Zombies in Fiction

If you ever create a work of fiction that includes zombies please make explicit as early as possible:

1. The cause of zombification. This includes time from infection to turning and whether an infected person can escape infection via amputation, bloodletting, tourniquets, etc. Can non-human animals become infected/become zombies? Is infection possible via saliva or just blood?

2. The result of zombification. This includes what if any special requirements there are for slaying zombies, whether zombies can die of natural causes, their ability to learn and/or retain memory from before they were zombies. This also includes what desires zombies have. Do they wish to consume non-zombie flesh or merely attack non-zombies? Will a zombie fight another? Do they have an instinctive detection of non-zombies (via pheromones or other means) or is it purely a judgmental decision (and thus deception is possible)? Does the flesh itself become zombified or is the CNS essential to the zombie?

3. If an antidote to zombism exists does it inoculate the recipient from further infection or merely stop current infection prior to turning? What dose is required and can it be diluted? Must it be taken orally, intravenously?

4. Whether any rules exist in zombie “society.” Are there “head zombies” or are they all equals? Will zombies protect each other? Attack each other? What senses do they retain? Are they normally copacetic, but they will fight over my brains?

Zombies in reality are a completely different story, of course. I’ll cover that in a later post. But in fiction it’s okay to deviate for dramatic effect. You should strive for consistency, and strive for believability.

Zombies are not a game. They must be treated with every bit of the seriousness you’d use on a subject like Indoctrination of Youth by Aliens or Interdimensional Tax Law. Fiction is supposed to give the reader or viewer or listener a taste of a world that doesn’t exist. For their tongues to really grip that world it must have enough substance behind it or it will not evoke salivation.

Please, think of the zombies.