Off to Boskone

I’m heading to Boston, there to geek out for the next three days. I’ll most likely update between now and Sunday, but then again, I might not. I’m just contrary that way. In the meantime, you kids have fun. I didn’t lock the liquor cabinet this time. But that doesn’t mean I want to come back and find the place a mess, all right?

Okay, then.

Open thread. Today’s topic to get you started, via Justine Larbalestier: Unicorns or Zombies? Please explain your choice and defend it from all comers.

61 Comments on “Off to Boskone”

  1. What are we talking here? Zombie or Unicorn as a friend? Invasion? Lunch? Regis Philbin’s replacement?

    I need more to go on.


  2. I gotta go with Justine, zombies are that much better. You know, unicorns may have a point, but that doesn’t make their prose that much better. But then that takes us to a discussion of blurb zombies.

  3. Brains! Furry pokey thing brains! Brains!

    (Sorry, just got to channeling The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore, and The Zombie Survival Guide, and World War Z – both by Max Brooks. King’s high-tech zombies in Cell didn’t lurch enough for my taste, though. The ones in Terry Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment do, I think, even if it is only a bit part.

    They’d all eat unicorns for breakfast, though.)

  4. KevinQ:

    “I need more to go on.”

    What, I have to do everything? You set the conditions and context. More fun that way.

  5. Y’know, zombies get all the good press, with the rampaging and the brain-eating and flesh-rending and so on. While unicorns get shafted, with the rainbows and the grassy meadows and the burbling brooks.

    But think about it. How fast does a zombie move? How fast does a horse move? Now imagine that speed bearing down on you, led by a razor-sharp tine, backed by half a ton of steaming-mad unicorn.

    You can run from a zombie. With a unicorn… welcome to kebab-ville.

  6. I’ve gotte believe that a unicorn tastes better than a zombie. Now, I’m assuming we’re taking about human zombies here, because a cow zombie might be pretty tasty; essentially you’re getting beef aged on the hoof.

  7. The Unicorn stabs the zombie through the brain with its horn. Then it rips off the head with a mighty shrug of its neck and shoulders. Then it tramples the zombie dead. Then the other zombies eat it. Of course, any unicorn worth its salt would let Zombie Patrick Henry ride it, provide the unicorn got a writ of no eating before hand.

    I’ll see you folks at Boskone as long as my kids fever goes down. We’re at 100.8 and holding. SO much for me going down today.

  8. Unicorns all the way. Several reasons to prefer them to zombies:

    1. They take care of their, ahem, business in the forest or countryside, instead of decomposing slowly all over your furniture, on streetcorners, etc.

    2. If you bond with them, they’ll defend you better than a Labrador retriever. Total loyalty, plus a certain degree of magical toughness, plus you can ride them away from danger, and they run like the wind. Waaaay faster than zombies can lurch.

    3. If you approach a unicorn calmly, talk to it softly, and stroke it gently, you can just see the spark of intelligence in its eyes. Do the same thing with zombies, and they eat your brains.

    4. Unicorns don’t try to game the electoral system, whereas the zombie lobby — sheesh. You thought Big Oil was bad . . .

    5. A final plus for unicorns: good eatin’!

  9. ZOMBIES! “Night of the Living Dead” left permanent psychic scars on me in childhood. Vincent Price in “The Last Man on Earth” and even Heston’s “Omega Man” caused me to want to hoard food and weapons at age 10, just in case. “World War Z” was brilliant. “Shawn of the Dead” entertaining. “28 Days Later” mesmerized me and the remake of “Dawn of the Dead” a couple of years ago left me jumpy for days. And thanks to my friend Jim, the only comic book I read on a regular basis is “The Walking Dead.”

    Unicorns? Just prissy horses with keratin bling. They mince about in lame cartoons, or for some reason sound like whales in “Blade Runner.”

    I’d eat the unicorn, use leather strips from its hide for the grips of my guns, and when the bullets run out, stab the zombies with its horn.

    And let’s not forget your Intramural Zombie Hunter T-shirt:

  10. Unicorns, because I can’t imagine roasting Zombie flesh over a campsite and enjoying the result, no matter how many secret herbs and spices went into the special sauce.

  11. Some years ago I posited Ziegler’s Zombie Hypothesis: There is no entertainment product that cannot be improved by the addition of zombies.

    This post prompts me to hypothesize that there is no entertainment product that cannot be made more ridiculous by the addition of unicorns.

    So I think it comes down to whether one is looking for entertainment quality vs. ridiculosity. I know where I stand.

