More food for thought, or thought about food (types). I, along with many other zombie novel writers, have been accused of never divulging from where the zombie infection derives. I regard this lack of knowledge to be essential to zombie-ism; if we knew we could kill it, surely we would – and where would the genre be then?
The question as to the origin of zombie-ism is directly related to an earlier blog on how long a zombie will last before finally falling apart. It all seemed to hang on the fact that a person must die before becoming a zombie, but if we look at most films, etc., we see the transformation happening shortly after said ‘death’.
What if this ‘death’ was actually a state of basal metabolism where the heart beat wasn’t detectable unless you listened for minutes at a time? By which time, of course, you’d have become a meal for the zombie you were listening to. Enter Toxoplasma gondii. A recent study has shown that in mice this parasite can remove the poor little red-eyed monster’s innate fear of cat urine. At this point I have to confess I, too, have the same fear of cat urine, especially in my house, but that doesn’t make me a zombie, I think.
The article alleges this parasitic infestation and ensuing lack of fear of cat urine makes the mouse effectively a zombie. Not sure if I get the connection but at least it is an article attempting to get headline attention by using the Z-word. Any publicity is good publicity, right? Maybe.
If we do take this a step in the right direction, imagine a similar parasite that removes all inhibition in our brains, while at the same time make us drool and forget our names (no, not like Friday nights in the pub). If we inherited a desire to watch Big Brother and eat flesh, and in particular brains, would that make us zombies or just cannibals with bad taste?
I’m afraid it still doesn’t answer the eternal question, ‘where does the zombie infection come from?’ but it does give us authors more to work with. Have a lovely weekend.