Episode 757: Clarify, Please

Zombie Cliche Lookout: Details, Details

When you say that a character “didn’t make it” in a zombie story, that can mean a few different things, and the distinction can be important. Are you saying that they were attacked and killed by zombies? Completely devoured by the zombies, leaving nothing to reanimate? Were they bitten and infected? Have they already reanimated? Or are they simply trapped and unable to break through. That last one means that a rescue is possible, if pursued quickly enough.

About this Episode:

I know what you guys are thinking, why am I dancing around using the zed word? Well, once again, it’s a trope of the genre, and one that I think is a lot of fun. That said, I don’t like the ludicrous lengths some shows and movies take the trope. The big example at the moment is, of course, The Walking Dead, which calls its zombies “walkers”. That is, perhaps not so bad, but let’s not forget they only settled on “walkers” after trying and rejecting some less than ideal terms, like “geeks”. It’s a wonder why that one didn’t take off.

Discussion Question: The Zed Word

Let’s take the “About this episode” into the discussion area, shall we? Today we’re going to have a two part question. For the first part, what do you think of the trope of the word “zombie” not being used in zombie fiction? Does that mean that those stories exist in a universe where zombie movies simply don’t exist? Part two: assuming that there is no zombie mythology to build on, how do you think people would refer to zombies if they were suddenly faced with them?

They’d call the zombies “geeks”, right? Of course they would. Let’s ignore that obvious one, and get a little more creative, shall we?

29 Comments

BrickVoid

Typo alerts: “and one that I think it a lot of fun” it–>is ๐Ÿ˜€

“Theyโ€™re call the zombies โ€œgeeksโ€, right?” They’re–>They’d ๐Ÿ˜‰

Not bad today, Dave, only two! ๐Ÿ˜€

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BrickVoid

Now we are going to see what Clark’s really made of! ๐Ÿ˜€ Of course, bearing in mind that us commenters know lots about Clark that Barb doesn’t know about him, what do you think is going through her mind right now? What is she thinking, besides the obvious implied by her current line of questioning? ๐Ÿ˜€

Maybe that’d be a good Discussion Question for Wednesday’s episode, needs tweaking, IMHO, though! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Dave

At this point, she’s confused and angry, but she’s putting things together pretty quickly.

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Pepper Valentino

“I’m sorry. He didn’t make it.”

“What? No! It can’t be!”

“It’s true.”

“I can’t believe my brother…my brother is dead.”

“Dead? No. He’s not dead.”

“But you said he didn’t make it?”

“Yeah! He didn’t make the cake, for your birthday. He was going to surprise you!”

Haha! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Pepper Valentino

Interestingly, in episodes 28 & 29, Clark entered the comic exactly when Stew and Cheryl are arguing about what to call the zombies.

I guess Clark didnt hear them. ๐Ÿ™‚

You would think, since Stew has heard of zombies, that everyone would know of the creatures.

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Pepper Valentino

For the discussion question:

I’m so used to it, that it just seems weird when characters call them zombies.

It kinda messes everything up.
When I’m watching Twd, it feels so real, and so true. It really seems like it is canon to our world.
But when I think about them not saying “zombie”. They’ve obviously never heard of them, which means that “zombies” simply don’t exist in their pre-apocalypse lives.
And that makes it feel like a completely different universe. Like I’m watching The Twilight Zone.
So, I don’t like to think about it. At least when it comes to my favorite show, Twd. ๐Ÿ™‚

But if I’ve never heard of them, and the Zs are here, I’d probably call them something with “dead”.
Probably “the dead ones”.
Or “biters” or “eaters” (i dont like “eaters”)
But it’s VERY hard to imagine a world without zombies. No Botd,no Twd,no nothin! Hopefully the zeds come fast, cuz thats a world I don’t want to live in!
๐Ÿ˜€

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Pepper Valentino

Also, I think it’d be funny. If in a universe w/out “zombies”, survivors came up with a crazy acronym that spelled out “zombie”.

This has probably been done. Maybe not in a funny way, though.

