Still Can’t Brain Today

Man, some days are just like that. So in lieu of actual brain thought thingies, two notes and a totally deep thought.

* Over at Omnivoracious, Jeff VanderMeer interviews Bill Schafer, publisher at Subterranean Press. I get mentioned in passing, and the old cover of The God Engines gets shown off.

* Hey, you know where I’m going to be on Friday? Cleveland, that’s where. And what will I be doing there? I’ll be here, to see these guys. You should go too. Here’s where you can buy tickets.

* And now your totally deep thought: Are there such things as ghost zombies? Because if there are, like, whoa, man.

That’s all I got.

38 Comments on “Still Can’t Brain Today”

  1. R.W. Ridley – Richard W. Ridley is the author of 12 novels, for which he has received three Independent Publisher Book Awards and first place in a Writer's Digest International Publishing Competition. He has also earned semi-finalist honors in the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition for the screenplay version of Never Living, and he has been fortunate to have the opportunity to develop the story for the stage through the help of South of Broadway Theatre’s Second Sunday at Seven (SS7) workshop for playwrights and the Writer’s Workshop sponsored by the Culture, Arts & Pride Commission of the Town of Mount Pleasant. His short play Nonstop to Charleston was performed at South of Broadway’s PlayFest 2015. The stage version of Never Living was a finalist in What if? Productions’ 2015 Playwrights Festival, and was chosen for 5th Wall Productions Rough Draft Readings program. In addition to his pursuit of fame and fortune on the stage and in print, he’s worked in television and advertising in various under-compensated, yet highly rewarding roles. In an attempt to stay relevant in the internet age, he is a paid bi-weekly contributor to the CreateSpace community blog, and his pieces on writing and indie publishing make the occasional appearance in the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Newsletter. He publishes his novels under the pseudonyms R.W. Ridley, C. Hoyt Caldwell, and Jackson Goddard.
    R.W. Ridley

    Nah, zombies have to be corporeal. Kind of goes against the ghost-creed to be a physical being. You’re safe.

  2. Watch the gratuitous shower scene from SG:U episode 3 over and over until productivity returns. (Should only take about 10 minutes for a man your age…)

  3. Of course not. Zombies are just “hungry ghosts” formed when the hun and po souls separate after death. The actual corpses never animate – the hungry ghost must return to its body before daybreak or be destroyed.

  4. I dunno about your zombies, but according my my grandma, jumbies are all over the place. (And not quite “dead.”)

  5. No, there are no ghost zombies. If you could put a person’s ghost together with their zombie, you would have a living person again (for as long as you could keep them alive).

    Actually that assumes you can halt or destroy the animating principle of the zombie. Otherwise you have a spirit helplessly watching from inside as their body walks around doing terrible things, sort of like a Goa’uld.

    An animating principle is like a ghost, except that it’s transmissable by bite, usually material in some way, and has no autoeject for when the body is too damaged to meaningfully live—a nice feature designed into our ghosts, inconvenient as it is when you’ve just been shot through the heart and are reviewing all the things you’ve neglected up til that point. Honestly, folks, it’s a safety feature. See above under “spirit, watching from inside decaying body” only without the animation.

  6. Shambling animated corpses with no souls haunting the corporeal world. and/or colorless apparitions posessing little substance trying to devour what is left of the rational world.

    Sure, ghost zombies exist: they work for Fox News.

