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Why Zombies Are Real

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Frank Swain is the author of How To Make A Zombie: The Real Life (and Death) Science of Reanimation and Mind Control ($15.95, Oneworld)

You see them every day, these zombies; they're all around you.

They shamble across the cinema screen on broken limbs and snatch at girls with long blonde hair. In the closeness of your home they explode in satisfying blossoms of rotting flesh at the flick of a trigger. Their scabby hands reach out at you with stiff cardboard fingers from the comic book display stand. When you walk home at night, you catch them in silhouette, stumbling through the shadows, confused, drunk, and lost.

They sit slack-faced opposite you on the bus, their will ground away by the constant rasping of the parasites buried deep in their skulls. And as you walked in duty-free sandals over the soft ground of the tropics, did you not stop to see the quiet graves where infant wasps lay spring-loaded in the chests of their comatose prey?

Wait, you think you know what a zombie looks like? Sure, you think you do. You've seen the movies, and committed their model organisms to memory. But I'm not talking about fictional zombies. This is a book about what happens to the zombie when it crawls off the page and out of the screen and into our world, the really real world. What must a zombie do to make that journey? Could we hijack another person's body and compel it to follow our every command? Could we die and come back again?

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