Maybe they can’t decide on a name, so they make an acronym out of all of them.

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Dave

To be honest, the term “walkers” does make a bit of sense at least. I’m not a fan of it because it seems like a stretch, but I can see where it came from.

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Pepper Valentino

Yes. That’s my favorite.

It’s been hard commenting on here. I always want to say “walkers”! Haha! But I’m getting used to saying “zombies” again. So that’s good. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Greg

I guess, the term “the infected” is perhaps the one that makes the most “sense”… assuming of course the plot uses a virus to explain the reanimation.
I just finished a book that would switch between the term “infected” when used in the parts of the story that were more descriptive in nature – and “zombie” for the more action-oriented sequences (the book is “Feed” – Newsflesh Series #1). I think it worked pretty well.
The fact is, if you want to tell a zombie story in a contemporary setting – you can’t ignore the fact that “zombie” is THE term to designate a reanimated flesh eating corpse. Try to call them something else and it is going to feel forced no matter what. Why would anyone want to make up a new term when this one is already known and used by all? The path of least resistance is the way to go… also, I do not buy the idea of a post-apoc world where all means of communication are gone – but somehow the survivors still manage to agree on a universal way to designate the living dead.

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Dave

I need to finish that series on of these days. I really enjoyed “Feed”, but kind of forgot about the series by the time the second novel came out.

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Greg

The book was good, a bit long in some parts of the story but the ending made up for it all. I’m on the waiting list for the #2…
You are still listening to audio books Dave? I thought the recording on this one was pretty good – with different voice actors. I love it when they do that and go the extra mile of having different readers.

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Dave

I always like that too. Maybe I should pick them up on Audible. I read the dead tree version of the first one.

Greg

The best one I can think of would be the audio book version of World War Z – they have different voice actors for every chapter – great stuff!

Dave

Isn’t that abridged though? I really dislike reading abridged books. Still, I’m tempted on that one.

Greg

You know what Dave, I never asked myself what an “abridged” novel was. (I did not know what that term meant actually). But now that you mention it – and that I looked it up – it does make sense. I had picked that the WWZ recording was missing some bits that I remembered from reading the paperback a few years ago.. so, indeed, the audio book version is shortened. Still worth it for the quality of the recording IMO, but fans of the original may be surprised.

Dave

Fair enough. I’ll probably pick it up the next time it goes on sale. I’ve seen it on sale a time or two.

Greg

I’m borrowing my audio books for free from a Public library using an App called OverDrive… ever tried that?

Dave

I haven’t; I’ll have to see if our library has that. I’ll bet it does, or something similar. I’ve just been subscribing to Audible.

Greg

Dude, I think I just saved you 15 bucks a month sorry, Amazon) ๐Ÿ˜‰
I’m pretty sure your local library has this. Only downside of this system is that they only have a few “copies” of each book available.. so sometimes you got to wait a little. Also you can only borrow a book for 14 days at a time. The catalog is pretty big. Overall it is a great system.. and did I mention it’s free?

Mick

It was just one of those things. Just one of those crazy things.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAb_TBfuC8Q
๐Ÿ˜€
Okay, I only just learned I misheard the lyrics, but that’s what popped into my head when I read Clark’s line.

Not calling them zombies really bugs me in TWD. Walkers, short for walking dead always seemed a bit of the stretch. And they way the introduced it – Morgan, if I remember correctly, used it with Rick in the first episode. Then Rick started using it and suddenly everyone was calling them Walkers.

I think TWD tried Rotters and Biters, which are logical and I could live with.

I just started The Boy on the Bridge, the sequel to The Girl with All the Gifts, that universe calls their zombies Hungries. I think that’s a good descriptive name.

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Greg

Now I picture Clark break into a song… lol. That’s it, you ruined the tension!

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pi3rk

I’d say they don’t use the Z word because it’s something happening all of a sudden, never existed before (in their universe that is) so the characters don’t know how to call it.

What I like in TWD is that different people in different location will call them a different way. Kinda funny.

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