Halloween Highlight: “In the new zombie-infested world, former orders and systems of knowledge collapse …” – Andrea Wood

 

Cambria Press academic publisher
Unnatural Reproductions and Monstrosity: The Birth of the Monster in Literature, Film, and Media by Andrea Wood and Brandy Schillace

In Unnatural Reproductions and Monstrosity: The Birth of the Monster in Literature, Film, and Media Andrea Wood explained that “in the new zombie-infested world, former orders and systems of knowledge collapse and crumble overnight as survivors are left in a time and place where the familiar has become irreconcilably unfamiliar” while Jesse Stommel noted that “the zombie is not, in the main, an allegorical beast. Critics who get caught up in the zombie’s allegorical register are making what I see as a fatal error, turning away in the face of monstrosity, even as it shambles and plods incessantly closer.”

Brandy Schillace and Andrea Wood, coeditors of this unprecedented volume which covers zombies, vampires, and cyborgs, do not turn away because, as they put it, “monsters continue to fascinate—as well as to plague and haunt imaginations. The psychic landscape is peopled with them; the social fabric is woven of them. This persistent, paradoxical repulsion and fascination with monsters and the monstrous begins, however, with causation.”

The link between the monstrous and fears of reproduction are present from early modern narratives through nineteenth-century fears of degeneration, and into contemporary fascination with apocalyptic zombie films and science fiction narratives about genetic engineering, viral pandemics, and trans-species generation. While the incarnation of the monster manifests through different vehicles across these periods and texts, it is clear that, regardless of its form, anxiety is rooted in concerns over its fecundity—its ability to infect, to absorb, to replicate. This study expands the current discourse on the monstrous reproductive potential of bodies—as well as minds—and engages more directly with monstrous progeny, as well as with unnatural reproduction(s), which threaten to eclipse the future, cast uncertainty on the present, and reimagine the past.

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