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Zombies: Why they can be expanded upon and lore added.

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Beauregard Aegis, Apr 8, 2020.

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  1. Beauregard Aegis

    Beauregard Aegis Acolyte

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    I am a big lore buff on a few video games, so I guess I am writing this

    I am in a strong disposition that zombies can be not very creative if you just use the simple Day Of The Dead or Walking Dead (Wow all the unimaginative zombie media just have got have "Dead" in the title) template and go on your way, you won't have anything good. If you add lore to the labs or the disease that created thing that makes the dead get up and around. Or they are smarter than the humans a create a revolution, but the zombies just die on a certain day, much like the black mages in FFIX. They won't ALL die, but it is a certain date where just one of them just dies, and then it keeps happening and they are in a crisis, I don't know though, it has probably happened, as I said I know about fiction but not most of it.
     
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    In your writing, Zombies can be whatever you want them to be. But if you use the name Zombies then there will be certain pre-impression brought to that word and into your work. Personally I like the slow but slightly creative Zombies that are more line spiders or crocodiles in that they can lay dormant for a long time and then spring into "life" when needed. I am told [but am sorry to say I have not read] that I am Legend [the book] by Richard Matheson has a good twist on the Zombies.
    And Welcome to MS!
     
  3. Beauregard Aegis

    Beauregard Aegis Acolyte

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    That is an interesting way of thinking, I should try implementing those concepts in some short stories, thank you for the insight!
     
  4. Vaporo

    Vaporo Inkling

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    While I sort of agree that there are waaaaay too many zombie stories our there, there's nothing inherently wrong with stock-standard brain-eating zombies. What matters is the quality of the story in which they are included. I think that zombies have become so popular in video games because they're an easy excuse to have the player shotgun their way through hordes of enemies without worrying about repercussions.

    "Zombies" can be whatever you want them to be. If you want a race of short underground-dwelling miners and craftsmen to be called "Zombies," you can. It may confuse the reader, since the word zombie conjures up a very particular kind of creature, but so long as its justified somewhere within the story (e.g. they are sometimes seen crawling out of tunnels at night, and so are mistaken for dead rising from the grave) you can get away with it.

    You're right, though. If you want to write a zombie story, then you should focus of what makes your zombies unique. If it's not the zombies themselves, then it should the characters and story.

    For example, there's a book series called Beyonders that includes a creature that is basically a stock-standard zombie. An undead creature that turns people into more of itself when it bites someone. However, they still feel unique. For one, they're not called zombies. For another, they're a plague that's confined one specific part of the world. They remain confined because some zombies remain sapient, and take it upon themselves to stop the plague from spreading. They also make sense in the setting, since they're just one of dozens of magical plagues released upon the death of its petty wizard creators.

    It all comes together to make something that feels totally unique. Even if the monster at its core is... just a zombie.
     
  5. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Inkling

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    I've never been big on the zombieism-as-disease that underlies a lot of the modern zombie concept. I mean, it works, I just don't see them as zombies in the traditional sense of the word and would be inclined to name them something else. I've only put one zombie in all my fiction and that was a corpse being used as a sort of puppet by a sorcerer, who sent a part of his mind into it. Such a zombie would continue to rot away and become useless as well as uncontrollable. It definitely has a time limit of viability. Therefor it is dangerous for the controlling sorcerer to remain in it too long as he might get 'stuck.'
     
  6. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    I think the biggest problem is that zombies can’t really be characters. Vampires are traditionally powerful (physically, magically, socially) and physically different from humans but they can also vary in personality be they evil, tragic, heroic, etc.

    Zombies, it’s widely understood, don’t get that luxury. They can only be plot devices to either act as humanoid creatures that the characters can kill on mass without remorse or as a threat to highlight the faults that the writer perceived in humanity. I don’t even think people would accept the idea of an intelligent zombie as that’s functionally just a regular cannibal.
    An intelligent zombie would be like a tall dwarf. If you change too much from what’s been established, the readers won’t buy it.
     
  7. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Inkling

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    A race of misshapen, humanoid cannibals, somewhat intelligent—I'd probably label those ghouls or maybe trolls.
     
  8. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

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    I make my zombies come in a variety, but they are still not always fully intelligent. Those with the willpower and regular power to come back from the grave are classed as Liches and are extremely powerful (like, kill gods powerful). But they can only really raise the recently dead and those are the zombies and follow no set pattern except that of their patron Lich. So I have everything from zombie religious zealots to vampire style undead that fall into the zombies by default of the world. Zombie choirs and zombie assassins and zombie builders. Really, the undead find all sorts of uses. But especially as Lich fodder. Plus, with world lore, they feed on magic to live and thus can kill the world by feeding on the magic to keep their unlife going.
     
  9. Actually, there is a tv series which features intelligent zombies: iZombie. Granted, it's a bit a weird series and a comedy. But it sort of works. So, yes, you can definitely have intelligent zombies, but then you will probably tell a story different from the "Walking dead" type zombie stories.

    The main issue I have with zombie stories actually is that if they occur in a modern setting then zombies are fairly easy to deal with for any kind of military. Just think of WW1 trenches and soldiers getting shot down by the millions with a simple machine gun. And those were fast and intelligent people and basic technology. Move that forward 100 years and I just don't see how zombies could be an apocalypse sized threat.
     
  10. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    If I were writing a story like that, I'd just swap them out for vampires. They're undead, humanoid, feed on the living but then you also get some cool powers to go along with it. Plus some weaknesses for the heroes to exploit.

    The only time I can think of when someone put a new spin on zombies that I found interesting was Return of the Living Dead. There was a kind of haunting scene where a zombie lady explained to the heroes that the reason why zombies act they way they did was because they were in constant pain and that consuming flesh was the only way for them to numb the pain. It gave an explanation for their behavior while also making them somewhat sympathetic.
    And Day of the Dead played with the idea of zombies developing intelligence but like all of the "of the Dead" movies, the film focused much more on the human conflicts.

    Maybe that's why zombies are rarely interesting. They are never really the point of the story or characters, they're just there to facilitate conflicts among the living characters. I mean, my favorite zombie movie is Re-Animator and, boy oh boy, do the zombies not matter in that movie.
     
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