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Monday, February 20, 2012

Deadspin: The Making Of “Homer At The Bat”

How big was this episode:

On Feb. 20, 1992, more American homes tuned into The Simpsons than they did The Cosby Show or the Winter Olympics from Albertville, France. A foul-mouthed cartoon on a fourth-place network bested the Huxtables and the world’s best amateur athletes. Fox over NBC and CBS—its first-ever victory in prime time. New over old.

And how were the players who were on the show:

Showrunner Al Jean has said the players who committed were more than happy to do the show. Well, almost of all of them. “They were all really nice,” Jean said on the DVD commentary, “except for one whose name rhymes with Manseco.”

Mark S. is bored Posted: February 20, 2012 at 08:30 PM | 1075 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: television

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   401. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 23, 2012 at 09:01 AM (#4066822)
Season 1 of Rome is one of the best seasons of television ever. The friendship of Pullo and Vorenus is really remarkably handled and believable. THIRTEEN!
   402. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 23, 2012 at 09:04 AM (#4066823)
If I recall properly when I stopped watching his most notable recent activities were stabbing someone through the throat for cheating at dice then attempting to slaughter everyone the man was with followed by helping torture and kill a man for sleeping with his friend's wife... but yeah, he was indeed the most likeable character. Mark Antony didn't figure into the first five episodes much so I can't say much about him. It was clearly a well made show but even a dark, violent political drama needs to have characters you can care about(see Game of Thrones.)


I like Caesar's slave, Posca - always on hand with a wry witticism. And Attia of the Julia was kind of awesome in her unstoppability and absolute refusal to be outshone. Really, I think a lot of the secondary characters have fun characteristics without overstaying their welcome - Cicero and Cato give the Senate a great deal of character, and get some good lines in. The town cryer is a great running joke, too.

It did take me quite a few episodes to get hooked, but once Julius Caesar is in Rome and out-manipulating everyone, I find it really became "can't look away" TV.

Robert Harris' books 'Lustrum' and 'Imperium' are fun page-turners for those who find themselves missing 'Rome'. I haven't read 'Pompeii' yet.
   403. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 23, 2012 at 09:04 AM (#4066824)
You know what show I can't stand? Spartacus. It's not that there's no room in my heart for a shameless carnival of sex and violence, but the horrible sets and cheesy CGI fake backgrounds in every seen just destroy any sense of authenticity the show might have. That, and the dialogue is hilariously bad. I know people that love it, though (my gay Uncle for one).

The prequel mini-series (Gods of the Arena) was a bit of an improvement over the regular season 1.
   404. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 23, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4066825)
Town cryer is a great running joke, too.

The guild of millers use only the finest flour! True Roman Bread, for True Romans!
   405. Dale Sams Posted: February 23, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4066826)
Re: The Walking Dead:

If you get a mass panic and everyone abandons the citys...say, everyone loses contact with a major city like Atlanta and suddenly there's rumors of an impending nuclear attack...then you're going to lose the power grid and you may as well have EMPed yourself. Except the cars work. *Then* you're going to start getting a lot of zombies. Zombies overwhelming the military? Yeah, that's not going to happen. But I don't think it would take too long for the military to fall apart.

But what about the rest of the world?

And FFS people stop posturing in your short-sleeve shirts. DRESS for a zombie apocalypse. Cover up.
   406. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 23, 2012 at 09:09 AM (#4066828)
Oh, and Niobe from Rome is one of the most beautiful women who ever lived.
   407. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 23, 2012 at 09:14 AM (#4066834)
While we are at it, can we talk about how god ####### awful Season 2 of Downton Abbey was? The finale was good and a bit of a redemption, but my god, I haven't seen that many sensational, melodramatic, and inconceivable plot Twists since I spent a season watching General Hospital with my wife once.
   408. Richard Posted: February 23, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4066838)
I agree re inconceivable plot twists in series 2 of Downton Abbey, though oddly enough one of the plot strands was extremely similar to something that happened to one of my great-grandparents when they were in service in a house in Northern England during WW1...
   409. Blubaldo Jimenez (OMJ) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4066839)
The Venture Brothers episode where Dr. Venture teaches dean how to be a mad scientist by making him listen to progressive rock albums is sublime.

Also, The Tick.
   410. McCoy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4066864)
The new actor for Spartacus doesn't really work for me. He seems way too urban and metrosexual for me. Season 1 of Spartacus started off incredibly cheesy and bad but it found its groove and became a good show with an interesting storyline. The prequels were good but season 2 with a new Spartacus just hasn't captured the magic like the older ones did.


As for Zombies I'm not sure what good EMPing yourself would do to stave off the zombie horde nor am I sure why the military would fall apart quickly. People are going to abandon an organized and heavily armed group of soldiers for what exactly?

But, yeah, I've always been ticked at how cavalier the characters on The Walking Dead dress or really any turn into a zombie through a scratch or bite movie where the characters as little clothing as possible. That simply isn't going to happen.
   411. zonk Posted: February 23, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4066869)

I have a weakness for postapocalyptic zombie horror so I'm very probably overrating the series. Still, I'm enjoying it enormously, and was delighted that AMC contracted for 16 more episodes.


Ditto - I have a weakness for postapocalyptic films and novels in general... probably my favorite subgenre within sci-fi if you don't consider it a genre unto itself.

As for the zombie = warp drive -- not sure I agree... It seems to me in most of the media involving zombie apocalypse -- the big problem is that it's not just the "dead", but also the 'bitten'... So - all you need are ample number of the frightened, but not self-sacrificing types to get into the quarantine areas, then things spiral out of control.

