Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What Makes Zombies Tough? The Eternal Undead by David Monette

What Makes Zombies Tough?

Zombies. They’re tough critters, aren’t they? I mean, look at them, they’re dead and they’re still walking around… or shambling… or crawling… or… whatever. It doesn’t matter. Whatever it is they’re doing, they’ve gotta be tough considering the fact that they are, well, dead while they’re doing it. Even death can’t stop ‘em! Now that’s tough!

It is.

But it’s also kind of not true, right? We know, depending on the story they find themselves in, that they can be killed (again) by any number of violent acts against their poor, spiritless shells. And therein lays the rub, the “depending on the story” part of the equation. Think of it, there are a ton of stories out there with these reanimated beasties in them, and, aside from the tried and true method of a sharp blow to a zombie noggin, there are almost as many different theories as to what can cause them to die. There are tales where fire can kill them, and then there are stories where it just fries them up and whatever barbequed bits remain can still squirm after their victims. There are also stories that have these undead horrors needing to eat in order to stay viable, and there are stories where time is their enemy and they eventually rot, decomposing back into the earth like the cadavers they are.

So, with this interesting little factoid in mind, when it comes to answering a question such as, “what makes zombies tough,” the most practical course would be to limit ourselves to one particular type of zombie, and, since I am the one writing this post, I’m going to stick with the sort of zombies that occur in the set of books I have written for my “In the Time of the Dead” trilogy. The first was book was “The Zombie Axiom,” the second installment was “The Warring Dead,” and the third and final book, “The Eternal Undead,” was just released.

Now, the zombies in these books are a bit different than the typical idea zombies. You see, I was never really a big fan of the notion that a disease could cause the dead to come back to life. It just seems physiologically impossible for a bacteria or virus or fungus to reanimate dead flesh and cause it to move around with any sort of purpose. I could see some exotic pathogen causing living people to act like zombies. I could see them running or wobbling around, chasing the uninfected like rabid dogs. But they wouldn’t be really dead people. They would be sick people. Not really the same thing.
How, then, do you have zombies exist without a virulent pathogen as the cause?


You go old school, back to the idea of good and evil, of mighty forces beyond our ken roiling about in the dark recesses of the universe. In my books, a powerful entity arrives on the planet and, through the force of its incredibly powerful will, causes most of humanity to die and then rise again as the undead. Even the “old” dead, those whose moldering corpses reside under the ground, are not exempt. They come clawing from the grave, dripping dirt, clothed in their tattered funerary garb, and imbued with the same, singular purpose as their more agile kin: to infect any living souls they meet by tearing into their flesh.


This arrangement, the “new” dead and the “old” dead, creates a dangerous combination for those who have survived the original holocaust. This is because the new dead are pretty agile, they can run and move about fairly quickly. The old dead shamble about slowly, but they are more numerous and, because they have less surface area (their bodies have decomposed; some of them are just skeletons!) they are tougher to kill.

Let’s look at that. The tough to kill aspect. Zombies have traditionally been capable of surviving most bodily injuries except the aforementioned blow to the cranium. That makes them very tough. The zombies in my books are little different, a shot to the head can do them in. However, they can eventually be taken down if they suffer enough bodily damage and enough of the essence automating their bodies’ escapes. This means that fire works against them. If you blow them up, they stop moving. Oh, and they can also become inoperative in deep water. It confuses them and eventually can kill them.


Beyond that, the zombies in my books can infect living people, their prey, with the will that animates them through a single bite! That is tough for the survivors to deal with, real tough.


What would you do if a tottering dead guy appeared on your porch? Freak out? Yeah, probably. It would be rather surprising, to say the least. And that is a big part of the toughness factor when dealing with zombies. The initial surprise factor of the outbreak would be devastating for humanity.


Numbers one, two, and three equal number four. Zombies in my books are hard to kill, they spread what they have pretty quickly and easily, and the initial outbreak is pretty startling. All of this snowballs very quickly.

1+2+3+4= YIKES!

There it is then, what makes zombies tough? Well, they can take more damage than most living creatures, they can infect living people and turn them into zombies, they have the element of surprise, and they have the numbers!  All of this spells, “YIKES” for the characters in my books. 

Yikes indeed. 

The Eternal Undead
In the Time of the Dead
Book III     
David Monette

Genre: Horror, Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Severed Press

Date of Publication: October 1, 2015

ISBN- 978-1-925342-53-6

Number of pages: 280
Word Count: 100,579

Cover Artist: David Monette

Book Description:

They thought they had escaped.