  7. thresholdlurker – Call Forth the Dweller Divination Effective Level: 6th Skill Check: Knowledge (arcana) DC 20, 6 successes Failure: Falsehood Components: V, S, M, F, XP, Casting Time: 60 minutes Range: Personal Target: You Duration: Instantaneous Saving Throw: None Spell Resistance: No This incantation contacts the enigmatic, extradimensional being known as the Dweller on the Threshold, an entity that imparts knowledge about its specific obsession: doors and other entrances. To cast call forth the Dweller, the caster must inscribe forty-two mystic symbols around an open doorway, then begin the chants and supplications required for the incantation. If the incantation succeeds, an image of the Dweller—an inky mass of tentacles and mouths—appears on the other side of the doorway. The Dweller on the Threshold truthfully answers any questions it is asked about a particular door. For example, the Dweller can provide a magical password that unlocks a door, indicate how to disarm a trap on a door, reveal the weaknesses of a door’s guardian, or describe the room that lies beyond the door. Its answers are clear and fairly specific, if somewhat terse. The caster may well appreciate such concise answers, because one of the forty-two symbols inscribed around the doorway during the casting of the incantation fades away with each word the Dweller on the Threshold speaks—and when all the symbols are gone, the Dweller disappears. If the caster asks the Dweller on the Threshold a question that doesn’t involve doors, the Dweller responds with a cutting insult, often about something the caster thought was secret. Each word of the insult likewise makes a symbol disappear from the perimeter of the doorway. The exact nature of the Dweller on the Threshold is shrouded in mystery. Some contend that it is somehow connected to the god of secrets, although no one has ever found conclusive evidence that the Dweller on the Threshold is evil. Option If the doorway used as the focus is one that the Dweller has been asked about in the past, the caster gains a +4 bonus on the Knowledge (arcana) checks during the incantation. For example, if Boredflak uses call forth the Dweller to learn about the Gateway to Despair, then when he reaches the Gateway, he can use the Gateway as the focus and gain a +4 bonus when he uses the incantation to ask about the Arches of Certain Doom. Failure If the caster fails two consecutive Knowledge (arcana) checks, the Dweller on the Threshold gleefully lies, employing falsehoods that demonstrate its inclination toward mischief and cruelty. Material Component Forty-two mystic symbols inscribed around the perimeter of the focus doorway (requiring materials costing 500 gp). As described above, these symbols gradually disappear during the time the incantation is in effect. Focus An open doorway large enough to allow a Medium creature to pass through it. XP Component 400 XP. Backlash After speaking with the Dweller on the Threshold, the caster is exhausted. Campaign Use This incantation is an obvious solution for characters who are “stuck” by an especially impenetrable door. The exhaustion backlash makes it less likely they immediately try the door after casting the incantation, and the XP cost ensures that they won’t try to use call forth the Dweller on every door they face. If you introduce this incantation in your game, you’re giving the PCs occasional access to a powerful divination. But because it’s rather specific, it doesn’t make the characters more powerful. Typically, getting through a door lands PCs in trouble more quickly than if they were unable to pass the portal.

    Well now that is interesting. It comes down to the nature of the zombie and the nature of the ghost. If both originate from a supernatural source, I’d find it unlikely for such a creature as a zombie-ghost or ghost-zombie could form. Now, I’m no PhD in necromancy, but that’s how it seems to me.

    Now if we’re talking a (more or less) mundane source of zombification, say the zombie plague model, then we need to examine at what point the zombie aspect takes over. Does the person die and then become reanimated? If so, has the soul which would become the ghost leave? The interesting thought there is that we could have a zombie and his ghost walking around together, but that’s for a different day. If, on the other hand, the person transforms in a flesh-eating monster prior to death and retains a soul/life energy, then it is theoretically possible for the individual in question to retain enough consciousness to, if you will, imprint the zombified state onto that energy. Thus, once the zombie dies, the ghost which forms (let us assume that it has a reason for remaining on the mortal plane; get all the brains?) would be the zombie’s ghost, not the original human’s. Furthermore, depending on how much that imprint carries weight in the metaphysical state, that ghost could possibly be able to transmit the zombie state to other ghosts.

    I would imagine that the circumstances of that particular creature would be extremely hard to create.

  8. Perhaps they’re not so much ghost zombies as zombie ghosts. They’re mindless automatons in the spirit world who feast on the “brains” of other ghosts.

    They might be caused by some manner of spiritual pollution, or by a supernatural force…

  9. If zombie ghosts exist and still crave human “buhraaainsssss” it must be woefully unsatisfying. They can’t even starve to zombie death or be shit in the head as part of a mercy killing. Those poor poor bastards.

    Maybe we should set up sort of a Jerrys Kids charity for them?

  10. And if you are -not- referencing Full-Life Consequences, then I can only say: get thee to a youtube now-like!

  11. ytimynona – FLORIDA – I'm a big wannabe. Wannabe a truck driver, PotUS, scientist, writer, and teacher. Well, I already am a teacher. :-)

    Aww… awesomeness *would* come to Cleveland when I’m not there.

  12. rishathra – I'm in my late 40s, reside in Queens, NY, and root for both NY baseball teams (yes, that's possible!). I do presentation graphics for a living, have two kids and one SO, and am owned by several cats. If it has strings and no hammers or keys I'll play it (no guarantees on quality). And I filk. Now let's talk.
    Bruce Adelsohn

    Right state, wrong city. We’ll be heading out to Ohio Valley Filk Fest (OVFF) 25, over in Dublin, this Thursday.

    Ain’t no such animal as ghost zombies; only one undeadification works on a person at a time. (Besides, you couldn’t kill them properly, with salt, if they were intangible. Not fair.)

