Deborah Christie and Sarah Juliet Lauro, Better Off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human. Fordham University Press, forthcoming June 2011. To be reviewed by Xavier Aldana, Lancaster University.
The zombie is ubiquitous in popular culture: from comic books to video games, to internet applications and homemade films, zombies are all around us. Investigating the zombie from an interdisciplinary perspective,with an emphasis on deep analytical engagement with diverse kinds of texts, Better Off Dead addresses some of the more unlikely venues where zombies are found while providing the reader with a classic overview of the zombie’s folkloric and cinematic history.
What has the zombie metaphor meant in the past? Why does it continue to be so prevalent in our culture? Where others have looked at the zombie as an allegory for humanity’s inner machinations or claimed the zombie as capitalist critique, this collection seeks to provide an archaeology of the zombie—tracing its lineage from Haiti, mapping its various cultural transformations, and suggesting the post-humanist direction in which the zombie is ultimately heading. Approaching the zombie from many different points of view, the contributors look across history and across media. Though they represent various theoretical perspectives, the whole makes a cohesive argument: The zombie has not just evolved within narratives; it has evolved in a way that transforms narrative. This collection announces a new post-zombie, even before the boundaries of this rich and mysterious myth have been completely charted.
Fordham University Press, forthcoming June 2011