Space Zombies

This past week, I watched the series Captain Herlock: The Endless Odyssey with my daughters. For those not familiar with the character, Captain Herlock is a space pirate whose primary objective is living a free life. His name is most often translated as Harlock—I gather in Japanese the “her” and “har” sounds are made with the same characters. His name is always pronounced as “Harlock.”

harlock

In this story, an entity called the Noo, which came into existence during the first hellish milliseconds of the Big Bang has found a portal to our time, and plans to use the Earth in a plot to break free and assert control over the universe. The Noo is essentially fear incarnate and it kills the first four scientists who discover it and possesses their bodies, essentially using the bodies as its slaves.

noo

These zombies are in some sense your classic slow moving, shambling variety with some important differences. Controlled by the Noo, they are wicked smart. They are also powerful zombies, who control a space vessel and guns capable of wiping out a fleet of spaceships. If smart zombies with guns don’t scare you enough, they can control you at a distance through your fear. I like these zombies because at some level, they go back to the roots of zombie lore, and are essentially slaves, yet they have some differences that make them as fresh as rotting zombie corpses can be.

Also, related to recent science news, the zombies used Pluto as a base for a while. It was interesting to see how the animators viewed Pluto and its moon Charon. Although they didn’t make direct reference to it, Pluto has greater significance in creator Leiji Matsumoto’s science fictional universe. In Galaxy Express 999 Pluto is the planet where humans who upload their minds into machines leave their bodies in cold storage. It strikes me these bodies could have been ripe vessels for Noo!

Unfortunately, finding all the DVDs of The Endless Odyssey is quite difficult in the United States. Volume 1 isn’t too difficult to find, but the rest are only intermittently available and often for over $100 per 3-episode DVD. Fortunately, the series is available to watch on YouTube. Hopefully, the owners will release a new edition at some point!

Zombiefied 3 low res

What’s not difficult to find are good zombie stories in the United States. Two great anthologies are Zombiefied: An Anthology of All Things Zombie and Zombiefied: Hazardous Materials. You’ll find a story by me in each along with stories by such authors as Lyn McConchie, Cynthia Ward, David Boop, Dayton Ward, and Rie Sheridan Rose.

Also, thinking of places known for zombies, I’ve added a countdown to the sidebar. I’ll be signing my Scarlet Order vampire novels at Boutique du Vampyre in New Orleans on August 22 from 3 to 6pm. If you live in New Orleans or will be visiting the Big Easy that weekend, please drop by. I’d love to meet you!

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