I am hoping to get my zombie book written over the remainder of the summer holidays. I have written some 30,000 words of setting the scene but now it is coming on to interacting with the victims of the outbreak, I have a problem.
You see, I want my zombies to be realistic, to be scientifically viable. There are two general options:
Bodies and parts shut down
The first most common zombie idea is that the bodies are somehow running off energy which they do not derive from the bodies, and the organs are useless. However, they still desire to eat human flesh, even though they can apparently survive with most of their body parts missing. Generally, they need a blow to the head.
This is thoroughly problematic. In watching the 4th series or whichever of The Walking Dead, you wonder how these zombies are still alive and kicking after so long. The Law of Conservation of Energy means that there needs to be some input of energy into the system for these things to keep expending kinetic, sound and probably heat into the wider, more open system. Would these zombies not also dessicate in the heat and open air without a consistent intake of fluid (water?)? Why do these zombies still crave human flesh if they have no bodily, digestive need for it? If they do have this need, then slicing their stomachs open will surely eventually kill them…
My conclusion is that this type of zombie is not at all viable when you look a little more closely.
Bodies still need feeding
So this version of the zombie seems more probably viable. The brain is shut down, and the body changes physically as a result of the virus or whatever. The craving of human flesh ifs for a reason: these creatures need that type of sustenance. OK, fine. But then they need all of the body parts to make that work. OK, so how about they can feel no pain, so such creatures can go way past what humans would be able to because they feel no pain etc, and will attack continually in the short term. But they would bleed to death, and having their stomachs cut open will kill them eventually. Essentially, they have lungs because they need to breathe. This renders them just very nasty humans.
There is perhaps scope here for the bodies to eventually fight back the virus; to have some type of development over the series of books of some kind of hybrid…
What I would like from readers here is an account of how the virus might work, and what the outcome would be for the victim. Please!