If I were President during a zombie apocalypse, I can tell you that I'd go about trying to contain it entirely differently than the way they seem to go about it in most films and books... Trying to deal with urban areas would be a fool's errand -- rather than trying to set up quarantines IN the cities or trying to herd survivors TOWARDS the cities, I'd instead be boxing the cities up and setting up my labs, camps, etc in sparsely populated areas. If it's survival of the species we're talking about - I want an areas where there aren't millions of potential zombies...
   412. McCoy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4066875)
So - all you need are ample number of the frightened, but not self-sacrificing types to get into the quarantine areas, then things spiral out of control.


But again this assumes that people basically do nothing except get bit and get turned into a zombie. People fight back, people hide, people prepare. Zombies are mindless bags with teeth. They don't really coordinate, they don't plan, they don't have tactics. They are less of a problem then snakes or cougars or scorpions.
   413. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 23, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4066887)
The problem that always strikes me about zombie movies, is that infected victims make really poor zombies, after their brains have been eaten. It's kind of tough to spread, when the only means of infection is going to result in the victim being devoured.
   414. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4066894)
Fer crissakes, I already said that in the "Walking Dead" universe you do not need to be bitten to become a zombie - everyone who dies from any cause gets reanimated!
   415. Dale Sams Posted: February 23, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4066895)
But again this assumes that people basically do nothing except get bit and get turned into a zombie. People fight back, people hide, people prepare. Zombies are mindless bags with teeth. They don't really coordinate, they don't plan, they don't have tactics. They are less of a problem then snakes or cougars or scorpions.


Yup. If I were trying to make it back to my hometown, once I got in...it would be the survivalists and Charlton Heston types I'd worry the most about.

As for Zombies I'm not sure what good EMPing yourself would do to stave off the zombie horde nor am I sure why the military would fall apart quickly


No, I was saying that if the power grid fails because everyone abandoned the cities, then America has effectively EMPed itself and huge amounts of people will start dying after not too long. The military has to eat too. I think it would just fall apart into regional commanders looting for their troops, commandeering farms..etc..they'd call themselves military, but I have a hard time seeing any kind of central command sticking together.
   416. McCoy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4066896)
And you think this is important because? As I said before about 155,000 people a day all around the world.

You don't think the 5 or so people around a dying person can handle one recently turned zombie?
   417. McCoy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4066899)


No, I was saying that if the power grid fails because everyone abandoned the cities, then America has effectively EMPed itself and huge amounts of people will start dying after not too long. The military has to eat too. I think it would just fall apart into regional commanders looting for their troops, commandeering farms..etc..they'd call themselves military, but I have a hard time seeing any kind of central command sticking together.


To get to this stage basically everything would have had to have failed. I just don't see how many men with guns is going to lose and lose so badly that it would get to that point. The ratio of soldier death to zombie death is going to be astronomical and even citizen death to zombie death is going to be high.
   418. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4066908)
You don't think the 5 or so people around a dying person can handle one recently turned zombie?


Without any of them getting bitten in the process? Most days, I don't trust the four random people closest to me enough to assume that they can walk and chew gum at the same time. Not to mention a scenario like one person in a home dying and then re-animating while all the others are asleep, followed by the conversion of everyone else in the home into other zombies, and then the whole group spilling out on the first person unlucky enough to open the front door...

It's possible that first-world countries would be able to handle the zombie menace, but I'm not convinced that third-world ones would... which would become a problem for the first-world countries once the oil stopped flowing or the rare earth minerals stopped showing up. Infrastructure would start breaking down, and you might even see a land war between first-world powers over the right to raid decimated third-world countries for necessary resources.
   419. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: February 23, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4066911)
Question I had the other day: has there been a property where some are naturally (or otherwise) immune to zombie-ism? Seems like you could milk that for something, even as it detracts from some of the symbolism.

Fer crissakes, I already said that in the "Walking Dead" universe you do not need to be bitten to become a zombie - everyone who dies from any cause gets reanimated!

I don't watch the show (well, an ep or two) and don't read graphic novels - but that's a stronger choice.

GSoaT is Arrested Development for me, by some measure.

I'm with Vlad's 418.
   420. Dale Sams Posted: February 23, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4066915)
Once the power grid goes down, we're talking about a nation-wide Katrina. With zombies...who I think we've mostly agreed, are kind of the least of the problem.

I haven't read the comic or seen the show, but I'm guessing "The Walking Dead" isn't referring to the zombies.

...but again, I agree your typical George Romero situation isn't happening. It would be like the end of "Night of the Living Dead" where guys are walking around killing shamblers for sport. If they can find any. It's not like there are vast amounts of dead people lying around unburied.

I'm opening a business for abandoned hospital hunting trips now.


Now in a situation where zombies are fast and can move 10 frames per second, I'm shitting my pants.
   421. Graham Posted: February 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4066922)
#395

Well done.
   422. Nasty Nate Posted: February 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4066924)
You guys have touched upon the small problem I had with the book World War Z. If the zombies get you, they consume you, so no new zombies are created unless they bite but you get away. So the book has these millions (or billions?) of zombies that somehow all were in the scenario of being trapped enough to be bit by a zombie but not trapped so much that they couldn't escape. The book is all about logistics etc so it was a little disappointing that they didn't explain the most important logistic. Although it didn't keep me from enjoying the book.

I haven't read the comic or seen the show, but I'm guessing "The Walking Dead" isn't referring to the zombies.


bad guess
   423. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 23, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4066932)
Speaking of dystopias (go with it), I just re-read John Wyndham's 'The Kraken Wakes', which was apparently published in the US as 'Out of the Deep'. Great book.
   424. Dale Sams Posted: February 23, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4066941)
This book was very good as far as plague/dystopias go.

