When I was growing up, the “popular” undead were Vampires (not the sparkly kind.) There was nothing ambiguous about Vampires – they were definitely evil, but they did have a code. They couldn’t enter a home without being invited in. They were (for the most part) cultured and polite.
Then society started drifting toward Zombies. Zombies are not evil – they have no morality at all. They shamble around, just trying to find a way to keep going (that would be us.) Amazingly, from at least as far back as Night of the Living Dead, they can still catch totally live, conscious and mobile human beings. Or were the undead in that movie ghouls? Doesn’t seem to matter much, except they weren’t obsessing over brains like zombies do.
Our monsters and heroes tell us a lot about who we are, and what we’re afraid of reveals our world view. It used to be we understood there was such a thing as EVIL, but that there were rules and standards to be followed. It didn’t matter WHY a vampire did what he did – he was EVIL, and it was a triumph of civilized humanity to end him.
Later generations have thrown this out the door in favor of mindless, ambiguous destruction. It’s not a Zombie’s fault that they’re what they are (heck, it’s probably humanity’s fault), and there isn’t enough brain in there to even make a decision other than to find more brains. It almost seems inhuman to go around killing them (and who knows, they might eventual regain their humanity like in Warm Bodies.)
Sparkly Vampires confuse things even more – now monsters can actually be good, like junkies who’ve learned to be productive members of society. They’re like you and me, they just have this… quirk. I prefer my monsters to announce themselves with a big sign that let’s you know exactly what a danger they are. No ambiguity – no wondering who’s going to jump at me from behind a tree, or stab me in the back once I’ve trusted them. That’s probably why I’m also afraid of the dark. The unknown is the scariest thing of all.
We’re down to the last two days of “Smashwords’ Summer/Winter Sale.” All my story collections (including Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire and Detective Jimmy Delaney) are available with a 50%-off coupon on the Smashwords site. You can find them all here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
William Mangieri’s writing – including his most recent ePublication “There’s No Present Like the Time” – can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri