Here's one of the reasons I haven't posted much content lately, I recently wroite the following for Baen Books, and it was recently put up on their main webpage:
Zombie Science and Science Fiction in John Ringo's Under a Graveyard Sky
by Tedd Roberts
We've seen it on the screen or in our mind's eye – the ravening hordes, the animalistic sounds, the hunger that cannot be sated – zombies! I was recently on a panel at a science fiction convention that discussed the transition from prior popularity of vampire stories to the current fascination with zombies. The moderator put forth the premise that vampire novels and urban fantasy are products of affluent societies with strong economies, while zombie novels and apocalyptic fiction are more representative of economic downturn and uncertainty. It is an interesting premise, given that the "classical vampire" is hundreds of years old, has amassed wealth, power and prestige... while zombies represent death and destruction that cannot be stopped by conventional means.
If I were a psychologist, I might mention that zombies represent fear of "The Other" - the foreign, even alien, presence that steals away our home and family; or that zombies represent fear of death or ending. On the other hand, as a firearm collector, Eagle Scout and member of Zombie Squad, I would bring up the fact that preparation for The Zombie Apocalypse is preparation for any disaster: natural or man-made. It only makes sense that a story-line which involves preparing to defend against the loss of all we hold dear would be popular in uncertain times that threaten jobs, homes and our very lives.
Whatever the appeal, zombies and the zombie apocalypse are prevalent in modern fiction—from Max Brooks' World War Z (and the movie of the same name, but derivative story) to the popular TV show The Walking Dead. The modern zombie story/zombie movie genre owes a lot to George Romero's Night of the Living Dead—but it can easily be argued that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein founded the concept of the metaphysically reanimated corpse. In Baen's own fiction, Larry Corriea's Monster Hunter International novels invoke (and dispatch) zombies by the hundreds and thousands. In fact, the image of seasoned Monster Hunter Earl Harbinger chopping and puréeing zombies through use of industrial snow-clearing machinery has led to a popular convention panel "Messiest Ways to Kill Zombies." The launch of a new Baen series – and the motivation for this post – is John Ringo's upcoming Under a Graveyard Sky, which follows a family escaping a zombie apocalypse and dealing with the aftermath...