Our paranormal epics, action flicks, and monster movies are stuffed with metaphor. The billion-dollar success of Christopher Nolan’s bleak Dark Knight alerted studio executives back in 2008: metaphorical thinking was in. Summer blockbusters could grapple with bigger themes and darker allegories without turning off their sebum-soaked ticketholders. This gimmick has seeped across all the blockbuster industries: graphic novels, television, young adult books. You’re surely familiar with the biggies by now: The mutant struggle for assimilation is about gay civil rights. Vampires represent our anxiety about dying alone or, worse, never dying alone. Zombies, their uprising, and our anticipated armed struggle against the undead horde is metaphor for plague—specifically, AIDS.
Is there a disease more sensationally gruesome, more thrillingly disturbing than rabies? The macabre virus, which has haunted the imaginations (and nightmares) of nearly every human culture for thousands of years, is the subject of a new nonfiction book by Wired journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy, a husband-and-wife team perfectly matched to tackle the cultural history of this most dreaded of zoonotic infections.
Sometimes, Kickstarter campaigns don’t meet their funding goals—but it’s not the end of the world! In this series we explore what happens next.
Freelance illustrator Gary Simpson began writing a zombie-themed cookbook called Dead Eats in 2009. In the summer of 2010, he took his idea to Kickstarter, hoping to raise enough money to create a few prototypes of the book to send to literary agents and publishers. After 60 days, Gary had received pledges for only $745 of his $1000 goal. Here he talks about the experience and shares a recipe from the book.
L.V. Anderson: How did you get the idea for a zombie cookbook?
Deep Silver, the publishers-to-be of the videogame "Dead Island," claimed yesterday that they hadn't yet sold film rights to their as-of-yet unfinished and unreleased product, in development since basically forever, despite reports to the contrary. Here's a working theory about this unusual event (the "Dead Island" trailer: has like 2.5 million views, from the last five days): "My theory: Deep Silver knew Dead Island was in video game purgatory and they needed something to gauge the interest in it to determine if they should shelve it or issue yet another release date. So they came up with this bit of cinematic genius, something that would go viral [...]
Any of you Minneapolitans out there hit up the Annual Zombie Pub Crawl this weekend? It sounds like… something to do in Minneapolis! "This is the craziest night of the year on the West Bank," said Kurt Rasmussen, 28, of Minneapolis. "I've been waiting since last October for the Zombie Pub Crawl."
Uh oh: For the first time criminal hackers may have succeeded in creating a network of 'zombie' cellphones, infected without the owners' knowledge with software that can be used to send spam or carry out cyber attacks. Botnets, as such networks are known, are usually made up of infected personal computers and are used to make money from spam or extortion. Millions of machines worldwide are secretly running botnet software and it has been estimated that one in four US personal computers is part of a botnet.
"To our knowledge these are the first in-situ observations of such behaviour during which one can convincingly state that lampreys attached to whales are rasping through the skin and feeding rather than just 'hanging on for the ride'." —Owen Nichols, Director of the Marine Fisheries Initiative at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, discusses a less-than-earth-shattering discovery. (Why wouldn't we have assumed that lampreys like cetacean blood as much as that of fish?) But, the news is a good excuse to watch a video of the things. They are super-weird and cool-looking. They should change their nickname, though. "Vampire fish" is so 2009. They should start rolling their [...]
You and I, we aren't from here. I know I am not anyway and if this whole universe including me turns out to be a harsh game, well, consider my imagined heart crushed and my fictional breath taken totally away. What a beautifully cruel thing of unimaginable definition and color this place is. What incredible aberrations; what perfect anomalies. I sure as hell don't know what the fuck I am doing here and I am quite certain that you don't either. In fact, I can't recall the nothing I was before. I wonder what the nothing will feel like later. That's how I can do whatever it is that I [...]
Do not eat: SnackMaster All Natural Gourmet Ahi Tuna Jerky. Because: Pescatarians are to bulimics what vegans are to anorexics.* Go hard or go home. Extreeeeeme! Do eat: Wawa brand mesquite smoked Beef Jerky original flavor. Because: This and that one rollercoaster Kingda Ka are the only two reasons to ever visit Jersey.
Sometime in 2006, I was lying in bed, kind of drunk and thinking about zombies, and I had a thought. In a world (the voiceover in my head went) in which both vampires and zombies existed, who would be forced to be humanity's friend? Vampires, because if all the people turned into zombies, the vampires would have nothing to eat. But in a world where both vampires and zombies existed, what's the worst thing that could happen? No, not vambies, dummy… [...]
"The bizarre syndrome, first diagnosed in Miami, transforms its typically sane victim into a slobbering, raging, supernaturally strong menace hell-bent on self-destruction," wrote the Miami New Times in 2010. "Excited Delirirum," is a focus of inquiry the Department of Neurology at the University of Miami School of Medicine; identified in the 80s among cocaine users, it's not necessarily drug-induced, but it sure helps (cocaine interferes with dopamine transportation in the brain, then things go haywire (technical term)). And then, next thing you know, you're naked on the side of the highway, chewing off someone's face: "After an officer approached… 'The guy just stood, his head [...]
To Britain: "A city council has been forced to admit it has no plans to deal with a zombie invasion. A 'concerned citizen' used freedom of information laws to reveal what plans Leicester City Council had to deal with a Dawn of the Dead-style attack. Amused by the request, the council had to admit no such plans existed."
Let's hear it for zombies, the monsters for real Americans: "Zombie enthusiasts are a special subset of horror-movie fan. Many say the monster's low-tech egalitarianism appeals to them. (Unlike vampires, sometimes portrayed as aloof aristocrats, anyone can be a zombie.) Sometimes called blue-collar monsters, zombies who seek the flesh and brains of the living require few special effects, compared with aliens and other monsters. Some say their relative ordinariness makes them scarier." Also up for discussion: Which kind of zombie is more correct? Your traditional, slow-moving grunter or the 28 Days Later zoomy/chompy type? Think wisely before you answer, there's a lot riding on this one.