NOTICE: Posting schedule is irregular. I hope to get back to a regular schedule as the day-job allows.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Addendum: Zombies in popular culture (Encounters of the Fourth Kind) [Full link to blog for email clients.]

[Well, once again, Blogger's scheduling function reset itself to ignore the schedule I set... but that's okay, the new website design is complete, and I'll be moving the blog over there as soon as I can figure out how to transfer the archive of posts and duplicate the Subscription, Networked Blogs and email feeds functions.] 

Today's blog is brief, and intended to help keep the blog on the regular posting schedule and to rectify an omission in the "Popular Culture" blog.  My son, the gamer, mentioned "Flood Zombies" from the Halo video game series which reminded me that there is a fourth category of zombie in literature and media:
4: The "hag-ridden" zombie:

Zombies in this fourth category need not start out as corpses, the may be perfectly healthy humans prior to infestation, but the infesting agent - e.g. The Flood in Halo - takes over the bodily functions and effectively kills the body and/or human consciousness. 
So, where do we see (or read) type 4 Zombies?  In many ways, they are a variation of the type 3 infection zombie, except for the implication that rather than a "simple" virus, the infection is by a parasite that may have its own consciousness.  Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters is an excellent example, as is the amoeba-like parasite in Star Trek's Operation - Annihilate! More recently, the robotic "Replicators" of Stargate SG1 killed, then manipulated the corpse of already-a-bad-guy Mr. Marrick in The Ark of Truth.

So that gives us four types of zombie in pop culture - animated corpse, infected corpse, infected human (who turns into ravening corpse/animal), and the hag-ridden corpse/human.  Strangely, there seems to be much less treatment of the original voodoo zombie in current media (with the possible exception of the James Bond thriller Live and Let Die). These categories and characteristics will figure prominently in the next installment in which we discuss the means of defeating zombies.

In the meantime, if you have an example or category I've missed, feel free to enter it in the comments below!

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