Thursday, August 14, 2014

Zombie Apocalypse Camp

Did you know there's a zombie apocalypse training camp in New Jersey?

Zombie Survival Course

It's not entirely fantasy play. In addition to combat against zombie dummy targets, the course also teaches general disaster-related skills such as water purification, first aid, stocking emergency supplies, and assembling a bug-out bag.

The take-away message as I see it? Speculative fiction is becoming more mainstream all the time! Consider how much SF, fantasy, and horror we can find on TV nowadays compared to the scheduled offerings on the three channels we had in the 50s and 60s. Just this past weekend, a series based on one of my favorite books, Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER, debuted on the Starz network. As far as I can tell from the opening episode, it's a winner. Truly we're living in a golden age of TV for genre drama.

Which probably couldn't exist without home video technology (as discussed in EVERYTHING BAD IS GOOD FOR YOU: HOW TODAY'S POPULAR CULTURE IS ACTUALLY MAKING US SMARTER, by Steven Johnson, which I've posted about before). When audiences saw each episode of a series only once, unless they happened to catch a rerun, creators couldn't assume knowledge of past episodes. Shows were designed to be viewed in any order, with story arcs scant or nonexistent and little attention to continuity. With the invention of the VCR, now that fans could re-watch old episodes, they could follow storylines that extended over whole seasons or multiple seasons. TV series could have more complex plots and character development. Writers now have the freedom to create multi-layered stories that reward (and sometimes require) many viewings. GAME OF THRONES could hardly have existed in the era of the original STAR TREK.

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

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