How Do They Survive? (The Zombie Conundrum)
March 8, 2012
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I think a lot; about both normal things and abnormal things (I’ll let you decide which sphere I spend the majority of my time in) and this one thing has been bothering me for quite a while. It’s a two-part philosophy that has been part of zombie fiction for as long as it’s been around:
If the only way to kill a zombie is to destroy its brain and zombies eat brains to “survive” – how does the zombie population grow exponentially?
Naturally, zombie fiction has evolved over the years but there is this one standing backbone to the whole genre. I just have this one question that I struggle to answer. We all know that somewhere along the line, the Zombocalypse brings all the dead back and the only thing they want to do is munch on the living. We all know the rules and hopefully we have our apocalypse kit prepared, but how are zombies managing to multiply so rapidly if their only sustenance is the very thing which, if destroyed, will kill them?
Obviously I’m not talking about the first Alpha Generation zombies; the ones that first clawed their way out of the ground or leapt off the ER tables or rose from whichever version of death they had been stricken with. I’m talking about the Beta to Omega Generations – those who have been attacked and turned. If lore is to be taken seriously the Alphas would have eaten their brains, therefore destroying the new zombie before it could even draw un-breath and thus logically, leaving fewer cadavers with the opportunity of joining the undead horde.
Of course, we have the casualties of survivor groups to consider and as everyone knows there are always a few of those. The scratches or bites in non-lethal areas that cause the victim to slowly succumb to the call of the grave and leave the group with the (generally) unpleasant task of dispatching what used to be their lover, best friend or some similar human with whom they’ve nurtured an emotional bond. However, as we all know, groups of survivors are often small, barely numbering more than 10 and in the instances where the group is large, they’re typically well-prepared and fortified.
And so I am left wondering how the zombie population reaches overwhelming proportions. The original idea of zombies lusting after brains logically means that the Alpha Generation would have to form the majority of the population, which is feasible due to the size of the World’s population. However in all the movies I’ve seen – especially recently, characters are having to kill loved ones and neighbours and it just makes me wonder how that’s happening when the two fundamental components of the genre appear to cancel each other out.
Have I missed something here? I know there are a number of zombie experts out there (as a werewolf guy myself I make no claim to know anything about zombies) so if I’ve overlooked a vital piece of information then please let me know – I’d hate to be less than totally prepared!