Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kurt Vonnegut’s 1959 novel The Sirens of Titan employs the sixth type of zombie

Although I know nothing about zombies, the book Monsters and the Monstrous: Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil (2007), edited by Niall Scott, informs me that “Zombies in literature, film and culture fall into seven distinct categories or types”: the zombie ghost, the zombie ruse, the zombie drone, the zombie ghoul, the zombie channel, the tech zombie, and the cultural zombie.

Apparently, the sixth type of zombie, the “tech zombie,” finds employment in Kurt Vonnegut’s Hugo Award-nominated 1959 novel The Sirens of Titan. According to Monsters and the Monstrous, here is how Vonnegut describes the process of zombiefication:
Their memories were cleaned out by mental-health experts, and Martian surgeons installed radio antennas in their skulls in order that the recruits might be radio-controlled.

And then the recruits were given new names in the most haphazard fashion, and were assigned to the factories, the construction gangs, the administrative staff, or to the Army of Mars.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t own a copy of The Sirens of Titan, even though the cover is one of my favorites. If anyone owns the book, please consider posting a comment that enlarges the above excerpt so we can get a better look at these zombies. Thanks.

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