"The Last American", or "The Last Canadian" or "Death Wind"
   425. Gamingboy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4066964)
I remember somebody pointing out the problem with Zombies is that biting is a horrible way to spread disease. You don't see every animal in America walking around dying from rabies, do you?
   426. zonk Posted: February 23, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4066971)
But again this assumes that people basically do nothing except get bit and get turned into a zombie. People fight back, people hide, people prepare. Zombies are mindless bags with teeth. They don't really coordinate, they don't plan, they don't have tactics. They are less of a problem then snakes or cougars or scorpions.




Yup. If I were trying to make it back to my hometown, once I got in...it would be the survivalists and Charlton Heston types I'd worry the most about.


That feeds the problem -- I think it's part and parcel of the zombie apocalypse "plausability"... most films/movies have these limited viewpoints (a very good college prof I took a close read of Tolstoy's War & Peace had a nice little lecture about the limits of broad stories -- i.e., you're inevitably stuck with a limited set of people upon whom the world depends running through a hallway).

In a broader context -- you'd have a government trying to keep some semblance of order. This is going to mean some inevitable conflicts.

You're going to have a criminal element, a survivalist element, and a "the world's ending, let's go nuts" element causing problems.

The mindlessness of the zombie works for them -- the non-infected society is simply not going to be able to function intelligently or in consort. You're going to have families where mom and dad aren't going to just 'give up' a bitten child, etc. You're going to have people gumming up the works.
   427. zonk Posted: February 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4066974)
This book was very good as far as plague/dystopias go.

"The Last American", or "The Last Canadian" or "Death Wind"

Speaking of dystopias (go with it), I just re-read John Wyndham's 'The Kraken Wakes', which was apparently published in the US as 'Out of the Deep'. Great book.



Thanks for the suggestions -- both are now queued for me...

   428. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4066982)
You don't think the 5 or so people around a dying person can handle one recently turned zombie?


It's the recently turned ones who are the worst to deal with. Your best bet in looking for a zombie to handle is to find one who's pretty well decomposed, they aren't quite so peppy when their muscles are slowly liquefying.
   429. Booey Posted: February 23, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4066984)
Ditto - I have a weakness for postapocalyptic films and novels in general... probably my favorite subgenre within sci-fi if you don't consider it a genre unto itself.

Same here. Anyone have any good recommendations for zombie or postapocalyptic books I should check out? Preferably something written in the last 20 years or so with lots of action, since older novels tend to be a little slower paced and I've admittedly got a pretty short attention span when it comes to reading.
   430. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4066989)
In a broader context -- you'd have a government trying to keep some semblance of order. This is going to mean some inevitable conflicts.

You're going to have a criminal element, a survivalist element, and a "the world's ending, let's go nuts" element causing problems.


And everyone who gets killed joins Team Zombie. Just in terms of population dynamics humanity will be fighting rear-guard battles indefinitely.

And it could be even worse depending on what the official response it. What if President Santorum's position is that the role of unseeable agents of infection causing disease is just a theory and that he subscribes to an alternate theory, "Intelligent infection" which emphasizes the biblical nature of the plague and orders massive prayer intervention while sending the CDC virologists to bible camp for training?
   431. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4066990)
Anyone have any good recommendations for zombie or postapocalyptic books I should check out?


I assume you've already read "The Road"?
   432. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 23, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4066991)
Anyone have any good recommendations for zombie or postapocalyptic books I should check out?


I'm not 100% on board with Larry Niven's politics, but 'Lucifer's Hammer' is a pretty good read. Probably more than 20 years old by now, though. No zombies, but cannibals, so . . . apprentice zombies?
   433. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4067002)

And you think this is important because? As I said before about 155,000 people a day all around the world.


That's a huge number. 58 million a year. And they need not all zombify instantly.

Let's say three years worth of dead zombify at one time. That's 150 million zombies. Now, let's say 10% of the world's population react to seeing their loved ones rise from the grave by thinking it's the Last Judgment or a miracle and run to hug their family member. That's 700 million additional zombies.

So 850 million zombies in a week or so.
   434. zonk Posted: February 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4067010)

And it could be even worse depending on what the official response it. What if President Santorum's position is that the role of unseeable agents of infection causing disease is just a theory and that he subscribes to an alternate theory, "Intelligent infection" which emphasizes the biblical nature of the plague and orders massive prayer intervention while sending the CDC virologists to bible camp for training?


President Anyone, really --

In the case of zombie apocalypse, you'd find me going the full Nieporent pretty darn quickly...

   435. zonk Posted: February 23, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4067022)
I'd concur on Lucifer's Hammer being entertaining enough -- it's a technocratic post-meteor strike novel, but it's solid enough (though mildly dated).

The Road is also excellent.

They're dated, but my two favorites of all time are Earth Abides (rather dated, but still quite good... may be more slow than you'd like) and Canticle for Liebowitz.

If it's post-post apocalypse -- (i.e., "civilization" long after the apocalypse... think Thundarr the Barbarian) -- I really like some of Jack McDevitt's stuff... Eternity Road is probably my favorite.

I'd also recommend this collection of short stories -- again -- it's more "post-post apocalypse" -- but there are some really excellent tales. I kindled it for 8 bucks last year - well worth it.

I think The Postman is much, much better than the Costner vehicle portrays it as...

I just bought this one -- The Old and the Wasteland -- for a buck... haven't started it yet, but it's gotten glowing Amazon reviews.
   436. Dale Sams Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4067025)
Heinlein's "The Puppet Masters" moves along at a brisk pace and is enjoyable for its fanboy solutions. The slugs hide under people's garments? Clothes are illegal!
   437. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4067029)
Let's say three years worth of dead zombify at one time. That's 150 million zombies.

