Overthinking Zombies (via @shamusyoung)

I love a good zombie story. But Shamus Young applies some brains to the premise and ruins them for me forever! Well, not entirely, but he steps through the consequences of particular zombie apocalypse premises:

[Z]ombie lore collapses under analysis. When we discuss the particulars of a common zombie dilemma (Perhaps someone is bitten but still healthy and what do we do with them?) then we’re invariably going to end up trying to map out the variables. If we do that, then sooner or later we’ll end up in the same ditch alongside people who want to know where the energy comes from that enables the X-Men’s superpowers and where the toilets are on the starship Enterprise.

Shamus breaks down each of the questions in the full article, and if you like zombies and want to write about them, it's worth considering the plausibility of your premise. He walks through the following considerations:

  • The "Living" "Dead"
  • Why Don’t the Infected Attack Each Other?
  • Infection Protection
  • Containment
  • Biting People Who Carry Machine Guns
  • Survival

I like how Shamus shows that an attempt to survive long term ends up pushing your protagonists (and your story) into some strange post-apocalyptic zombie-free farming drama. I don't recall there is a large market for that genre.

So sure, we can handwave the walking dead thing; we can accept that as a requirement for a zombie story. But if you've decided that zombies biting your characters is going to be a plot-driving problem, why isn't everyone wearing thick jackets and gloves 24-7?

Read it: