-child-only policy?) I just find it implausible.

        Also, according to the TV Tropes page on the series there is this:

        In the first novel, a kidnapped child is returned with his eyeballs gouged out, his eyelids sewn shut and the eye sockets filled with maggots.

        Uh… I am sure this means I’ve missed out on many wonderful works of art, but I have this thing about vile things being done to children in fiction. I don’t care if it’s “realist” and that awful things really happen to kids in real life — a child torture scene is a guarantee that I will press stop on the dvd player, change the channel, or close the book. I am by no means a softie about kids but I object to using their image in this way to manipulate my emotions.

      • The ‘history’ behind the situation presented in Chung Kuo was in one of the subsequent tomes. It made sense (of a sort) in that context. Most science fiction novels make assumptions about the future that seem . . . ‘quaint’ in light of our experience post-publication – it’s not something that necessarily affects the quality of the tale.

        I’d have to put it with Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy on my list of books I wish I’d never have picked up.

      • The Gormenghast trilogy is one of my favorites. Though the last book is quite weak, owing to the brain disease (Huntington’s disease or something like it, I believe) that was affecting the author.

    • I don’t understand the “one doesn’t feel like stealing” remark. I’ve never stolen a book, physical or non. I’ve only ever downloaded free ones, and if they weren’t free, I paid for them.

      • Oops. Don’t know why the above comment appeared like this. Maybe I should add an extra reply layer, but I find three is usually the limit to keeping a conversation in order. Anyway, I was replying to Mike James’ “the Baen CDs are text.”

      • I have gotten the impression, from the websites of some authors, that there is a difference between downloading free books, and downloading books which are not public domain or otherwise unencumbered, which have been uploaded by persons with no respect for copyright.

        In the case of the Baen CD’s specifically, one of the persons making them available online asserts that his is done with permission from the publishing house, and I have never seen anything contradictory at Baen’s website. I don’t think I’m stealing, in that case.

        I try to have a care for that sort of thing because I have always been spectacularly unimpressed with the whole “information wants to be free” crowd. I can’t think of a way to regulate file sharing without tremendously testricting civil liberties (I feel safer the less the .gov has anything to say about it), but most of the people who say “information wants to be free” strike me as wanting free stuff–no, stupid (addressing now someone downloading a new release), that author or musician or artist worked to create what you want, for the purpose of earning a living. They would offer the work free of charge if they felt like it. Dressing it up with that crummy little rationalization for file sharing is just annoying.

        There is a difference between legitimate free content and pirated content. No, not pirated, stolen content. Pirated is too romantic a word.

        I don’t measure you as one who would rip off an author. “One doesn’t feel like it’s stealing” expresses a general sense I have that it’s not very nice to download material under copyright. I read one too many self-serving statements from people, with no privilege to do so, placing content online, sometimes to their profit, and it shows when I talk about downloading.

      • Oh I see. I thought the Baen CD website was an actual Baen website — didn’t do more than glance at it I’m afraid. Actually, I have way too much stuff on my Kindle at the moment to add more — not that it’s full, but that I have about ten or eleven books/stories left I need to read. I am forcing myself not to add book after book so I won’t end up with 100 books I need to read. (That describes my paper book collection. Sigh.)

      • Treasure your paper books, no more perfect combination of value and utility exists outside of beer, or .22 caliber rifles or maybe bicycles…sorry, you read, you know this. I had my smartphone ripped off, and vowed to never again carry something that attractive again, or at least until I succumb to temptation, which…well, they call it temptation, don’t they? Harelipped me something bad, never thought I’d have feelings for a piece of electronics like that. So…

        Paperbacks! I have dug out boxes of old paperbacks because I suddenly felt indecent nostalgia for something to read on the transit which I can afford to have stolen, lost, or destroyed. Paperbacks. Yum.

        But I hear Kindles have dipped below eighty bucks. A gadget devoted only to reading wouldn’t be that attractive to the sort of critter that considers smartphones appetizing…hmmm.

      • I treasure my books but they’re a pain in the butt when moving. That’s why I like the idea of ereaders so much — I can carry an entire library on one. (Also, Amazon keeps copies of everything I buy from them, and I also keep copies of stuff I get from other sources like author websites and Gutenberg e-Text. That’s so if my Kindle breaks or gets lost or stolen I can still have my stuff. If my books burn up in a fire… well, most of them can be replaced, I don’t own anything rare. But the few items I still have from school, with my margin notes… gone forever.)