  12. Unfortunately, both zombies and unicorns are out to get us. The zombies shamble along dripping parts. The unicorns collect the droppings and then take them to local collection centers for pennies per pound.

    And where do the parts show up next? White Castle burgers!!!!!!!

    White Castle is zombie dross! And unicorns made it happen!

  13. Contrary to my last post, one has only to think of why there has never been a movie made called “The Last Zombie” to answer this question.

    Now, if unicorns are teh ghey, what are zombies? Butch? Because I suspect zombies are duovorous or bivorous. They’ll eat anything with brainz.

  14. How is this a contest? Unicorns, full stop.
    [long draw on pipe]
    As stated, your traditional zombie is slow, dull-witted and indiscriminate. Moreover, they’re common, and spread rapidly in numbers and are un-aesthetic. The Wal-Mart of monsters, if you will.
    Are there any tapestries of zombies? Absurd.
    As also stated, unicorns get a bad rap, but you can put that down to head culture in the ’70s and tween culture in the ’80s and ’90s (weird how often those overlap, huh?). Unicorns are rare, powerful, beautiful and get virgins. Zombie-kababs, indeed.
    [tamps pipe and adjusts ascot]
    Please, continue.

  15. Okay, to add to the ridiculous, and just because Jeff Hentosz missed the point, if you think you’re going to be best buds with a unicorn, or ride majestically on their backs, I just have one word for you; virgin. Zombies aren’t so picky about their friends, they’re good people and very democratic and they drink beer. Unicorns, on the other hand, have their noses in the air about anybody whose gotten past second base in their lives. Plus they only drink fine wines and snub those with wine in a box. Elitist, I say.

  16. Definately zombies! At least with zombies you know where you stand. They want to eat you, either the brain or the whole thing. Zombies are slower, so their easier to get away from. Plus, zombies can be effectively dispatched with common gardening implements and some household tools.

    Unicorns are shifty. Who knows where they stand on the issues? They’re always disappearing in the forest and leaving magical road apples. And then if they ever let a human touch them (i.e. Legend, the only Tom Cruise movie worth watching) then the whole neighborhood goes to hell in a handbasket and you have to deal with a rather wicked Tim Curry.

    Finally, as evidenced by Shawn of the Dead, zombies can be put to use performing manual labor and staring in game shows. Although I’m sure the activists would get involved at some point and mess the latter up for the rest of us.

  17. I should say Jeff said unicorns get all the virgins, I meant to disagree and say only virgins get unicorns. I didn’t mean my earlier post to sound the way it does, reflecting on it half an hour later. Sorry, Jeff. I didn’t mean it that way.

  18. Harumph. Be that as it may, Steve, the very thought of zombies being democratic is what frosts my pumpkin. [charges ahead, willfully ignoring the small “d.”] Democrats would make terrible zombies. We can’t get together on squat. There is a reason a certain subset of our culture is nicknamed “Dittoheads,” you know. Democratic zombies wouldn’t eat unless their victims tripped, fell and knocked themselves out in front of them.
    And elitist? What’s more elitist than a zombie? Mr. Ultimate Predator. “Oooh, everyone has to be food for me, King Turd of Shit Mountain.” “Rare” doesn’t equate to “elitist,” my friend.
    As for the virgins: not “all.” I never meant “Steve Carell” virgins; I meant willowy, Arthur Rackham, dragon-licking-its-chops virgins. Big difference.

  19. Zombies, baby. Which is cooler? The unholy legions of the night, or some prissy prig of a horse with abnormal bone growth coming out of its snout?

    And virgins? Gimme a break.

  20. Like others mentioned, if you make a movie with zombified unicorns…maybe attacking the local bead shop or 70’s novelty shop…I am so there!

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  22. Jeff Hentosz, Harumph, truly. You’re own pumpkins maybe frosty, but speaking as a Democrat, that we would not eat a brain if the “victims tripped, fell and knocked themselves out in front of” us has nothing to do with our organizational skills, but with a large percentage of the group yelling, “that’s not vegetarian,” and another group shouting, “but is it free range, organic brainz?” The resulting discussion and attempt to come to consensus over labeling regulations would drag so long and require so much outside testimony that the victim would have long recovered, finish an advanced degree and raised a family.

    But I must respectfully disagree and insist on Zombie Democritization. How different is a conference room full of Democrats and a conference room full of zombies if you turn the sound down, eh? Yes, truly, except for the organic hemp clothing on the Dems, you probably couldn’t tell the difference in the general melee.

