Tip of the Quill: A Journal

Yesterday Warren Ellis made a cool blog post consisting of an image by Dennis Culver: a zombie astronaut, stranded on an asteroid in space, its helmet shattered and its air cord severed, with a bewildered look on its decaying face and uttering a plaintive “Brains?” It’s a great story-image for all kinds of reasons. Zombies in space! A zombie antihero trying desperately to get off that rock! A zombie retelling of The Little Prince!
Of course, my warped brain went somewhere else completely first, which was something I’d been grappling with for a while – why do zombies want to eat brains?
(Okay, ‘grappling with’ is a bit of a stretch. Wondering, then.)
I think zombies are the cultural result of people wondering what happens to their bodies after they die. Scientists will explain in gorey, gooey detail how the body breaks down and decomposes, but for those that believe in a soul that takes the elevator up or down following the big ta-da, there’s a kind of worry there. When my spirit leaves my body, what happens? Is that corpse still me? Is my body me, or a vehicle that the real me just uses to get around?
What if zombies seek out brains because of a kind of Phantom Limb Syndrome, because the body somehow remains living but still seeks the part that’s been removed – the soul, or mind? Which is, of course, the brain?
Worse, what if spirits suffer from Phantom Everything Syndrome? Can a ghost itch a noncorporeal leg? What if hell is being eternally hungry but unable to eat? What if a medium can’t go grocery shopping because every time she walks into the supermarket she’s haunted by thousands of hungry spirits, pawing uselessly at the food on the shelves?

One Comment