WTF is the mechanism that a dead mostly decomposed body that's six feet under gets reanimated? Not to mention much of the work cremates their dead.

it's the Last Judgment

Well, that's the only freaking scenario where the dead get reanimated. No virus or bacteria or any natural cause can do that.

Honestly, I think the zombie thing is a cop out to avolid having to show people as the "bad guys" in a post-apocalyptic society.
   438. Dale Sams Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4067031)
I'd also recommend this collection of short stories -- again -- it's more "post-post apocalypse


I have Catastrophes!

The Last Man on Earth

Armageddons

and The End of the World

All are short story books.
   439. Booey Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4067032)
I assume you've already read "The Road"?

Nope. Who's the author? (I'm at work so my research abilities are limited at the moment)
   440. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4067033)
Well, that's the only freaking scenario where the dead get reanimated. No virus or bacteria or any natural cause can do that.


"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
   441. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4067036)
Nope. Who's the author? (I'm at work so my research abilities are limited at the moment)


Cormac McCarthy.

I'm not a fan, on the whole, but he does have some talent.
   442. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4067037)
WTF is the mechanism that a dead mostly decomposed body that's six feet under gets reanimated?


Trioxin, IIRC.
   443. veer bender Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4067042)
the problem with Zombies is that biting is a horrible way to spread disease.


Is it generally understood that zombiism is caused by some sort of natural, biological pathogen? I'm not very familiar with the zombie genre, but I always kind of thought of them as just a type of undead, and basically magical. Not the deal with zombie genre movies?
   444. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4067044)
I'm not a fan, on the whole, but he does have some talent.

Babe Ruth had some talent, too.
   445. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4067047)
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Yeah, but a pathogen isn't an "advanced technology".
   446. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4067048)
It could be.
   447. veer bender Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4067051)
445, 446 - I think I get it now. It's a biological pathogen, but not a natural one, i.e. not a product of natural selection? Evil mad scientist takes the place of evil wizard from my AD&D fantasy viewpoint of zombies as just one variety of undead.
   448. Conor Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4067054)
Wanted to echo the love for the Arrested Development finale. (Though I guess pretty much of all of the episodes were great).

Especially for someone like me, who watched the series on DVD and saw the episodes close together, I thought the final was incredible. Mirrored the pilot in so many ways, great ending with the Ron Howard cameo. What a show.
   449. CrosbyBird Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4067055)
But again this assumes that people basically do nothing except get bit and get turned into a zombie. People fight back, people hide, people prepare. Zombies are mindless bags with teeth. They don't really coordinate, they don't plan, they don't have tactics. They are less of a problem then snakes or cougars or scorpions.

You're leaving out the biggest problem (and one that's addressed in Walking Dead but not so much in most movies): these zombies are walking around in human bodies, and you might well think the zombie is sick rather than dead. That means many people will be reluctant to kill the zombies, especially early on. Even if you know intellectually that your girlfriend, your neighbor, your father, or your child is dead, it still would be very difficult to bring yourself to hack at the body until it drops.

Not to mention that the zombies are fairly tough to kill, especially if you don't have a gun. Not in the sense that they're shrewd fighters, but in the sense that you basically have to destroy their brains or decapitate them. Most people lack hand-to-hand combat skills.

The other thing is denial. It might take a few months for reality to set in. There's a story about a crazy guy biting people in Minnesota. Say you're lucky enough to live in the next town over so you actually hear the story. Do you run out and buy shotguns and canned food? How long does it take humanity to realize that this is really what's happening?

I think you're considering a world where people are combat-trained, callous to the difficulty of killing things that walk in human bodies, and aware of the problem very early on. I think we'd win, eventually, but if the initial outbreak and first few transmissions happen in the right place, it's easy to see this becoming a serious problem.
   450. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4067065)
in the sense that you basically have to destroy their brains or decapitate them

Why does this stop them if they're dead? Isn't the "pathogen" controlling their movements?
   451. CrosbyBird Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4067075)
Why does this stop them if they're dead? Isn't the "pathogen" controlling their movements?

I'm just going on what the traditional lore says about killing zombies. The thing about most zombie movies is that they never really explain the science behind zombification, and it's almost certainly a good move.

If you're wondering how he eats and breathes, and other science facts, the repeat to yourself "it's just a show, I should really just relax."
   452. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4067102)
Isn't the "pathogen" controlling their movements?


Most zombie fiction that relies on a pathogen has the pathogen "piggybacking" on the body's nervous system somehow. Which is also why fully skeletonized bodies aren't still walking around.

It's a biological pathogen, but not a natural one, i.e. not a product of natural selection?


Sometimes. Stories where it's the result of some unknown chemical contaminant or radiation are also fairly common. As are ones where it's a natural mutation of an existing pathogen. Or sometimes they never offer a real explanation of any sort, and just go for an immersive experience.
   453. zenbitz Posted: February 23, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4067192)
original zombies are necromantic/voodoo magic.
Night of the Living Dead (1968+) series are "Radiation from Venus"
Return of the Living Dead (80s) was chemical spill.

The above generally allow REANIMATION of long dead tissue...which obviously has some "real world" engineering difficulties.

"Modern" zombies (WWZ/28 Days Later, etc - not sure what the first instance was) are "viral" zombies.

WWZ/Zombie Survival Handbook violates the 1st law of thermodynamics by stating that zombies don't digest what they eat. So what powers them? Photosynthesis?

