Why We Can’t Quit Zombies: The Undying Attraction of a Rotting Romance

Delve into the undying appeal of zombie fiction with a dark twist. From the joys of Schadenfreude to our primal survival instincts, explore why we’re eternally hooked.

Ah, zombies—the shambling, drooling darlings of the fiction world that we just can’t seem to get enough of, like a parasite-infested car crash we can’t look away from.

From George A. Romero’s genre-defining flicks to the highly-addictive The Walking Dead, the appeal of zombie fiction endures much like the zombies themselves: sluggish yet relentless, decaying yet indestructible.

But why do we, a sophisticated society who can split the atom and invent lab-grown meat, have this ceaseless attraction to the undead?

Nihilism Never Looked So Good

Let’s be honest, the real world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Climate change, political ineptitude, and existential dread serve us daily reminders that perhaps, we’re on a sinking ship.

Enter zombie fiction, the lifeboat you didn’t know you needed.

When you watch a decaying corpse gnaw on human entrails, your own problems seem, well, less problematic. After all, your boss may be a tyrant, but at least he’s not trying to eat your brains—yet.

The Schadenfreude Factor

Nothing screams ‘guilty pleasure’ louder than watching a fictional character meet their end in the most gruesome manner imaginable.

Did that annoying bloke just get torn apart by a horde of zombies?

Oh, what a pity—pass the popcorn, please.

In the survival-of-the-unfittest landscape of zombie fiction, Schadenfreude is king.

We love the idea of justice being served, one grisly death at a time.

Rekindling Our Primal Instincts

Buried under our layers of civility and table manners is a primordial beast that relishes the idea of survival at its most basic.

Zombie fiction taps into this by stripping away the societal constructs that usually bore us to tears.

No more mortgage payments, no more queuing, no more pretending to enjoy your cousin’s one-man show.

All that’s left is you, a cricket bat, and the gnawing question of whether you can smash a zombie’s head in before it takes a chunk out of yours.

Carpe Diem with a Side of Brains

We’ve all heard the adage ‘live each day as if it’s your last,’ but nothing drills this message home like the imminent threat of becoming zombie chow.

When characters in zombie fiction wake up, they don’t dread the monotony of another day at the office; they dread the possibility of not seeing another sunset.

And while we wouldn’t recommend adopting a zombie apocalypse as your new life coach, there’s something darkly invigorating about embracing life in the face of death.

A Zombie by Any Other Name…

Finally, let’s face it, zombies are the ultimate metaphorical blank canvas.

They can stand in for anything—consumerism, governmental decay, viral epidemics, or even just the fear of the Other.

These flesh-eating fiends are a literary gift that keeps on giving (or taking, depending on how you look at it).

So there it is. The grotesque allure of zombie fiction might be as complex as the tax code and as mysterious as why cats hate water, but one thing’s for sure—it’s not dying out anytime soon.

And even if the genre did meet its untimely demise, it would probably just come back to life and keep shambling along, much to our dark delight. Cheers to that.

If you’re a fan of zombie stories, check out my ongoing serial Punks Versus Zombies!

Archetypes in High Fantasy: Heroes, Villains, and More

Unlock the secrets of high fantasy archetypes in this captivating blog post. Explore iconic characters like the Hero, Mentor, Trickster, Villain, and Shapeshifter, and discover their enduring appeal in popular novels and comics. Delve into the universal symbols that shape high fantasy literature, inspiring generations of readers with tales of bravery, wisdom, mischief, and epic battles between good and evil.

High fantasy literature has a long and storied history, captivating the imaginations of readers for generations with its tales of valiant heroes, dastardly villains, and otherworldly beings.

At the core of these stories lie archetypes, universal symbols and motifs that resonate with readers across time and culture.

In this blog post, you’ll discover some of the most prominent archetypes in high fantasy, providing examples from popular novels and comics to illustrate their enduring appeal.

The Hero

The hero is perhaps the most iconic archetype in high fantasy, serving as the central figure around whom the story revolves.

This character sets out on a journey to overcome obstacles and achieve a noble goal, often growing and changing in the process.

Heroes possess qualities like courage, determination, and selflessness, inspiring readers to believe in the power of good to triumph over evil.

Example: Frodo Baggins from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”

Frodo, a humble Hobbit, is tasked with the monumental responsibility of destroying the One Ring, an object of immense power that could bring about the end of the world.

Despite his initial reluctance, Frodo demonstrates tremendous courage and determination as he embarks on a perilous journey to save Middle-earth.

The Mentor

The mentor is a wise and experienced figure who assists and guides the hero on their journey.

Often possessing magical abilities or knowledge, the mentor serves as a source of wisdom and inspiration, helping the hero navigate the challenges that lie ahead.

Example: Albus Dumbledore from J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series

Albus Dumbledore, the venerable headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, plays a crucial role in guiding and supporting Harry Potter throughout his battles against the dark forces that threaten the wizarding world.

Dumbledore’s wisdom and insight help Harry grow into the hero he is destined to become.

The Trickster

The trickster is a cunning, mischievous character who delights in causing chaos and upsetting the established order.

Often serving as a catalyst for change, the trickster challenges the hero and tests their resolve, ultimately helping them grow stronger and more resourceful.

Example: Tyrion Lannister from George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”

Tyrion Lannister, the sharp-tongued and quick-witted dwarf, navigates the treacherous world of Westeros with cunning and guile. Though he is often underestimated due to his stature,

Tyrion’s intelligence and resourcefulness make him a formidable force, and his actions frequently reshape the political landscape of the realm.

The Villain

The villain is the primary antagonist in a high fantasy story, representing the forces of evil and chaos that the hero must confront.

Often motivated by power, revenge, or other dark desires, the villain serves as a foil to the hero, highlighting their nobility and goodness through contrast.

Example: Sauron from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”

Sauron, the Dark Lord, seeks to conquer Middle-earth and bend its inhabitants to his will through the power of the One Ring.

His overwhelming malice and desire for domination create a palpable sense of dread throughout the story, serving as the driving force behind the heroes’ quest to destroy the Ring and save their world.

The Shapeshifter

The shapeshifter is an enigmatic and unpredictable character who can change their appearance, loyalty, or motivations, keeping both the hero and the reader on their toes.

They often blur the lines between friend and foe, forcing the hero to question their assumptions and adapt to new circumstances.

Example: Mystique from Chris Claremont’s “X-Men” comics

Mystique, a mutant with the power to alter her appearance and mimic any person, is a classic example of a shapeshifter.

Her shifting allegiances and unpredictable actions create tension and intrigue, as both the X-Men and their adversaries must constantly adapt to her ever-changing role.

Archetypes in high fantasy literature provide a framework for storytelling that resonates with readers across cultures and generations.

By understanding and embracing these universal symbols, authors can create rich, engaging stories that capture the imaginations of their audience and stand the test of time.

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