What is it about?

This paper advances a detailed reading of Max Brooks' 'World War Z' which outlines how contemporary zombie fiction addresses issues of medical ethics and spare-part surgery as well as environmental concerns. The paper argues that, far from being a crude form of populist horror, zombie fiction interrogates the contemporary world in a thoughtful and provocative manner.

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Why is it important?

This is a new reading of the zombie genre, and concentrates less upon spectacle and more upon implication. It is the first specifically ecoGothic reading of Brooks' 'World War Z', and further imbricates Gothic scholarship with the medical humanities.


This article represents the fruit of several years of undergraduate teaching in contemporary Gothic, and has been revised and changed in response to the valued responses tendered by many of my students. As one of the pioneers of academic ecoGothic, I hope that the piece will provoke other scholars into a reconsideration of zombie fiction as a form very much entangled with the politics and ethics of the present day.

Professor William Hughes
University of Macau

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: ‘The evil of our collective soul’: Zombies, medical capitalism and environmental apocalypse, Horror Studies, March 2021, Intellect,
DOI: 10.1386/host_00026_1.
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