Lincoln Crisler is the author of WILD, a zombie/western novella. This month he is doing a blog tour to promote WILD. Find out more about Lincoln on his website.
Melissa asked me to share some background on the zombies I created for my Weird Western novella, WILD, which made its paperback and digital format debut this month from Damnation Books. It's a fair question to ask; anyone who's read zombie books or watched zombie movies, even those produced in just the past few years, has seen, at a minimum, the following:
· slow reanimated dead (Romero-style, baby!)
· fast reanimated dead (Zombieland)
· demon-possessed corpses (Brian Keene's The Rising)
· infected living humans that act just like zombies (Joe McKinney's Dead World series)
All of these different sort of zombies (and I'm almost certainly forgetting a category or two) are good for something and serve a certain purpose; McKinney's infected living, for instance, raise a moral question that simply blasting the dead back to their graves just doesn't raise. Fast-moving dead are far more of a threat than slow-moving dead (though a creator does get bonus points for having a rationale behind rotting carcasses that are as spry as the living).
My zombies, however, are a little different from any of these. When my protagonists, a mysterious stranger; a sheriff's deputy; a dangerous outlaw and a former Army medic, meet the zombies, they're pretty much Romero-esque. They've crawled out of graves, they're rotten, et cetera. However, at the end of the book, someone living is slipped a mickey and turned into a mindless zombie. This might seem like a contradiction, but it's not. You won't find any of what I'm about to share in the pages of WILD, but this should shed a little light on the matter for those who like a look behind the scenes.
The drink my black magician dumps down the poor character's throat is a mixture of magic and pseudo-science, though it would all seem like magic to someone from the 1800s. Basically, from their perspective, the potion makes the person crazy and hungry for flesh and eventually kills him or her, with the magic still powering the now-decaying body. Where the pseudo-science comes in is from research indicating that damage to certain areas of the brain, like the amygdala, could cause a person to act much like a zombie. The drink does this damage. The magic is from ingredients in the drink that allow the magician to control the zombies, by commanding them to lay in graves until some meddling cowboys come calling, for instance, and in the animation of the corpse after death, which would have to be accomplished by magical means. Simple enough, right?
While I chose not to bog WILD down with the details, you can rest assured this potion and the zombies it spawns haven't had their last day in the spotlight. I have at least two more storylines in mind, and at least one of them is set in a time just a little more distant than Old West El Paso. Lets just say there isn't really all that much difference between zombies and mummies!