Zombies have been a mainstay of my horror collection for years. Like many of you I’m sure, putting zombies in something will get me to watch just about anything. I shudder to think of some of the low budget slop that I have waded through all in the name of zombies. But the recent influx of zombie popularity has somewhat detracted from the undead’s ability to poke at our societal fabric and cause us to examine how we treat others. So before we go any further let’s clear up a few things that have been twisting my short hairs for a few years now: 1) vampires don’t sparkle, 2) werewolves aren’t friendly and 3) I don’t care how much you want them to, but zombies most certainly do not fall in love! All of these creatures want to eat you and that is what makes them great!
My first foray into the zombie genre was with my Zombie Youth series, published through Severed Press. The series begins with a group of students who are struggling to survive during a zombie outbreak in their school. The virus infects those over the age of nineteen, killing them and reanimating their corpses or in some cases worse. The students are left in a world where the very people who once dictated their daily lives now want to eat them.
Being a math teacher, I had often considered what would happen if a zombie outbreak occurred in a school. But being both a teacher and zombie author has created some strange dynamics. Since publishing Zombie Youth, one of the most frequently asked questions I field is why would I want to create a world that pits children against zombies? Admittedly, recently having become a parent, the idea is unsettling, but I personally believe that it’s the zombies that should be concerned.
What struck me as I considered this idea was that most zombie movies and books were told from the point of view of adults and the children seemed to magically disappear. Sure, there’s the occasional zombie baby shock, but where are the other kids? Some might argue that kids would be the first eaten, but I thought otherwise. Having taught for some time I have seen firsthand how resilient children can be and how well they can handle issues that would cripple their adult counterparts. So why not zombies?
So what’s the point of my rambling diatribe? Well, when the undead show up, because face it they are, adults are royally screwed. Children have a flexible understanding of the world and in my opinion, will be better suited to handle a zombie-infested existence. Furthermore, they haven’t learned to limit their potential in the way that adults have. Those of us who have become regimented and routine-based are going to be the first ones snacked upon. The older we get, the more we do the same things over and over again, every day. We eat the same thing every morning, go to the same place at the same time and schedule our lives based upon the weekly television line up. It is this predictability and reliance upon it that I think will be the undoing of much of the population, maybe even without the assistance of the undead.
The main reason I have always loved the zombie genre is its ability to sandwich social commentary between layers of fetid flesh. Zombies are representative of the general populous or at least what we fear we might become when our routines and systems fail. Authors can use zombies to bring out the best and worst of human nature. It is this idea of mankind without societal constraints that continues to drag me back for more undead carnage. Honestly, I’m not sure where our collective morals would fall if the dead rise and I really wanted to see how the younger members of society would do given the same scenario.
The Zombie Youth series explores a world where kids are given complete control. It has always struck me as odd that popular culture pushes children to be more adult in every way other than those that truly matter. When young people don’t vote then they’re lazy and un-American, but when they do they’re brainwashed, mockingly called ‘zombie youth’ and discouraged from doing the very thing people complained about a lack of. It frustrates me to no end to see the use of this term, which is why when my wife suggested it as a series title I loved it. I wanted to recapture and disarm the phrase in some small way. One of my best days as an author was when I Googled the term ‘Zombie Youth’ and found that pages about my series had displaced certain curmudgeonly blogs and sites that seek to use to phrase to disparage young people.
The Zombie Youth series is available in paperback and Kindle through Severed Press on Amazon. While I love to receive feedback from critics and authors, it’s what the readers think that matters the most. I invite readers to find me on Facebook, Goodreads, follow me on Twitter (@HEGoodhue) or drop by my blog.
H.E. Goodhue Bio Info
H.E. Goodhue is an author and educator. Zombie Youth: Playground Politics is Goodhue’s first published novel. It is the first installment in a new series from Severed Press that has been called “unrelenting”, “thrilling and exciting” by both fellow authors and literary critics. Since its release in April 2012, Zombie Youth has posted sales throughout the US, Europe and Australia. The second novel in the Zombie Youth series, Borrowed Time, has recently been released. H.E. Goodhue currently resides in New Jersey with his wife, daughter and two hardheaded pit bulls.