How to Kill Zombies

So, for the sake of argument, say you have a zombie in front of you and you want to kill it.  Well the best, quickest, and easiest thing to do is sever the connection between its brain and the rest of its body.  This may not actually kill the host, but not even the zombie bacteria can move a host once its brain stem is hacked or its neck is snapped.  Now, say you have two or more zombies standing there and you want all of them dead and you don’t really have any practical zombie-killing experience to draw on.  In that case you might try pulling out your large-caliber handgun and shooting them in the heart.  You could try for the face, but unless you hit the brain stem or blow out some really enormous chunks of gray matter, they’re gonna keep coming after you.  So just go for the heart.  Explode the heart and the machine can’t run no more no matter how hard the bacteria works.  You could also strangle or drown or burn or blow up or hang or chop up or push from a tall building your average zombie.  As long as you stop the heart or the brain or just cause massive physical trauma, you’re gonna kill the thing.  But we’re talking about finding a quick and easy method here.  So my advice is to use a gun and a lot of bullets, just like if you were trying to kill your wife or husband.

~Joe Pitt in Already Dead by Charlie Huston


I think the above is one of the best zombie killing paragraphs I have ever read.  Mr. Huston has created a rather compelling scenario for zombies in his novel Already Dead.  As opposed to in other media the zombies in the novel are not actually dead (well Joe Pitt disagrees with that) but are instead infected with a pretty nasty infectious bacteria which slowly decays the whole body but makes the host have a crazing for human flesh, especially brains, while it is still able to function.  What I like about Huston’s zombies is that all around they are rather feeble because the bacteria is quite literally eating them up.  Some of them literally fall apart.  As such anything that incapacitates these zombies is enough to stop them (you don’t necessarily need the massive head trauma as in other zombie cases, though, as Pitt’s description provides, that is an effective manner of dealing with them).  Further, the zombies in the book are not a huge global epidemic but are actually a relatively few cases located in Manhattan.  All around they seem to weak to cause any huge damage though there is metion of carrier individuals which seem to be a little more functional as it is there job to successful pass on the illness.  I like the rethinking of zombies that Huston has done here.

Oh, and I should probably mention that Joe Pitt is a vampire.  That is right, Already Dead has both zombies and vampires in it.  It is also written in the style of a pulp detective novel, very noir, with great dialog.  So far (about 60 pages in) I have been very impressed.  For a light read it is a very intelligently written story bringing a new interpretation to the whole genre of vampire fiction.  Like the zombies, the vampires in Huston’s book are the victims of an infectious disease, the time a virus (referred to by the vampires as “vyrus”) which consumes their blood and thus makes them need to drink the blood of uninfected people.  It also causes the victim to be very sensitive to ultra violet radiation, hence the no daylight (sunlight actually has the affect of causing almost immediate sever skin cancer to the vampires).

Very creative, something different to read for a bit, and gave me some good material to write about.  Haven’t had any good zombie stuff lately.

~ by Nathaniel on January 7, 2009.

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