Bring Out the Undead

Animating the SoullessOh, how I have missed zombies–the lifeless stare, the slow, cumbersome movements, the way they are ended by beheading. Jane Slayre takes me back to the book that started my downward spiral into the dark depths of the classics retold, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. For me there is a great deal of romanticism about vampires and werewolves, but zombies are truly disgusting, terrifying, and quite comical.

At the end of the first chapter we are introduced to Miss Abbot. Jane finds her more frightening than her vampyre relatives, and I agree. Miss Abbot is a more lifelike zombie than others we’ve read about. (Bet Dr. Keckilpenny of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls would be absolutely fascinated with her ability to speak.) Miss Abbot’s narcolepsy provides the mischievous Reed children with the perfect opportunity to rearrange her easily detachable limbs like a defunct Mrs. Potatohead, and even in her rearranged state she is “functional.” 

As the story progresses we find out where zombies come from (at least in Jane Slayre’s world), and that they prefer to study Psalms rather than enjoy the company of others out of doors on lovely, sunny afternoons. They are also doomed to a life of servitude as vegetarian, domestic servants. Anyone fortunate enough to employ one of these dull creatures is assured a loyal puppet so long as no meat is ever accidentally fed to it.

I found myself wondering what Abbot would have done to her vampyre mistress Mrs. Reed had she been slipped a bit of meat pie? 

Zombies are an interestingly frightening creature. I don’t know which frightens me more: the idea of a zombie plague spreading through infectious bite or being brought back as a zombie through a voodoo ritual. What happens to the soul? Does it escape the body, leaving an animated husk? Is it trapped within, waiting for release from a rotting prison? These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

What about you? What are your thoughts on zombies?

*Photo: Skeleton men by benleto, obtained through Flickr. 


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