Sunday, October 21, 2012

Guest Post: So, zombie apocalypse. You’re ready? by Stant Litore

I keep a Templar sword by the bed. Just in case. Actually scared to death of the hungry dead. On one of our first dates, my future wife and I rented Dawn of the Dead and about five minutes in, I quietly got to my feet, tiptoed out, and retrieved my wood-ax from the shed. Set it right against my armchair. Felt much better through the whole movie after that. The fact that Jessica was more amused than alarmed by this likely is one reason she and I now wear wedding rings.

Actually though, you have to understand that it’s not just one big outbreak we have to watch for. Zombies have been here all along, devouring our history from the inside. In every generation, there has been a plague somewhere. That’s what The Zombie Bible is about – how generations of our ancestors wrestled with the restless dead. How they fought for survival and for sanity in the centuries before electricity or guns or the CDC. Moviemakers like to freak me out with warnings of an imminent global collapse and a world rendered wasteland inhabited only by the dead gnawing on the last bones. But in fact tomorrow or the day after may only be the latest chapter in a long and grisly story.

I’ve been collecting these tales for a while. I have a place up in Colorado where there are few trees and you can see the dead coming from a long way off. I write each evening to scholars and archaeologists who can piece together bits of our half-eaten and half-forgotten memory. If you stop by or take a look in one of my books, I’ll tell you a few tales. How the prophet Jeremiah was left in a dry well three days with the dead tossed in after him. How Polycarp the martyr used to bring rest to dozens of the dead with a touch of his hand and his soul-searching eyes. How in the twelfth century BC Devora, an aging prophetess, led a tribal people against great herds of dead, her blade uplifted above her like a slice of moon against the night sky.

These are tales that will fascinate you and they are tales that will break the heart. Because whether today or three thousand years ago, one’s dead are never faced without terrible cost. Our ancestors understood that better than we, and we can learn from their stories.

This is a guest post by Stant Litore, author of Strangers in the Land (47North), a new entry in The Zombie Bible.

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