Guest Post: Leah Rhyne #SummerofZombie

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Zombies. We’re here because we love them, right? You wouldn’t check out an event called the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour if you weren’t.

Me? I’ve loved them for a long time. I don’t remember the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead, but I don’t remember ever having not seen it, either. I grew up on horror movies, staying up late with my dad or my older brother, so I’ve seen ‘em all (or at least I’ve seen all the ones that came out before I had my daughter and suddenly couldn’t stomach watching horror movies in which bad things happen to little girls…which is pretty much all the contemporary ones…though I’ll watch World War Z any day…though the first 30 minutes make me cry every time….and I do mean every time…but I digress….).

But seriously. World War Z. The Walking Dead. Warm Bodies. Zombieland. We can’t get enough of zombie stuff, can we?

There are all sorts of theories about why we love zombies, of course. Sociologists and psychologists all have their theories, as do movie and literary critics. They mostly say it’s because we’re all becoming zombies, with our smart phones and our ear buds. With our texting and our emailing. We’re losing the ability to interact with other humans on a face-to-face basis.

There’s some truth to this, I’m sure. I do see a lot of it in myself. I’m a better emailer than I am a phone talker, and please, don’t ask me to set up a face-to-face meeting!

But mostly I call bullshit on those theories.

Because of course I have my own.

I think: we don’t love zombie flicks and lit because we’re afraid we’re turning into zombies. No. I think we love them because we, in the United States especially, are living in a world that’s remarkably safe for maybe the first time in history, and really? It’s exhausting to be so safe.

Hear me out here. Around the world, people live in squalor, in the midst of wars and tragedies and genocides. We see images daily of people living at the very limits of human existence. Closer to home, we hear stories of our parents and grandparents surviving their own difficult times. World War II. Vietnam. The Cuban Missile Crisis.

But we, of the middle class of the United States in the 21st Century, live in the First World, surrounded by First World problems. With a few notable exceptions (school shootings, bombings, and terrible things do happen, but these are the exceptions, not the norm), our world is secure. We’re not hungry. We’re not afraid. We’re not tested.

We don’t have to think to survive. We don’t have to kill to live. If we’re hungry? We drive to the grocery store.

In short, we’re mush.

And, I think, we secretly hate it. At least in a way. Because while it’s fantastic to be safe, to be secure, we have no need for adrenaline. We have no testing of boundaries, no pushing of limits.

And thus, we escape to Zombieland. We escape to a place where people have to work to survive, where it’s kill or be killed. We are voyeurs into a space where your every decision could lead straight to your death.

We get our adrenaline rush through fiction, and we love it, because it’s fake. It’s still within the confines of our security. It’s a way to live out our fantasies in the safety of our middle class living rooms.

Of course we love zombies, but it’s not because we’re afraid of becoming them.

It’s because we want to see if we think we’d survive!

Me? I like to think I’d be like Ana in Dawn of the Dead (still my favorite zombie flick ever). I’d survive, more by luck than by any particular skill, at least until I had time to figure out the brave new world.

But really, that doesn’t work for me anymore. I’ve got a kid. Everything I’d do would be to save her, because at seven, she’s still too little to save herself. I don’t want her turning into Sophia from The Walking Dead, getting stuffed into a barn after she’s turned into a zombie. I also can’t see her as Lizzie, murdering her sister and then staring at the flowers.

Better she be a Carl, a killer with a gun.

Better to be a killer in a kill-or-be-killed world, right?

Right. Or at least, I think so. And I do think about these things while escaping into zombie worlds. I get to think about them, to wonder, and then I get to turn them off and go play outside in the sunshine.

We love our zombies because it’s fun to imagine…what if?

But seriously, friends. Let’s hope we never have to find out….and until then, let’s have some keep on reading and watching all this awesome zombie stuff, okay?

Author Image Leah Rhyne

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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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