"Viral" zombies - that only infect living organisms - are the most believable, but when you get down to brass tacks (as above) they are actually not that threatening (although if the virus had a nice 8-12 hour incubation/infectious period with no symptoms, was air/fluid transmitted as well then it would be a generic super flu with extra groaning and head shots)



   454. zenbitz Posted: February 23, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4067197)
All the PA classics have been mentioned here... oh except Stephen King's The Stand.

There are a bunch of PK Dick stories as well, but there titles all run into one another... Deus Irae (with Robert Zelanzy) and the Penultimate Truth for sure. These are probably not what you would call action packed though.

The Heinlein PA book is "Farnham's Freehold". Puppet Masters is just your basic Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
The "Dies the Fire" series is popular, although I started it in the middle by accident and it fell kinda flat for me. There is a Harry Turtledove book about cross-dimension travelers where they go to a cool PA Los Angeles world but cannot remember the name.

Tying it all together - I read Plague Year / Plague War / Plague zone about a rogue nanotech virus that kills every warm blooded creature on earth ... below 10,000' elevation. The first two are quite good.

The first line of Plague Year is "We ate Jorgensen first."


The third was highly disappointing... suffice to say I wonder if the author devised the whole series to come up with a "plausible" zombie apocalypse (minor spoiler).
   455. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: February 23, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4067212)
"Viral" zombies - that only infect living organisms - are the most believable, but when you get down to brass tacks (as above) they are actually not that threatening (although if the virus had a nice 8-12 hour incubation/infectious period with no symptoms, was air/fluid transmitted as well then it would be a generic super flu with extra groaning and head shots)


Yeah, a really terrifying option would be something like a deadlier version of the 1918 flu that zombifies, say, 75% of its victims. You've got an airborne virus killing people left and right, those it kills reanimate as soon as they die and they can then spread the disease by the traditional biting method. This allows for the overwhelming of the various infrastructures of civilization, with a huge chunk of the population zombifying all at once, all around the world, starting with the cities with close air connections to ground zero. Then there's also the ethical angle -- you're with a sick person, there's a 75% chance that sick person will zombifiy and a 25% chance that he'll recover. Do you put him down in advance of death and risk killing an innocent, or do you let the disease run its course and risk there being a ravening zombie in front of you?
   456. zonk Posted: February 23, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4067214)
All the PA classics have been mentioned here... oh except Stephen King's The Stand.


The Stand is, I think, a bit underrated -- not that it isn't well-known, didn't have a mega-miniseries made of it, sold well, et al -- I think it's a cut above standard King fare (not that I sneer at King - I just think there are aspects normally a bit lacking, like character development, which are fairly good in the Stand).

I started the Dies the Fire series, but yeah - it sorta fell flat for me, too. I'm just not sure I like the characters all that much - too much absolute for me.
   457. zonk Posted: February 23, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4067216)

Yeah, a really terrifying option would be something like a deadlier version of the 1918 flu that zombifies, say, 75% of its victims. You've got an airborne virus killing people left and right, those it kills reanimate as soon as they die and they can then spread the disease by the traditional biting method. This allows for the overwhelming of the various infrastructures of civilization, with a huge chunk of the population zombifying all at once, all around the world, starting with the cities with close air connections to ground zero. Then there's also the ethical angle -- you're with a sick person, there's a 75% chance that sick person will zombifiy and a 25% chance that he'll recover. Do you put him down in advance of death and risk killing an innocent, or do you let the disease run its course and risk there being a ravening zombie in front of you?


I Am Legend.

The book is better than both films -- and both films aren't half-bad.
   458. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4067233)
WWZ/Zombie Survival Handbook violates the 1st law of thermodynamics by stating that zombies don't digest what they eat. So what powers them?


Prayer?

I Am Legend.

The book is better than both films -- and both films aren't half-bad.


Three films - it's the basis for "The Last Man on Earth", "The Omega Man", and the Will Smith film from 2007.

Of the three, I think the first is the best. It preceded Night of the Living Dead, and it's very interesting to compare the two.
   459. Shredder Posted: February 23, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4067242)
OK, I know I'm revisiting a couple pages ago, but I just landed in this thread. Have we really had this long of a discussion about Archer and no one has even so much as brought up the genius of Archer creator Adam Reed's "Frisky Dingo"? I really don't think they could have taken it beyond its two seasons, but good lord, those were two most consistently hilarious seasons of animated comedy I've ever seen.
   460. Booey Posted: February 23, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4067245)
All the PA classics have been mentioned here... oh except Stephen King's The Stand.

The Stand is, I think, a bit underrated


Agreed. Probably my all time favorite book, and one of my top ten or so favorite movies. I think this book (and movie/mini-series) is what got me into the whole post-apocalyptic genre to begin with and it's always going to be my standard bearer until I read/see something better.
   461. Something Other Posted: February 23, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4067252)
Question I had the other day: has there been a property where some are naturally (or otherwise) immune to zombie-ism? Seems like you could milk that for something, even as it detracts from some of the symbolism.
What would this accomplish, though, wrt creating an interesting narrative? A lot of the dying comes from being torn to pieces, so merely not reanimating might not take a plot very far.

The unheralded Autumn, a slow moving (no pun intended), chamber piece of a zombie film that's worth staying with has its zombies slowly evolving, becoming more and more lethal as weeks go by. That's underexplored turf in a well-worn genre. It's remarkable to me how few well-done zombie movies there are. Probably no more than a dozen, with maybe two dozen more of varying degrees of interest.





