Thursday, October 14, 2010

Selection Pressure

If you required any further proof that I'm a hopeless geek (see previous post on the matter), I bring you the IM conversation I had on Tuesday with Jeffe Kennedy and KAK.

Me: You know. I never see anything about zombie dietary preferences. Do they like the brains of smart people better than the brains of less intelligent folk? Or are less intellectual brains sweeter because there's not so much stuff in there? And then, what sort of selection pressure would zombie predation put on homo sapiens? Would it select for intellect one way or the other?
kak: think the plaque build up on diseased brains makes 'em like rice-candy?
Me: LOL! EW!!! Crunchy!
Jeffe: I think plaque would be more chewy, actually
kak: hmm, chew toys for zombies
Me: Brain flavored nougat?
Jeffe Kennedy: and the glia has a decidedly different texture, where they're usually more like oatmeal, when alive. or jelly
Me: So if it maintains any shape outside the skull, it's gone bad?
kak: twizzlers, now in Brain flavor!
me: Assuming disease = bad
Jeffe: pretty much the brain only retains shape outside the skull if you've preserved it first. formalin for the win! so we always perfused and preserved brains before removing them #morethanyouwantedtoknow
Me: So that makes the whole notion of zombies as mindless sort of not work. They'd have to know that in order to get a meal of brains, they'd have to preserve the skull. Otherwise, they're scraping gray matter off available surfaces.

No. I don't remember how we got on this topic when ostensibly we were critiquing the first chapter of my third book. I wonder if that bodes ill for that book? I don't even particularly care for zombie movies, though if the World War Z movie is made and is half as good as the audiobook was, I'll be right there. Yes, okay. I'll confess a fondness for the first Resident Evil movie, but I'll maintain that's an infatuation with the soundtrack (and the "You're all going to die down here" Red Queen) as opposed to the whole zombie trope. I appreciate the social commentary that zombie stories represent. Regardless, it had never occurred to me that I might end up writing a zombie story. But I find the moment once I start asking questions that intrigue me, questions like 'what sort of selection pressure would zombie predation place on the human race' I'm doomed. I have to write about it. I have to play with the idea on paper. Or in pixals as the case may be. So how about it? Do you suppose zombies hunger indiscriminately for brains? Or are they capable of detecting and appreciating the nuances of texture and flavor that accummulated knowledge might represent and then hunting specifically for the brain type they crave? How does that impact the few human survivors and the dwindling generations that follow them? Don't be shy. This is for pseudo-science!


  1. Are we limited to Zombie humans? 'Cause zombie squirrels could theoretically unite, invade through the attic vents, and -- using their skills as nutcrackers -- feast as a colony on the unsuspecting couple sound asleep in bed. If each household contains an average of 2 adults, 2.5 children, and at least one pet, a metropolis could feed a single colony for what... a year?

  2. I don't get it - what about this makes us Geeks?

  3. Sine I was the one asking the idiot question in the first place, I suspect only I am painted with the geek brush. Though I fear you may be tainted by association. Oo. Zombie *squirrel* No. It's too horrifying to contemplate. There'd be no selection pressure, we'd all just be horribly, messily dead. Or undead.

  4. What is the RDA for zombies? I suppose brains are rich in iron and protein...hmmmm