Plague Town Pandemic Tour: Stop 5 ‘Romance during a Zombocalypse (or: To Snog or Not to Snog)’

Geek Syndicate are the fifth stop on the ‘Plague Town Pandemic Tour’.

Collect the fifth word hidden in CAPS at the end of this article by Dana Fredstis along with a sequence of eight others on blogs and websites outlined in the link below; tweet the sentence you’ve discovered to @TitanBooks and @zhadi1 with #PlagueTown before April 23rd.

Romance during a Zombocalypse (or: To Snog or Not to Snog)

I have noticed reoccurring plot devices in books and stories written about apocalyptic scenarios, with or without zombies:

  • Biker gangs all about the looting and the raping and the gratuitous violence
  • At least one, if not more, totally batshit crazy religious fundamentalist who wants to use the zombies as weapons against the ungodly blasphemers who refuse to follow his (not to be sexist, but Crazy Fundie is almost always male) batshit crazy ideology or sleep with him because that’s part of his particular holy sacrament.
  • Warlords with manifestos (everyone ALWAYS has a manifesto in these situations) and harems collected from the survivors.
  • Military gone bad and suddenly all about the looting and the raping and the gratuitous violence.

Are we seeing a theme here, boys and girls?

I’m talking about violence, a lot of it focusing on rape and what amounts to sexual slavery.  And yeah, given the base nature of a lot of humans, there will no doubt be a certain amount of this going on after the dead rise and civilization goes fubar (and if I run across any of these warlords/fundie perverts/biker gangs, I’ll be shooting first and asking questions later).  But it boggles my mind that there are people who think that relationships/sex/romance would just stop during a long term post apocalyptic situation. What about all the couples who already exist when things go to hell?  Most of them are going to be looking after one another, clinging even harder to one another to have some sense of normalcy in a world gone mad.  Seriously, not everyone is gonna go all “Let’s go a rapin’, boys!”

Now I don’t want to come across like I’m picking on people who really just don’t want to see sex or romance in a book.  It’s not for everyone and I get that. And there are also certainly moments and circumstances more inappropriate (and counter to any survival instinct in the world) for sexual relations during a zombie outbreak.

For instance, one of my favorite films Zombie Flesh Eaters (zombie versus shark!) has one of the downright worst choices as far as timing and location for a make-out session ever.  Our hero and heroine, along with another couple, are on the run from zombies after catching them in the middle of a meal, and they decide to stop for a rest and a quick snog in the middle of a cemetery.  An ancient conquistador (pronounced “conkweestador” by the know-it-all secondary hero) burial ground, to be precise.  So was anyone really surprised when rotting hands burst through the ground and grab our idiot heroine by her hair? (More importantly, did the cinematographer really have to give us so many close-ups of the inside of her nostrils?) She and the hero (a poverty-stricken man’s Michael Cain) deserve to get eaten then and there, but they manage to escape. The other gal ends up being chomped instead and she’d cast nary a lustful glance at anyone, even her boyfriend. There’s just no justice. But this is a scenario in which anything beyond “If we ever get out of this, wanna have dinner?” shows a lack of survival instinct worthy of mention in the Darwin Awards.

On the other hand, take the original Dawn of the Dead. Our four heroes are holed up in the mall, pretty much safe (until those pesky biker raiders show up) from the chaos outside. Fran and Stephen still have their relationship (hell, Peter cooks them a romantic candlelight dinner, fer crissake), albeit one affected by the crisis. I find it interesting that when Stephen proposes to her, Fran is the one to deny the validity of a formalized partnership when she rejects his engagement ring with the words “It wouldn’t be real.” This, of course, affects Stephen’s ability to get it up (I love how Romero told so much with one shot of the two of them in bed, Fran sitting up looking straight ahead, Stephen lying down, looking mournfully off to the side).  My point, you ask?  They have a relationship in the midst of chaos, and all the ups and downs that go with it. Sure, he acts like an idiot and gets himself killed (and makes one of the best zombies ever), but that’s not the point now, is it?

Let’s also remember that sex is a great way to alleviate stress, and stress kills as many people (if not more) than zombies each year! Maybe if Stephen hadn’t gone all impotent after Fran turned down his proposal, he’d have been more mellow when the raiders turned up and not gone all alpha “this is ours… we took it!” and started a war he couldn’t win. See?  Sex is a good thing.

This is not, btw, an endorsement for rapine, you biker/raider/fundie pervs out there…

Bottom line, I have to believe some people would be desperate to achieve something to hope for in an apocalyptic scenario, someone to care about and make it worth the hardships that they have to go through in order to just survive.  I personally would choose to invest in a relationship that gives some meaning in a world where there’s no longer any meaning.  And while I wouldn’t stop to make out in a graveyard while being chased by flesh-eating ghouls, I’d fight that much harder to survive and protect those I love.


For full details of the tour and terms and conditions visit:

Plague Town by Dana Fredsti is published by Titan Books, 20th April, £7.99.

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  1. Thanks for hosting this stop on the tour!

  2. I think the biker/rapin’ scenario is, how to put? Both a fulfillment of a fantasy that’s transgressive and also protective: guys getting to save their women.

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