   462. STEAGLES is all out of bubblegum Posted: February 23, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4067253)
Fer crissakes, I already said that in the "Walking Dead" universe you do not need to be bitten to become a zombie - everyone who dies from any cause gets reanimated!
it's interesting how that's gone unspoken in the TV series. there was the couple on the farm in the first season that put a shotgun to their mouths, and they did not come back as walkers.

but in season 2, there was a woman who hung herself in the forest, and who came back to life as a walker. her legs were devoured, so maybe she turned because of that, but i hadn't noticed that it was just that anyone who dies, for any reason, came back as one.

   463. Zach Posted: February 23, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4067258)
Feed, by Mira Grant, does a great job of setting up a post-zombie society. Her angle is that people have learned to deal with the epidemic by being hypervigilant and blood testing anyone who wants to, say, enter a building after being outside. She does a good job of setting up the ground rules so that the zombies are both surviveable as a low-level hazard and a constant threat to cause an outbreak if people let down their guard.
   464. Something Other Posted: February 23, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4067259)
I haven't read the comic or seen the show, but I'm guessing "The Walking Dead" isn't referring to the zombies.

bad guess
Good guess, iirc. Doesn't Rick in the comic say that flat out: "We're the walking dead!"?

Honestly, I think the zombie thing is a cop out to avolid having to show people as the "bad guys" in a post-apocalyptic society.

Hang on--a lot of the best zombie fiction addresses exactly that. The survivors in The Walking Dead ARE the walking dead. There's a constant struggle to not turn into a vile, selfish killer concerned only with ones own survival. Survivors are routinely painted as the bad guys, or well on their way to becoming the bad guys.

In the case of zombie apocalypse, you'd find me going the full Nieporent pretty darn quickly...
I don't think restraining orders against Patient Zero are likely to help much...

edit: Anyone still playing that zombie mmorg? It was free, easy to sign up for, not terrifically interesting but a lot of it had to do with moving through cities represented in two dimensions, gathering supplies, fending off the horde, finding places to hole up in at night.... can't remember its name. It had possibilities.
   465. Something Other Posted: February 23, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4067260)
it's interesting how that's gone unspoken in the TV series. there was the couple on the farm in the first season that put a shotgun to their mouths, and they did not come back as walkers.

but in season 2, there was a woman who hung herself in the forest, and who came back to life as a walker. her legs were devoured, so maybe she turned because of that, but i hadn't noticed that it was just that anyone who dies, for any reason, came back as one.
A shotgun in the mouth presumably kills the brain, so that's covered. A hanging, though, leaves the brain intact, hence the suicide's remaining "alive". Love how Daryl bartered with Andrea (?) to shoot it through the head.
   466. Booey Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4067264)
Feed, by Mira Grant, does a great job of setting up a post-zombie society.

As does Shaun of the Dead, which if I remember correctly shows the remaining zombies being rounded up and used for entertainment purposes, like gameshow competitions. :)
   467. PreservedFish Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4067266)
Cormac McCarthy.

I'm not a fan, on the whole, but he does have some talent.


I just thought this was hilarious. Can anyone name a more talented living writer?
   468. Dale Sams Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4067267)
The Stand


And before we all started going..."Ahh...Flagg again??"
   469. Dale Sams Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4067268)
Of the three, I think the first is the best. It preceded Night of the Living Dead, and it's very interesting to compare the two.


The Omega Man in one of my all-time faves for the soundtrack, Heston-badassery and because no come-uppance for the bad guy. (Other than what will naturally occur)
   470. Booey Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4067270)
I just thought this was hilarious. Can anyone name a more talented living writer?

Stephenie Meyer? :p

Haven't read the books, but was dragged to each movie and as a result have lost almost all interest in anything vampire or werewolf related.
   471. BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4067271)
Great thread. I will bookmark it so I can come back once I'va caught up on the Walking Dead
   472. Something Other Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4067273)
The Stand is, I think, a bit underrated -- not that it isn't well-known, didn't have a mega-miniseries made of it, sold well, et al -- I think it's a cut above standard King fare (not that I sneer at King - I just think there are aspects normally a bit lacking, like character development, which are fairly good in the Stand).
I remember it being a very good read. The guilty pleasure in the Lit department I was in when it came out.

The uncut version was considerably weaker, though, iirc. Two hundred more pages featuring an ugly, uninteresting character? King's strength isn't concision, so when you let him run even more amok than usual wrt length, the work truly suffers.
   473. Gamingboy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4067275)
I have a feeling that the next big "monster" (it went Vampires, then Zombies...) will be the good old-fashioned Japanese-style giant monster, or Kaiju. I mean, Guillermo Del Toro is making a Kaiju movie, Legendary Films is working on a Godzilla reboot (one where, SHOCK! It's actually Godzilla and not just some big iguana that stole his name). And with the increase in natural disasters and worries about the safety of nuclear power plants when hit by said disasters in the past few years... it draws to one conclusion: giant. monsters.

If there was a stock market on when archtypes grab the zeitgeist of Hollywood, I'd put lots of money on Kaiju right now.
   474. zonk Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4067280)

Hang on--a lot of the best zombie fiction addresses exactly that. The survivors in The Walking Dead ARE the walking dead. There's a constant struggle to not turn into a vile, selfish killer concerned only with ones own survival. Survivors are routinely painted as the bad guys, or well on their way to becoming the bad guys.


We're them. They're us and we're them.

I remember it being a very good read. The guilty pleasure in the Lit department I was in when it came out.


I remember in college having an argument with a professor that Stephen King was the Charles Dickens of the late 20th century... and I think I actually at minimum, got him to admit that I might be right.
   475. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4067283)
Can anyone name a more talented living writer?


Sure, lots. Salman Rushdie. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Gunter Grass. J.M. Coetzee. Haruki Murakami.