    And I only meant “elitist” in the nicest way possible and only with their choice of wines and drinking companions, not in their “rareness”

    Although, I should admit here, I do like my unicorn medium-well, not rare.

    Let the furniture throwing begin!

  23. Jeff, I would think zombies are the complete opposite of elitist. The very fact that they eat anything they can get their decomposing hands on just means they aren’t finicky about trying new things. Just because they’re at the top of food chain doesn’t mean they flaunt it. Because zombies can be so vulnerable, they can’t afford to be elitist. It’s eat or be eaten.

    I’m still in favor of the zombies, but the problem with most zombies that you see is that they are a self-perpetuating problem. There are plenty of examples of zombies finally getting to their desired meal only to take a couple bites. This action just creates more zombies, which then creates more and more. You see how it goes. Eventually, you’re left with a world full of zombies with only one or two bites taken out of them and then it’s zombie eat zombie.

    In this case you get double zombies. Watch out for double zombies they’ll sneak up on you like a kinged checker.

  24. Jeff, Steve,

    This is gonna hurt me more than it does you, but if you two don’t cool it, I’m taking you both out behind the blog and givin’ you a whippin’ you won’t soon forget. You’re not too old for me to put over my knee.

    (And, no. We’re NOT talking about Gay Zombie Spanking Porn)

  25. Oh, John H, now I’m stuck with horrific images of groaning, shambling porn actresses in fumbling grope sessions working their way towards throwing each other over their knee and spanking away, with rotten flesh flying off with each swat.

    Oh, god. I just went vegan.

  26. Unicorns. All you guys are missing the ‘s’ on the end of the word. Just because zombies usually come in hordes (especially in the zombie porn), doesn’t mean that unicorns have to be by themselves.

    Formations of thundering unicorn cavalry will take out the zombie hordes without even slowing down. Until the zombies manage to stop the slow, shambling advance stuff, they’re just simple target practice. And their unfortunate habit of clustering in hordes just makes them easier to target.

    (Those images of the rainbows and dancing faries are just the 60’s flashbacks speaking.)

  27. While I think zombie unicorns would be a feasible compromise, I don’t think it’d actually work. Unicorns are a big symbol of purity, thus the virginity thing, the water purification, and I think there’s something about healing for some of them. Can a being so intrinsically connected with health and purity become a shambling corpse?
    Perhaps unicorns are the anti-zombie and can revivify them. I’d certainly expect a unicorn to be immune to all but the strictly physical effects of zombification. While the horde might eventually take one down, if they came upon it suddenly alone and there was no room to run or maneuver, there might even be effects from *biting* the unicorn.

    Another wrinkle: what if by ‘unicorn’ we mean ‘rhinoceros’?

  28. Man, I missed all the fun, comes from living 4 hours behind the rest of you. Don’t you people have jobs?

    I’m voting for Zombies: Because, you know, Tom Cruise has never, ever, starred in a zombie movie (he probably gets enough of that at “church”). And that’s as good an endorsement as there is. Crazy, couch-jumping, Scientologist dogma-spewing you-don’t-understand-the-history-of-psychology-and-I-do Zombies on Oprah (shudders) now there’s the real horror.

    And Zombies would make a great follow-up to the current “Caveman” Gieco commercials: So easy, a Zombie could do it…” See, you can’t do that with a Unicorn.

  29. Man, I missed all the fun, comes from living 4 hours behind the rest of you. Don’t you people have jobs?

    I’m voting for Zombies: Because, you know, Tom Cruise has never, ever, starred in a zombie movie (he probably gets enough of that at “church”). And that’s as good an endorsement as there is. Crazy, couch-jumping, Scientologist dogma-spewing you-don’t-understand-the-history-of-psychology-and-I-do Zombies on Oprah (shudders) now there’s the real horror.

    And Zombies would make a great follow-up to the current “Caveman” Gieco commercials: So easy, a Zombie could do it…” See, you can’t do that with a Unicorn.

  30. Until unicorns give me an excuse to hoard supplies and ammunition, live out my post-apocalyptic fantasies of survivalism, and brandish lawnmowers and chainsaws as deadly weapons, it’s gonna have to be zombies, for the win. Hands-down. Or just plain removed. Bloodily.

    Oh, and John H, isn’t Unicron kinda the Transformer zombie anyway? Pasty ‘skin’, bits falling off, relentlessly eats anything in its path, creepy unintelligible voice (courtesy of Orson Wells, no less). . .

