Max Brooks On Why We Love Zombies -- And Why We Might Stop

Illustration for article titled Max Brooks On Why We Love Zombies -- And Why We Might Stop

Zombies are having an epically long cultural moment, but why? Author Max Books explains just what's behind that fascination — and when we might expect it to end.


In a AMA with reddit yesterday, Brooks explained his thoughts on the apocalyptic anxieties that were fueling the surge of interest in zombie stories, both now and 50 years ago, and why the soothing of those anxieties could mean the end of that interest:

I might be wrong (because I often am) but I suspect that our interest in zombies might wane as the world 'gets back to normal'. We've been living in a time of upheaval and anxiety not seen since the 1960s-70s. It's a crazy time. People are scared. They need a place to channel their apocalyptic anxieties. Zombie stories are perfect because they are real enough to scare us, but not real enough to keep us from sleeping at night. I think when the world calms down, as it did in the late 1980s-1990s, people might want to move on from thinking about the end of the world.

What do you think? How do the times we live in shape the monsters that populate our stories? Tell us, with examples, in the comments.



I am over the zombies. They were fun for a time, but to keep the stories going, the conflict has to continue, the stories repeat, they become, well, less interesting. The zombies become the secondary threat as we deal with characters being good and evil. The grand social experiment anti-video game of DayZ shows us that.
Vampires, zombies, ghosts, let's move on. Time for ghouls and wraiths if we want to keep with some form of undead menance. The lurkers, the things that hide underneath and remain even when things seem alright all around us. Marrow-feasting ghouls, lapping up the life-stuff of humanity in order to continue their undead existence. Yeah. oh I should write a story. Need coffee first.