Why I love The Walking Dead

I recently finished watching The Walking Dead. I have only seen the original series, and I have not watched the spin-offs. I may watch some of the new spin-offs and limited series coming out in 2023. Watching the final episodes inspired me to write this post.

On the surface, The Walking Dead appears to many to simply be a television show about zombies. Yes, it is a horror show, replete with gore and guts–it is about zombies after all. However, at its core, it’s about so much more than that.

The Walking Dead starts as a humans-against-the-dead show. Our heroes are fighting for their lives against flesh-eating zombies. But what happens when the dead aren’t the only threat? As civilization crumbles and a cure for the virus seems impossible, the biggest threat to people becomes not the zombies but other people. There is darkness everywhere and some must rise above the others to bear this burden.

“Darkness is heavy. Some of us carry more than others because we’re strong enough to hold the weight.”

Ezekiel, S11E15

Given a cataclysmic, world-altering event, what happens to humanity? Do we band together to face the problem, or do we turn on each other? This is the set-up for The Walking Dead, and how the show moves from a horror show about zombies to a show about zombies that is also about what it means to be human.

Time and time again, we see our gang work towards building the world back up again. They strive to create families, communities, and a peaceful, safe place to live in a world filled increasingly with danger.

And time and time again, they come up against evil. Sometimes it’s lurking within their group, and other times it comes from the outside. Other people are jealous of what they have created and seek to steal or destroy it. Resources are a commodity, and food is often scarce.

They must choose how to live. They must make life-or-death decisions and often choose who lives and dies. Do they show mercy to those who have wronged them? Or do they seek vengeance?

“My mercy prevails over my wrath.”

Rick, S8E16

How do you rebuild society with the ever present threat posed by the walking dead? How do you deal with the people who choose not to integrate into society, who choose only themselves?

The characters in The Walking Dead aren’t perfect. They make mistakes. And sometimes, people die because of those mistakes. I’d hate to be in their shoes. They live in a bleak world and have incredible burdens to bear. And yet they continue to push forth, to fight for their lives, and the lives of others. They continue to show us what it means to be human, and what it means to fight for our humanity.

“We can do more than just save ourselves.”

Aaron, S11E24

I won’t go so far as to say this is the best show on TV. However, it touches on many very emotional topics and storylines. Some character arcs are disappointing, and some that are entirely unexpected. It’s about survival, love, mercy, revenge, and forgiveness, and as I’ve mentioned, above all, it’s about the humanity in all of us.

I came for the zombies, but I stayed for the people.

“Though we are not bonded by blood, we are family.”

Ezekiel, S11E24

Day 37 – A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

I recently finished listening to this book. A post-apocalyptic journey about — you guessed it — a boy and his dog. Gris, our main character and narrator, tells the story of his adventures by writing in a diary/journal. He says he’s writing this for “you”, a boy he found an ancient picture of, who looks exactly like him.

Without giving away too much of the plot, Gris lives in a world where technology is dead. Most of humanity is dead. Gris and his family live alone, on a small island. Gris has been told no one lives on the mainland (USA) anymore, every died and it’s not safe there. Something happened that made reproduction uncommon, and even the dogs rarely give birth.

When a strange man comes to trade with the family, Gris ends up going on a very unexpected adventure. What follows is a story about loyalty, hope, survival, and belief in yourself. In the end, no matter what kind of world we live in, always value kindness.

Right around the same time I started this book, I also came across a movie “A Boy and His Dog” which is also a post-apocalypse story about a boy and his dog. The movie was terrible and I turned it off. The book was quite enjoyable with a few interesting twists.

Don’t watch that movie, it sucked. The book, however, comes highly recommended by me!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

This is the third, and final, novel in the Divergent Trilogy. All in all, I really enjoyed the trilogy and am looking forward to the movie early next year.

This was probably my least favorite book of the three. The main reason for this is due to the change in POV. The first two books are all told by Tris. In Allegiant, Roth chose to alternate between Tris and Four/Tobias. It could have worked, however, it was poorly executed. From the beginning, I had to pay close attention to the name at the start of each chapter (which is where the point of view shifts). Again and again, I found myself confused. The narrative voice was always the same and it was virtually impossible to tell if it was a Tris chapter or a Four chapter. I would find myself searching for little clues or jumping back the chapter start to check. As you might imagine, this was very annoying.

Along with the new part-time narration by Four, we get a peak inside his head. Well, intentional or not, Four comes off whiny, weak, and a bit of a mess. How we see him through his own voice is quite a bit different from how we’ve seen him in the past through Tris.

There are also some revelations in this one that made me less than happy. The plot moves some of our main characters out of the city and into the outside world. This was all fins, but then it gets into some science-y stuff that just didn’t make sense, and goes off on a tangent. There is little in Allegiant about the factions or the city, and that was disappointed.

Now, having said all that, I did like it!  I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more novels by Veronica Roth.

3 out of 5 stars.

book review: Wool #1-8

Wool by Hugh Howey

My rating: 4.5 / 5

Wool was originally published as a standalone short story, but fans insisted on more.  It was then kept up as a serial novel, with short installments over time.  Parts 1-5 comprise the Silo Saga, and 6-8 make up the Shift Trilogy.  The final installment, Dust, is currently being written.

I’ve had Wool #1 on my Kindle for awhile, I downloaded it because it was free and never really got around to reading it.  Once I read it (it’s only 56 pages), I immediately purchased the omnibus edition that contains parts 1-5.  I read through all of the Silo Saga and the Shift Trilogy in 12 days, and loved all of it.

Wool tells the story of a civilization living underground, in a silo, 150 levels beneath the Earth’s surface.  On a view screen at the top level, people dining in the cafeteria can see the ruins of the planet.  Desolate, dusty, and toxic, the surface is uninhabitable.  Inside the silo, generations have lived, obeying the laws and regulations designed to keep them safe. Designed to keep them inside.

I can’t really say much more without giving away a lot of the plot twists that happen starting at the end of part 1.  Let it suffice to say that this has been a very interesting serial novel / series, and I am eagerly awaiting the conclusion.