I remember the opening scenes of both the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead and World War Z, which depicts the characters’ lives being turned upside down overnight when the zombie apocalypse comes. In a single day, the characters’ community became overrun and ravaged by legions of inhuman beings. In my third dinosaur book, my characters will be thrust into a similar scenario. However, the inhuman beings they deal with will not be zombies. Even though these beings will be living creatures, they will have similar behavioral patterns to the fast moving version of zombies.
“Is it a virus?”
“We don’t know.”
“How does it spread? Is it airborne?”
“There is a possibility. We don’t know.”
“Is this an international health hazard or a military concern?”
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
I thought of adding an extra layer of chaos to the dinosaur apocalypse in my dinosaur series. In addition to dinosaurs and a mysterious pathogen, I am planning to include legions of man-eating humanoid mutants. These mutants will be a combination between the unused dinosaur/human hybrids of Jurassic Park lore, the fast-moving zombies from the 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead, and the relentless monsters from the South Korean Netflix show Sweet Home. I will not say how I plan to make the story work by including these mutants long with the dinosaurs and the pathogen, but I can say they are all connected to the same phenomenon.
There is a thought that has been scratching in the back of my mind regarding Gregor Clegane from Game of Thrones. When he was a mortal man, he was an eight foot tall, four hundred pound mass of muscle with near superhuman strength and was surprisingly quick for his size. Because of his size, strength, fighting skills, foul temper, and violent tendencies, Gregor Clegane was the most feared warrior in the Seven Kingdoms. When he was modified by Qyburn’s mad science, Gregor’s mind was all but gone and his physical strength and fighting skills were greatly augmented. In his undead state, Gregor’s strength was comparable to a giant’s (about the combined strength of twelve normal humans), he was immune to pain and injuries that would kill a normal person, he did not tire and could push himself further and harder than any normal human, and he was completely obedient to his master (except when his brother was involved). Gregor was already deceptively fast for his size before his enhancements so it is possible that that agility was increased as well. In the Song of Ice and Fire books, it was revealed that his augmentations altered him to the point in which he did not require sleep, food, drink, and he didn’t even need to use the bathroom. With these enhanced capabilities and characteristics, Gregor Clegane became the ideal medieval warrior. Then I wondered what it would be like if there was an entire army of thousands of soldiers, each one as big, strong, and durable as Gregor in his undead state. That would be an army I would not want to fight.
In Norse mythology, there was a very specialized version of a zombie called a Draugr. Draugr were undead warriors who lived in their graves and guarded treasure. However, because they used to be warriors in life, I often wonder what an army of Draugr would be capable of. Throughout my third fantasy book, the Imperial Dynasty will be engaging in a form of mystical imperialism in an attempt to further consolidate their power over the empire. They would do this by uncovering long forgotten secrets in magic. One of those secrets will involve turning a mass grave of fallen warriors into an unstoppable army of Draugr. However, because of their nature, this Draugr army can only be deployed as a last resort when the Imperial Crown is most at risk. I looking forward to elaborating on this further as I continue to write.
I enjoyed the film known as Juan of the Dead. It depicts a forty year old man in Cuba who has dedicated his life to doing absolutely nothing and he has a band of sidekicks and misfits who were just as lazy as he was. When the zombie apocalypse comes to Cuba, Juan and his merry men set a zombie killing business with the slogan, “Juan of the Dead. We kill your loved ones. How can we help you?” The film was super funny with good humor as a former slacker finds his purpose in life.
I had a thought about the setting for my future zombie story. Most zombie stories revolve around zombies taking over the entire world and the world’s governments failing to contain it. However, what if the government did manage to quarantine a zombie outbreak in time and contained it in one location? Therefore, I will be depicting my zombie story in a handful of counties that have been quarantined by the government before the zombie outbreak could spread. The story will be told from the point of view of survivors who are fighting to survive in the quarantine zone.
In addition to researching how zombies could be scientifically plausible, I have been researching videos that listed countless ways in which one could survive a zombie apocalypse. With these videos and ideas, I have a treasure trove of inspiration to draw upon for my future zombie apocalypse story. Some of these videos provided ideas that were quite unexpected and might put a good twist to the story. Once my schedule opens up, I look forward to watching more of these videos. As an added bonus, if a real life zombie apocalypse breaks out anytime soon, I will be well informed on what to do to survive.
I have come to realize that the most unlikely survivors of a zombie apocalypse are the slackers, individuals who have dedicated their lives to doing absolutely nothing. Before a zombie apocalypse happens, people would initially underestimate a slacker’s survival capability. However, when the zombie apocalypse happens, the slackers prove to be surprisingly good at killing zombies and staying alive. For my future zombie story, I am thinking of making the main characters slackers. I have plenty of experience about being a slacker so inspiration will not be a problem.
We often see zombies make some kind of snarling or growling noise as they attack their victims. However, I do not see this happening if zombies were real. In order to make noise, you have to be breathing, which is not possible since zombies are dead. Therefore, it would make sense for zombies to not make noise of any kind. The one exception would be the snapping and cracking their joints would make due to the effects of rigor mortis.
In terms of movement, there are two types of zombies: ones that move slow and those that move fast. For the longest time, I wondered which type would be more scientifically plausible if zombies existed. Because zombies are dead, they cannot produce fatigue toxins that would tire them, which gives them limitless stamina. If zombies moved fast, they could literally run forever and tire their prey out, which adds to the suspense to the story. On the other hand, the slow zombies seem more likely because since they are dead, their bodies are rotting as they move and rigor mortis would make their joints and muscles extremely stiff, which would hinder their movements. What do you think? What is more frightening? A fast zombie or a slow zombie? I will be tinkering with this question as I brainstorm my zombie apocalypse story.