It’s official: reports indicate that by midnight on October 31st, 2011, an outbreak of the undead will begin to infect the population of New York City. Roads will be barricaded, bridges will collapse, and the entire city may very well be turned on its head. Sensing this approaching doom, the greatest weapon that we can arm ourselves with is knowledge. In order to be completely ready to fight back the groaning, blood-drenched hordes that await us, we must first learn to understand the zombie at its most fundamental and philosophical levels.
Better Off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human, edited by Deborah Christie and Sarah Juliet Lauro, explores the zombie from many different points of view, the contributors look across history and across media. Though they represent various theoretical perspectives, the whole makes a cohesive argument: The zombie has not just evolved within narratives; it has evolved in a way that transforms narrative. This collection announces a new post-zombie, even before the boundaries of this rich and mysterious myth have been completely charted.
We must ask ourselves: Are zombies becoming more human, or are humans becoming more like zombies? If we are, might that resolve some of our uniquely humanist problems? Will the equalizing force of the zombie horde undergo gender trouble, identity politics, and disparities between the haves and the have-nots? Might we not all be better off dead?
Here’s a sneak peek at “And the Dead Shall Rise”.