1. katreya
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    katreya Member

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    Everything wrong with zombies? (I have 5)

    Discussion in 'Research' started by katreya, Feb 2, 2014.

    5 mistakes, not 5 zombies, that is!

    I did a post on it here [link removed]

    but I wanted to know if you guys could think of any other problems with zombies themselves… not with the people or circumstances (e.g., bulk food in a storage warehouse for humans).

    =P
     
  2. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If zombies did not come about in the natural world, but instead were bio-engineered by terrorists who had been specifically inspired by zombie movies - and who would give the plague a head start in spreading as far as possible before getting noticed - then a writer could probably fix and/or address a lot of those in some way ;)
     
  3. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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  4. yanlins
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    I've actually been pondering this a long time.

    You can of course back out by subtly declaring zombies are outside the state of physics and nature, and likely science, so they can take on any attribute you wish, and tada! Problem solved!

    But if you're trying to fit them in, a couple of questions (and a few answers are):

    What is their primary source of energy? They have none as far as I can tell other than fresh human meat, which is pretty darned hard to get by. Survivors would only have to wait out two weeks before all the zombies starve to death, because y'know, they don't open cans and eat stuff like bread. But that wouldn't make for a very interesting story.

    They could eat each other, but then again, not very interesting - eating other shambling zombies is way much easier than a human capable of running away. Maybe they don't eat each other because they can identify similar conditions by the pheromones they produce.

    Shambling could be a way of energy conservation. Or maybe they go into deep hibernation until movement nearby wakes them. But they'll still die out in the end.

    A solution, I think is that they're not the walking dead, but rather normal people who have all of their aggressive inhibitors removed. They could attack each other and other animals to live, and live and die as how we do. The only thing that separates us from them is that we are capable of higher order functions.

    Hmm... I think I'll go write a short now...

    ~Yan
     
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  5. Morbius
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    Morbius Member

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    In my opinion, you cannot reasonably explain zombies by any science fiction means. The way nerves, muscles, the brain, etc. works, you couldn't really create a zombie from a chemical spill, or "strange" radiation or a new experimental "serum".

    The only feasible explanation for zombies is a supernatural one. Fantasy explanations of ancient black magic spells or voodoo curses work because...well...they are actually "MAGIC".
     
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  6. katreya
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    katreya Member

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    Yeah… but as for being outside the laws of physics & nature… wouldn't that imply a more demonic type beastie? Just curious though - that's viable too!
     
  7. katreya
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    katreya Member

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    Aha, exactly my thinking!
     
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  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Now, just to play devils' advocate (because I frankly detest the zombie trope already...)

    Zombie trope really isn't something that stands up to scrutiny, but neither does a lot of other fiction. 99.998% of Star Trek stuff flies in the face of accepted physics. The transporters alone are ridiculous because they would cause ungodly thermonuclear explosions at the first use, but Star Trek waves that away with some clever "technology" that nullifies that effect. Also, they have made occasional use of "transporter accidents" to create plot-lines wherein someone suddenly had a transporter clone of themselves walking around, or a younger version or an older version. They never even tried to tackle the idea of what if someone maliciously used the pattern buffers to create clones of people. I mean, the idea is sitting right there in the open. There's a whole transporter buffer black market storyline just screaming to be written.

    But none of that really matters. We have to suspend belief of those details in order to allow the story, which those flaws make possible, to happen. Same holds true for zombie junk. Though, again, I would actually pay to NOT see Milla Jovovich do another video-game based, zombie-porn flic. Just sayin'. ;)
     
  9. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Generally zombies are portrayed as being the result of some kind of "infection". If the cause is an exotic parasite that takes control of a dead or dying body, that can explain a lot of your objections.

    The parasite can alter the nutritional needs of the host, at least for a limited period, perhaps by converting and supplying them itself like a symbiote.

    The parasite might recognise other "occupied" hosts and be reluctant to eat them unless given no choice.

    They shamble because the parasite's control is external to the human's nervous system and hence less efficient.

    Why do they mainly eat humans? 1) If you are in a city, the most obvious source of live food is humans. 2) Have you ever tried to catch small animals like chickens or even dogs with your bare hands, especially if you have to shamble? 3) Attacking and killing big animals like cows and horses would not work out too well for the zombie who cannot use weapons. Cows, horses, and even pigs, are deadly when frightened or angry. In addition, the hide of (say) a cow is very hard to bite through with human teeth, especially dentures.
     