  31. Zombies!
    At least they’re not airborne. Seagulls are bad enough – I wouldn’t like to even imagine trying to get…’unicorn’…off of my ultra-suede!
    Did I just say ultra-suede?? I think I may have given away a boatload of demagraphic info with that one term…

  32. What Chang said…..

    Minus kid with fever.
    Minus showing up in Boston.(4800 Miles away)

    I hope your kid feels better.
    And give my regards if you make it.

    The Sagan Diaries audio links are awsome!

  33. What happens when you ‘kill’ a zombie? Nothing. Just more zombies, and when did you ever see a zombie that could carry a tune (outside of a Michael Jackson video, that is)

    What happens when you kill a unicorn? Well, either Tim Curry all steamed up on hooves or Voldemort. What more argument do you need to join the UPS?

    Truthfully, though, the answer has to be ‘none of the above’. Werewolves.

  34. I think I’ll have to go with unicorns on this one.

    Look at it this way, who do you want on your side if your stuck in a dark alley? Even if you’re not a virgin, a unicorn might help you out just because they usually don’t like evil. But a zombie? If a zombie says, “I’ve got your back” it just means he’s after an appetizer before the main meal.

  35. I cast my vote for the dear, dear unicorns.

    I dream of a world where I am surrounded by unicorns. They will be looking on while I roast marshmallows by a roaring fire with the campfire girls. The campfire girls and I will be singing kumbayah, while the unicorns nicker contentedly.

    Try that with zombies, they’ll bite your arm off.

  36. Don’t forget that unicorns have Her Holiness, The Invisible Pink Unicorn on their side.

    That changes everything!

  37. Well, it seems to be well documented that you can kill zombies with a shotgun. If you can do that with unicorns too (and I don’t see why you couldn’t), I’ll call it a wash.

  38. What duct tape is to the Force, unicorns and zombies are to the universe.

    Unicorns have charm, spin, and vanilla. They’re the adorable essential particles that make up the visible universe, from planets to suns to nebulae (esp. that horse-headed one).

    Zombies are somber, shambling things with ginormous appetites. Obviously, they’re what dark matter and singularities are made of.

  39. So, anybody actually AT Boskone? And can they comment on the adventures of our beloved homeboy? Ohio, it seems so much darker with him gone.

    And, zombies, zombies, zombies. Unicorns can’t type, except one key at a time (and then they usually wreck the keyboard). How can they expect to blurb?

  40. Unicorns are sexy. You know, the whole horn in the virgin’s lap thing makes me blush. And I’m a girl, and most girls go through an infatuation with horses, and unicorns are horses with horns which allows the infatuation to continue on into puberty and beyond. How Freud is that?

    Zombies are cool. They give off that awesome post-apocalyptic vibe that allows you to wallow in attitude and angst as you’re being chased down like the meat you really are.

    Don’t think I can pick, being a child of the ’80’s where both tropes informed my emotional development.

  41. Uh, I was going to go down to Boskone, but then

    a) Mrs. Chang came down with the flu so bad I couldn’t in good conscience go. Fortunately iw as only an hour away from home. Groan. The killer thing is that when I canceled my hotel reservations I got ZERO money back. $212 down the can. Starwood Hotels, thou suckest.

    b) I got sick. SH*T!!! Good thing I didn’t go. Nothing like waking up in a $212 hotel room with a 100+ fever and nothing good to show for it.

    I am deeply, deeply upset. I was so psyched.

  42. Oh, and Hugh 57? I owe you and apology. I was a dink when I said I’d get Sclazicce to write something catty in a book. Wrong.

    Whatever mojo or voodo you are using is most powerful. I bow down to your internet voodoofu.

  43. Aw, Chang, that truly sucks, dude. I hope you feel better soon. Don’t forget to write down the hallucinations form the high fever, those will come in handy later.

  44. Steve, they weren’t that good, unfortunately. The fever seems to have broken and is holding at 98.6. Now I am just stuffy and achy. And enduring Air Buddies which at least has puppies. I appreciate the sentiment.

  45. All I can say is, thank ghod you didn’t take the same route at the same time as Cat Valente. She got stuck in PA.

  46. Oh, and Hugh 57? I owe you and apology. I was a dink when I said I’d get Sclazicce to write something catty in a book. Wrong.

    Whatever mojo or voodo you are using is most powerful. I bow down to your internet voodoofu.

    Sorry Chang, that was only meant as a bit of innocent playground teasing. I didn’t realize that there was any voodoofu involved, or that it could give a man the flu. I’ll try to be more careful in the future.

    Do get well, and I’ll have Scalzi write something nice about you in one of my book copies the next time I see him. :)

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