Were you expecting that to be difficult?
   476. Dale Sams Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4067285)
They already did Cloverfield....which is a huge rip-off of what MNS said Signs was originaly going to be. A Godzilla film as seen from eye-level. This idea was years before Cloverfield. I'm surprised I never heard anything. I guess you can't copywrite an idea you threw out in a Premiere Magazine interview, but still.

By the way, anyone read the story about how hurt he was to be turned down by his usual studio for Lady in the Water? This was before the film was released, and the angle of the story was to engender a little sympathy for MNS, but after reading it, I agreed 100% with the studio. "Why do you need 100 million to tell this film? And you're casting yourself in a non-minor role?"
   477. Shredder Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4067286)
but in season 2, there was a woman who hung herself in the forest, and who came back to life as a walker. her legs were devoured, so maybe she turned because of that, but i hadn't noticed that it was just that anyone who dies, for any reason, came back as one.
Was it ever explained exactly who had eaten her (I thought it was a him) legs off? I suppose it could have been forest critters, but that doesn't make much sense, as the body seemed too high up for anything but tree dwellers, who would have eaten the whole thing. And it couldn't have been other zombies, because they apparently don't feed on one another. Maybe they ate her legs after she hung herself, but before she re-animated.

By the way, Cracked did a pretty good job of explaining why a zombie apocalypse would most likely fail miserably.
   478. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4067288)
edit: Anyone still playing that zombie mmorg? It was free, easy to sign up for, not terrifically interesting but a lot of it had to do with moving through cities represented in two dimensions, gathering supplies, fending off the horde, finding places to hole up in at night.... can't remember its name. It had possibilities.


Urban Dead.
   479. Gamingboy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4067291)
Gaiman?
   480. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4067292)
They already did Cloverfield....which is a huge rip-off of what MNS said Signs was originaly going to be.


If he had the chance to make that kind of movie, and decided to do something else instead, then how is Cloverfield a rip-off?

I'm glad that he took a pass - Cloverfield's much better than anything Shyamalan seems capable of doing at this point in his career.
   481. Dale Sams Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4067295)
I should have said 'very similar'.
   482. PreservedFish Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4067297)
Sure, lots. Salman Rushdie. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Gunter Grass. J.M. Coetzee. Haruki Murakami.


Hmm. I think I'll take McCarthy above all of them. Rushdie is probably just as good, but, some of his stuff is terrible. And I don't really feel comfortable ranking the non-English writers - how am I supposed to judge Murakami's prose?

Regardless, I still think that characterizing McCarthy as a writer of "some talent" is kind of hilarious.
   483. zonk Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:42 PM (#4067298)

As does Shaun of the Dead, which if I remember correctly shows the remaining zombies being rounded up and used for entertainment purposes, like gameshow competitions. :)


Shaun of the Dead is an absolutely genius film.
   484. Yonder Alonso in misguided trousers (cardinal) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4067299)
459-- I should've thought of Frisky Dingo. It too is fantastic. A few of the running jokes from there have turned up in Archer already.

Apparently, the third season of Frisky Dingo (had Adult Swim or whoever ordered it) would have dealt with Killface's home planet.
   485. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:44 PM (#4067300)
Hmm. I think I'll take McCarthy above all of them.


That's your prerogative, of course. Leaves more stuff that I actually enjoy for me.
   486. McCoy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4067304)
So 850 million zombies in a week or so.

Which is only possible if somehow nobody kills a zombie and the zombies are able to infect these people in such a way that leaves the newly infected still mobile enough to pose a threat to someone else.


150 million people spread out over the entire globe is still not a lot of people. That is about 6.8 million Americans and that comes out to less than 2 zombies per square mile in America.

Our largest city, NYC, would have about 179,000 zombies from the initial outbreak from a population over 8 million.

150 million is something like 2% of the world population and that 2% would be mindless slow moving bags with teeth. The ratio human deaths to zombie deaths is going to favor heavily humans.


As for Katrina type event you have to remember that Katrina was a storm that caused a great deal of impediments that a zombie outbreak would not cause and in terms of restoring order we were most certainly hesitant to call in air strikes and bring the .50 caliber machines guns to kill looters.

Remember the scene in The Walking Dead where the military is bombing and strafing Atlanta and yet somehow that failed. I don't buy it.
   487. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4067305)
If you like post-apocalypse fiction, "Blindness" by Jose Saramago is a very interesting (and unusual) read.
   488. Gamingboy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4067309)
In zombie universes, everyone has the gun accuracy of Imperial Stormtroopers.
   489. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4067310)
As for Katrina type event you have to remember that Katrina was a storm that caused a great deal of impediments that a zombie outbreak would not cause...


How well-equipped do you think America is to deal with a cholera epidemic caused by a bunch of ambulatory dead people (or animals - who knows?) stumbling into rural water supplies and rotting while they flail around on the bottom?
   490. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:53 PM (#4067311)
In zombie universes, everyone has the gun accuracy of Imperial Stormtroopers.


To balance it out, though, in zombie universes guns and bullets don't weigh anything.
   491. McCoy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4067315)

You're leaving out the biggest problem (and one that's addressed in Walking Dead but not so much in most movies): these zombies are walking around in human bodies, and you might well think the zombie is sick rather than dead. That means many people will be reluctant to kill the zombies, especially early on. Even if you know intellectually that your girlfriend, your neighbor, your father, or your child is dead, it still would be very difficult to bring yourself to hack at the body until it drops.


Human beings are very good at rounding up human beings. These mindless bags that are aimlessly roaming around the planet and attacking human beings would not be allowed to continue doing that unmolested for long. I can believe and see that in the beginning it won't be a kill on sight sort of thing but you can still easily round them up and house them.