The battle for Washington DC is behind them, and the last remnants of the human race have fled from their undead enemies to a remote Caribbean island where they try to salvage what is left of humanity. But even here, the zombies have come. Led by the architect of the holocaust, an invading army wreaks havoc trying to acquire the one thing that can stop them, and the one thing a small contingent of soldiers knows they must never get. 

Join with Sasha, Terrance, Virgil, and the little girl, Max, in an all or nothing gamble as they fight down the road to either salvation or horrible defeat in the thrilling conclusion of this series.   

Available at Amazon
As the day slipped away far off to the west, the darkness of the jungle became a living thing. Knit together by the slow creep of lengthening shadows, it grew by degrees into a massive being, shapeless and black. For nourishment it ate the weak or the unlucky. In return it exhaled moist heat and a cavalcade of sound, the sound of thousands of separate voices, large and small, all coming together to meet the ear in a constant sheet of noise. Those who were responsible for the making of this chaotic ballad were invisible to the naked eye of man. This was so not just because of the darkness, but because most of the performers—the frogs, birds, and insects—were hidden within the surrounding vegetation, frightened of being killed by their neighbors, either eaten, or as was the case with the troop of humans quietly slipping along a trail, flattened under a boot.
For one of the six members of this troop of humans, such an act would have been celebrated with a certain degree of relish. Terrance hated the sound of the jungle at night. There were not many things in his life that he gave away for free, but in his hatred he was quite generous. He hated the bleats, the croaks and hoots, and he hated the creatures that made the noise.  He hated the darkness and the fact that he had to wear a pair of thermal goggles to plumb its depths. He hated the heat, and the plants, and the bugs. He hated the head-to-toe leather suit he wore… and most of all he hated the reason he had to wear the suit, the reason he was out in the jungle at night in the first place. He hated the zombies. Or more accurately, he feared the zombies and he hated them for that fear.
His terror of these beasts was not unfounded. Since the first day of the apocalypse when a host of diabolical necromancers eradicated most of the human population on earth and then raised the dead as zombies, the resulting creatures could, with a single bite, turn any living person into one of them. Terrance had seen it done before. It was not pretty. The resilient leather he wore formed a fairly reliable barrier between a bite and death, so day or night, no matter how hot it was, whenever he or anyone else left the barricades surrounding the city of St George’s on a patrol, they wore the protective clothing. The safety it provided far outweighed the bladders of water they needed to carry or the periodic “cool downs” they had to perform while nestled in the boughs of a tree.
Either way, Terrance hated it all.
In fact, he was so busy nursing his various hatreds that he barely noticed when Danger, the woman on point, suddenly raised her fist head-high and froze.
The fire team immediately came to a stop.
Terrance’s finger slipped from outside the trigger guard of his MP5SD sub-machinegun to curl around the curve of the trigger. The contact made him feel safer, more in control.
Around the task force the sound of the jungle withered and slowly died.
The point person opened her fist, laid the flat palm parallel to the ground, and took a knee.
Seeing this, Lieutenant Burgis, the officer in command, looked back and motioned those behind to follow suit.
They crouched and in the dark waited.
There was something out there.

About the Author:

David Monette was born and raised in the cold rural hinterlands of upstate New York. As a typical kid in a typical community, life for him was pretty... typical. He liked to draw creatures and contraptions but as the second born of four sons, such ability was merely a convenient way of standing out from the crowd. As he inexpertly stumbled through high school, his talent for capturing the images in his head onto paper was noticed and encouraged by both teachers and family members.

Without any other idea of what to do with himself after graduation, besides a vague idea of doing something art oriented, he decided to attend Mohawk Valley Community College where he received his associate's degree in Advertising Design and Production. Acting on excellent advice from his teachers at this institution, he went on to Syracuse University where he learned a great deal about art and eventually wound up with a bachelor's degree in Illustration.

With a disturbingly large amount of student debt and a decent portfolio, he learned what it was to be a starving artist. Namely, he found that artists don't starve; they simply pick up an endless series of part time work to pay the rent while continuing to plug away at their true passion. This was essentially what he did until he received his first illustration job and from that point on, he didn't look back. As an illustrator, his highly detailed fantasy and science fiction work has appeared in many books, magazines, board games, and collectible card games for such varied publishers as Dell Publishing, Wizards of the Coast, and Atlas Games. Initially, he had completed these diverse projects utilizing oil and acrylic paints as well as pen and inks.

As digital technology continued to improve, however, he decided it was time to tackle the arduous task of mastering the computer and eventually figured out a way to adapt his style to a digital format. With this knowledge and experience, he went back to school and received his master's degree in Illustration from the University of Hartford. While there, his instructors reviewed his written work and had strongly suggested that he combine his writing ability with his talent as an illustrator to chart his own path.

And hence, an author was born.

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