  13. The whole ghost zombie argument is academic, I’m afraid. From the Seventeenth Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica:

    “Ghost zombies were discovered by Yves-Joseph de Kerguelen de Trémarec on the islands that bear one of his names in February 1772. They originated from the crews of various lost ships that found their way to the remote isles, and consequentially their discovery led to much progress in the sciences of ghostolution, zombiology and ghost zombie sexatation.”

    “Sadly, the peaceful, vegetarian undead were ruthlessly exploited by passing ships. Properly intoned, a few passages read from any convenient sacred text would easily separate the ghost and zombie portions. The incorporeal half could then serve a convenient source of eldritch energies, while the now-inert corporeal portion was available for use as animal fodder, combustible material, or a source of souvenirs. The last known ghost zombie was used by the HMS Tenderizer‘s chaplain to both make a chest of drawers dance around and to fuel the ship’s boilers in 1849.”

  14. John P. Murphy – I'm an engineer and writer living in New England. My research background is in robotics and computer security; my writing is primarily science fiction and mystery.
    John Murphy

    Well, one day Rob Zombie will die. He’s pretty much got “future angry poltergeist” written all over him. You know, something along the lines of a focused, non-terminal repeating phantasm, or a Class Five full roaming vapor. Probably a real nasty one, too.

  15. Anyone see zombieland yet? is it any good?

    I just saw “Where the Wild Things Are” and man was it depressing.

    I don’t think the previews really give you the emotional feel for what the movie will be like. Previews were pretty much all happy go lucky. The movie, man, the movie was… I don’t know how to even describe it… It felt like watching a dysfunctional family break down into a big ugly argument over Christmas dinner, and I’m one of the invited guests. I was thinking “Christmas dinner” and “pumpkin pie”, and I staggered away feeling a little numb.

    Also, speaking of zombies, what was the name of that zombie video game that everyone was ranting about on Whatever a while ago and is it on teh PS3 yet?

  16. Greg @ 25 –

    I saw Zombieland last week. It was definitely not depressing. It was a pretty fun ride. I’d pay to see it again.

    A certain unnamed celebrity makes for the best cameo evar in a zombie movie.

    Very funny.

    Temper that with me on night shift with the baby for two months (brains=ooze) and the last entertainment piece I saw before that was Inglourious Basterds, which I thought was amazing.

  17. It seems to me that John has already answered his own question.

    You can’t brain today cause the ghost zombies have already phased through your head. Unlike real zombies they only fifth dimensionally eat your brain so the effects are only temporary. Kind of a transient aphasia effect.

    There was a major ghost zombie tempest in “78 and “79 that made a major impact that only now can be appreciated for the horror that it caused.

    It’s the only thing that explains polyester leisure suits, platform shoes and those gold chains that seemed to run rampant during that period.
    If we’d have been able to think, we would have never worn any of that crap.

  18. Welcome (in advance) to Cleveland. The Beachland is a great, intimate venue to see a concert & is actually the former Croatian Workingman’s Bar, so it’s undoubtedly haunted by many of my wife’s relatives . The neighborhood is slowly changing into an arts district, but for health & safety, try to park under a streetlight.

  19. This isn’t topical, but since yesterday your WordPress has been “upgraded” to recognize my phone’s Opera Mini browser and default to an awful, useless “mobile version” of the site. Not an improvement.

  20. Jeanne – I'm a reader, a writer, a mother, a wife, an ailurophile, a Writing Center Director, and a PhD in English Literature (specializing in Rhetoric and Composition and literature of the Eighteenth Century).

    I thought I was the only one of my acquaintance traveling to scenic Cleveland this weekend (not for the concert, alas, but for a chess tournament at the no-doubt lovely airport Sheraton).

  21. Paging Craig Ranapia.

    If you could email me offline at:

    email at greglondon dot com

    I would like to discuss something offline with you.

  22. #35 Jeanne:

    The Airport Sheraton is a nice hotel & I have no reservations (ha…) about putting clients up there. It’s undergoing some rennovations, but they didn’t cause any disruptions, at least as of 2 weeks ago. They also serve a nice stiff drink at the bar, if that’s of interest.

  23. There is such a thing as zombie goasts though. To quote the illuminated (troll) Squirrel King:

    John Freeman said “Zombie goasts leave this place” and the zombie goasts said “but this is our house” and John Freeman felt sorry for them becaus they couldnt live there anymore because they were zombie goasts so he blew up the house and killed the zombie goasts so they were at piece.

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