Not to mention that the zombies are fairly tough to kill, especially if you don't have a gun. Not in the sense that they're shrewd fighters, but in the sense that you basically have to destroy their brains or decapitate them. Most people lack hand-to-hand combat skills.


But you don't need hand to hand combat skills. Zombies don't fight you. Think Shawn of the Dead here. Anybody strong enough to hold a stick, axe, golf club, or whatever can fight a zombie. I will say that most Zombie movies and books and such make killing zombies way too easy. Hitting someone with a baseball bat in the face doesn't automatically kill them and since a zombie needs a ton more damage than simply breaking bones to stop they shouldn't drop from a s.ingle hit or strike

The other thing is denial. It might take a few months for reality to set in. There's a story about a crazy guy biting people in Minnesota. Say you're lucky enough to live in the next town over so you actually hear the story. Do you run out and buy shotguns and canned food? How long does it take humanity to realize that this is really what's happening?

We don't live in 1820 anymore. Let us say some guy in Minnesota does get bit and goes on a rampage. The next town over is going to know about it, the rest of the state is going to know about it, the rest of the country is going to know about it, and the rest of the world is going to know about it. So if gets to the point where there is some kind of out of control horde forming there are local and state organizations that can be used to contain it or delay for awhile while the bigger and badder forces are brought to the bear. It isn't like you are going to wake up one day and suddenly a zombie horde from the next town over just shows up without any warning.
   492. Gamingboy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4067318)
A neat take on Zombies that hasn't been done has been the one about the original zombies: Heavily-drugged people in Haiti who are open to basically any suggestion. The fact that there has not been a story where somebody crop dusts a small town to turn them into Voodoo-style zombies and then orders them to go and cause trouble is one of the great failures of modern speculative fiction.

Hey, maybe I should write it.
   493. Zach Posted: February 23, 2012 at 06:01 PM (#4067320)
The ratio human deaths to zombie deaths is going to favor heavily humans.

The key ratio isn't human deaths to zombie deaths, it's the number of carriers an average zombie manages to infect before being killed. Less than one and the world ends up zombie free. Greater than one, apocalypse.

   494. McCoy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4067323)
The key ratio isn't human deaths to zombie deaths, it's the number of carriers an average zombie manages to infect before being killed. Less than one and the world ends up zombie free. Greater than one, apocalypse.


That is what I am arguing. I'm saying that unless you stack the deck heavily in favor of zombies they are not going to be able to kill and turn enough human beings to keep the zombie species going. Hell, look at practically every movie and everything written about zombies. In all of them the ratio of human to zombie death is usually something like 1 to 20 or higher. How many zombies you think Rick and the group have killed in less than year they have been on the road? How many people have they lost? 10? 15?
   495. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4067326)
In all of them the ratio of human to zombie death is usually something like 1 to 20 or higher. How many zombies you think Rick and the group have killed in less than year they have been on the road? How many people have they lost? 10? 15?


The necessary ratio isn't a constant - it depends on the number of humans that are still alive, since that's the limiting factor. And in most zombie movies, you don't see the entire arc of the progression. Just the bit at the end, where the zombies already have numbers on their side.
   496. McCoy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 06:16 PM (#4067336)
Just the bit at the end, where the zombies already have numbers on their side.

But that is the problem. Somehow these things have the numbers on their side yet they are extremely easy to kill and even the most useless survivor kills more than one of them before being brought down themselves. If a malnourished survivor with a baseball bat can kill 40 zombies before dying then a well trained solider acting in concert with dozens, thousands, millions of other soldiers should be able to kill hundreds before dying.



I saw the Crazies last month after having it for a few months. Didn't realize it was a zombie-like movie. For some reason I thought it was that movie about the rednecks who kidnap some family and eff with them a bunch. It was entertaining. It wasn't great but went along well and had Timothy Olyphant who can usually play an interesting character.
   497. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4067370)
Somehow these things have the numbers on their side yet they are extremely easy to kill and even the most useless survivor kills more than one of them before being brought down themselves.


The "most useless survivor" in that situation has already survived for several weeks (be it through skill or luck), because the story doesn't begin at the beginning. All the really useless people became zombie chow long before the story started.

For some reason I thought it was that movie about the rednecks who kidnap some family and eff with them a bunch.


That sounds more like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" to me. Or maybe "The Hills Have Eyes".
   498. McCoy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4067396)
The most useless survivors usually maker it because of luck. So they shouldn't have some inundate ability to kill zombies above what the typical Joe had at tthe beginning.

Also in the walking dead the population of at least se America is wiped out in about a week.
   499. Shock Posted: February 23, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4067420)
King's problem is always dialogue. If no character ever said anything he'd be fine; the dialogue always seems like it was written by a 14 year old.
   500. McCoy Posted: February 23, 2012 at 07:18 PM (#4067423)
edit: this is what happens when you type from a smartphone.

The most useless survivors usually make it because of luck. So they shouldn't have some innate ability to kill zombies above what the typical Joe had at the beginning of the outbreak.

Also in The Walking Dead the population of at least Southeast America is wiped out in about a week. It also appears that zombie infection was basically an infection that basically spread throughout all of America and probably at least all of North America. So on Day X some area of the country became infected and then when people started dying because of accidents and natural causes they turned into zombies. They then turned more people and people kept dying from natural causes to the point that the population of America is basically wiped out in a week or two. The reality is that on day X something like 7,000 Americans would die of natural causes and somehow those 7,000 zombies are supposed to then wipe out the rest of the population in a matter of days or a couple of weeks. Just not buying it.
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