  2. In the bookstore today, I saw a new “Star Wars” genre novel that was a thinly disguised zombie story. Nauseating lack of creativity.

      • Last time I’ll bother you, I’ve beaten this dead horse till my arm cramped.

        Plot line for a zombie genre novel: Pet zombies. Dogs, cats, horses, maybe parrots or budgies afflicted with a zombie plague that is only contracted by beloved family pets. People can’t catch it, just Border Collies or Persian cats, or something. They still come at you, though.

        Lots of terror, the usual alarm and panic, grim scientists fighting a losing battle against an invisible menace, martial law, the government imposing a police state, evacuations, haunting images of empty cities, pathetic ransacked PetSmarts, along with everything else that makes it into every zombie story.

        Except the purpose is to shoot the zombie trope in the head. Depicting horses, dogs, cats, or birds trying to eat brains, (I had a couple Silver Pheasants try that with me when I was raising poultry when I was a kid) with the accepted treatment for zombie plague (shooting them in the head) would at least let us see how zombie movie fans accept something I think a lot would not like. A way to announce the death of the zombie genre–I don’t know if it’ll work, but it’s our only chance.

        “All citizens in the X Zone are required to bring all Black, Chocolate, and Golden Labradors to the facilities which are being set up east of the city! Do not try to evade this emergency order! Only dogs of the Labrador type are currently subject to this order, at this time! Do not try to approach a Labrador type dog if you think he is infected. Contact the authorities and a Veterinary Purification Unit will be dispatched to you. Do not panic!”

        “Dammit, Julie, are you and your mother both blind? That Pekingese of hers clearly had it! You saw how it was acting towards me! Shooting it was the only thing I could do!”

        You get the idea.

        Just one thing–that horse I beat to death. it was laying in the back yard when it got dark last night.

        Where is it!?</i.

      • Took some potassium, my arm’s all better.

        Sorry, it doesn’t have to be animals, just something to drive home the absurdity of a genre which ought to die and stay dead. Damn that’s not helping.

        It doesn’t have to be pets. There are a lot of genetic diseases out there, how about a zombie plague that affects only white people? Only black people? Any other race you care to choose?

        If there really is a gay gene, wouldn’t a zombie plague affecting only gays be a hell of a thing? What about one that only turns straight people into the walking dead?

        One that is age-specific, the very old, or any other narrowly constrained age category. Survive through that time and you’re golden, but first you have to survive.

        Zombieism that turns the poor victims eternally youthful and desirable, although sterile. The uninfected part of humanity might resort to shooting them in the head out of sheer annoyance.

        You want the genre gone, and I guess I’m just thinking up possible zombie plots. Useless.

        Sick animals make me sad too. When my cat Boris got feline leukemia and it came time to put him down, I figured that at least I’d better go in there and hold him while the vet pushed the Phenobarbitol. He offered to dispose of the body when we were done, but I took him back to the house in his blanket and buried him where I’ve had to do for other pets.

        I held him and talked to him and Dr. Ross did his job and I did mine. Boris went to sleep, and I didn’t sleep very much at all that night. It’s when I came up with my stupid crackpot theory that pets prove to the human race that we are not gods.

      • It doesn’t have to be pets. There are a lot of genetic diseases out there, how about a zombie plague that affects only white people? Only black people? Any other race you care to choose?

        I know you’ve been reading me for a while so I’m not sure why I need to remind you now that I’m not really into racism. Besides, the zombie theme is rather famously quite bound up in the history of racism. (Apologies for the Wikipedia link but it has links to other, presumably better source articles.)

        Anyway, I don’t like zombie stories (at least the modern American popcult version which is basically what I’m complaining about), and that also goes for parodies of zombie stories. I don’t think the genre is worth parodying. (If you like, the best and final parody of all zombie stories everywhere is Michael Jackson’s video for “Thriller.”)

  3. For non-zombie science fiction I’d suggest Michael Flynn’s Eifelheim. His series – The January Dancer, Up Jim River, and In the Lion’s Mouth so far – is quite good.

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