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  10. Morbius
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    Morbius Member

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    Are you suggesting that an exotic parasite could take control of a dead body?

    When the body dies, blood stops flowing, making tissue and organs die. Muscular contraction required to move limbs (walking, fighting) happens because of electrical impulses from the brain, traveling through a nervous system. Upon death, the brain, nerves and muscles stop working and begin decomposition (rotting meat). Even the ability to simply stand up, requires a sense of balance determined by the middle ear, which also rots and decays when a body dies.

    How could an exotic parasite take control of a dead body?

    Perhaps a parasite could feed off a corpse, leeching nutrients from it, but that would be about all it could do without some supernatural element involved.
     
  11. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe I'm just old school, but I thought zombies were created by necromancers and Witch Doctors through black magic.
     
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, they've gone all... techno.
     
  13. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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  14. Bryan Romer
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    As I recall, the OP was discussing why fictional zombie behaviour would not work, and I provided plausible explanations to meet her points.

    However, as Jack Asher pointed out in the Cracked article, there are very real parasites that attack the brains of animals (and unlucky humans) before they die. These parasites are known to change specific behaviours.

    Toxoplasma gondii, hosted by cats, causes rats to be unafraid of cat urine and hence less wary. There is some evidence that when it infects humans it can cause women to inflict self harm. That's getting close to zombietitis.

    Hanson's Ear Worm in humans causes twitching, irritability and involuntary vocalization, which causes other infected people within earshot to activate and respond. Zombies can communicate!

    So, all we need is one of Monsanto's GMO to misfire in a similar parasite, perhaps make it a carrier of a modified form of meningitis, and Zombie Apocalypse here we come!
     
  15. yanlins
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    It wouldn't be a long Apocalypse. Second law of thermodynamics. Just survive for two weeks and all the zombies would have starved to death. You could finish your Steam backlog in that period, just to make good use of time.
     
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  16. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    That's kinda what they did with 28 days later, a rage inducing plague.
     
  17. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    I kinda like the idea that the zombies only eat, their bite doesn't turn you into a zombie. But due to the rotting flesh and bacteria etc, breathing in spores might turn instead. Meaning not only do you have to be careful not to be eaten but you have to remember your gas mask to.
     
  18. yanlins
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    Problem is, if its an airborne disease, anyone who can get it has already gotten it. If you're immune, then you don't need a gas mask. ;)

    ~Yan
     
  19. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Was thinking about that I was thinking of a concentration of the gas around a horde. If you have low dose your immune system can metabolize it. And was thinking the hero is immune due to I was thinking some other diseases or botched vaccination.
     
  20. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    How about this: Zombies speed and aggressiveness worsens the longer they go without feeding. So a newly turned zombie might not even attack humans right away, and once they do feed again they go back to being passive until they are hungry again. If a zombie feeds on another zombie, or starves to death, they explode and give off a gas burst that last for a little while that turns people that breath it into zombies.
     
  21. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Or you could have zombies with varying degrees of aggression due to contamination or body mass, or amount of brain tissue left intact. Ie a full brain is not too aggressive, but say a head shot is not quite executed right, the aggression goes right up due to intact brain tissue being lowered.
     
  22. SusieD.Nym
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    There is a parasite I read about in National Georgraphic that's called... Toxoplasmosis gondii that travels from humans from cats via their litter boxes. When rats with this parasite were examined it was discovered that the parasite "hijacks the brain" no lie. Jarslav Fleger (the main toxo researcher) says that it "makes the rats more active, less risk averse, even sexually attracted to the scent of cat urine." Essentially the parasite is trying to get the rat eaten by the cat so the parasite can be transferred to the cat. The scary thing is that when humans get it they change too. Fleger says they "found that it greatly slows reaction time... Infected people tend to be less conscientious. And [their] male subjects considered the scent of cat urine to be quite pleasurable." He also mentioned that "people infected with toxo are 2.6 times more likely to get into a traffic accident." (All of this information is being quoted from the January 2013 issue of Natioinal Geographic, page 64)

    This is as close to 'zombies' that we're going to get in real life. I hope.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  23. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I believe there is a parasite like that in cow feces as well. Here is a list of 12 parasites with that quality:

    http://io9.com/12-real-parasites-that-control-the-lives-of-their-hosts-461313366
     
  24. SusieD.Nym
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    A Wikipedia article I found after I posted mentioned it in lamb meat if it's undercooked. Something similar to mad cow disease perhaps?
     
  25. SuperVenom
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    Jack asher's post above has similar information both good reads
     

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