Guest Post: J.E. Gurley #SummerofZombie

* Caution, Zombies May Vary

What is your favorite zombie, fast or slow? 

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First, we must define the term zombie. A Zombie is a person who has lost sense of self-awareness and identity and cares only for the destruction of any live human being. Their condition is usually contagious. There are many types of zombies: Crawlers – legless; Shamblers or Walkers – slow movers; and Runners – very fast, sometimes endowed with superhuman strength.

Slow zombies have been with us since the days of black and white movies – Zombies of Mora Tau, Voodoo Island, Zombie Island, I Walked with a Zombie, and White Zombie – but they were mostly products of Voodoo rites or Nazi manipulation. George Romero popularized slow zombies in Night of the Living Dead. His zombies inexplicably craved human brains. Their bite was fatal and death reanimated the corpse, but unless cornered, they were easily avoided.

Fast zombies add a thrill to an otherwise drab genre, creating a sense of imminent danger. Robert Kirkman introduced various types of zombies in his Walking Dead series. Max Brooks’ World War Z one-upped Kirkman with his fast superhuman zombies. Their bite transformed the victim into a zombie in 12 seconds. They felt no pain, cooperated to a degree most living people don’t, and attacked indiscriminately. Movies such as REC, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, Left for Dead, and Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead furthered the popularity of fast zombies.

The source of zombie infection is as varied as zombies themselves. In Night of the Living Dead, the source of the plague was not explained. In the spinoffs, it became the result of mishandled military chemical waste. Jonathan Maberry’s exciting YA Rot and Ruin series offered no explanation for the plague, focusing instead of the plight of the survivors in its aftermath. His zombies were slow, mindless creatures avoided through the production of Cadaverine, a substance made from the ground up flesh of zombies, which served as a masking agent to protect the living from the dead. In Resident Evil, the cause of infection was a manmade T-virus. In  28 days, it was the Rage virus. In the popular Call of Duty game, Nazi zombies were created by radiation. In Dead Space, the source was an alien relic that mutated the victims into mindless killing creatures with slashing growths for arms.

My zombie novel, Cordyceps Rising, offered the Cordyceps Unilateralis mushroom as the root cause of infection, creating zombies that slowly changed, becoming more deadly as their infection progressed until they burst from within, spreading the fungus on the wind. In Ice Station Zombie and Chill Factor, technology played an important factor when a failed tissue regeneration experiment using microscopic nanites swept the planet. In my Judgment Day series,  a mutated avian flu virus changed the infected into mindless creatures that slowly mutate in a separate species of primitive humans who rapidly become more intelligent and cunning. Blood from the immune was made into Blue Juice, a temporary vaccine. In Jake’s Law, my latest novel, a frozen parasite from the tundra spreads, infecting peoples’ minds and turning them into blood thirsty creatures that grow weak if they do not feed.

Not all zombies are slow, fast, or mindless creatures. In Autumn, the dead reanimate and slowly reacquire some of their human instincts and intelligence. In the YA zombie love story, Warm Bodies, some zombies become Boneys, skeletal, fast, and deadly. Others retain some sense of cooperation. The protagonist, spurred by the memories and emotions of his victims’ consumed brains, falls in love with a beautiful live girl, slowly reacquiring intelligence and the ability to speak.

Zombie fiction has rapidly become a growing literary and film niche spawning new concepts, new authors, and new post-apocalyptic worlds. Zombie aficionados range from pre-teens to baby boomers. Zombies have evolved from slow, mindless slaves to fast, deadly creatures, and are now morphing into creatures capable of human emotions, regret, and even love. Like vampires, zombies have survived numerous predictions of becoming a passing fad. Zombies, fast, slow, or indifferent, have earned their place in respectable literature. #SummerofZombie.

JEGurley Amazon Author Central page: http://www.amazon.com/JE-Gurley/e/B007TKXRBI

Website: http://www.jamesgurley.com

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!

Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

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