To begin this year’s Speculative Fiction course in Zombie literature and media I will state my current understanding of the term. As ‘zombie’ has become ever-present in pop culture through various movies, comics, tv shows etc. the term is recognizable and I consume zombie media with an assumption of what the creature is. As this is an academic course, perhaps with further study my definition will change. However, at this point I believe a zombie, generally, to be a reanimated corpse. Depending on the source material, the zombie is in limbo so to speak, and can be referred to as undead. Also dependent on the source, the zombie’s characteristics vary. The level of cognition seems to change, with some being totally void of mental processing and some capable of finding love and communicating. The former seems the more typical of the zombie type, the later seems to be a more recent update to the genre. The physical characteristics are usually humanoid but abilities differ, some adaptations or publications demonstrate the undead to have speed and sprint after, others almost crawl towards their targets. Zombies often seem to bring about an apocalypse as the virus that creates them moves quickly through populations, ruining every human that comes in contact. All in all though, the undead are gruesome looking monsters sustained and violently motivated by human brains.
With that preliminary understanding stated, it will be interesting to see how the novels and films measure up or disprove. Updates to come!