“Zombie Capitalism” by Tobias S. Buckell (2077 words)
No Spoilers: Cheryl is, it seems, your typical young woman living in an America where legislation has just passed preventing the government from deploying the National Guard against a growing zombie problem. That also prohibits trying to cure the disease. Not because zombies have suddenly been recognized as beings deserving of rights or rehabilitation. No no. Rather, because government intervention threatens the profits of those companies specializing in selling civilians tools to fight back against or protect themselves from the zombie threat. And into that nightmarish hellscape Cheryl wakes, and it goes basically how you would expect. This is a deft satire aiming squarely at the hypocrisy of treating companies as people, and really as more people than people. With more rights. So that while profits soar, the real cost of those profits is passed to the actual humans, who become giant oranges to squeeze for juice. And when you squeeze too hard, well, it’s not the corporation’s mess to clear up. In fact, they’ll sell you a mop and special cleaners that do a heck of a good job!
Keywords: Zombies, Pets, Profits, Legislation, Guns, CW- Death of a Pet (Dogs). CW- Gore
Review: This is a wonderful exploration of how our current brand of capitalism, where corporations are effectively the only people the law protects, fails in the most basic of ways to actually protect humans from the predatory interests of exploitation. Everything is about selling, about making it so that consumers don’t have a choice but to spend spend spend. And zombies are the perfect tool for that, because they will literally kill you if you don’t have the right tools. If you don’t have the right gates, the right guns. And there’s always more, so you have to resupply, to repair, to go further and further into debt, all the while having to deal with the zombies because you still have to go to work to be able to afford the things to deal with the zombies on your way to work and just. fuck. Like, I love how that is explored, as well, with humor and with horror. With the visceral scene of having to blow apart zombies, the wrenching death of both of her dogs, all against the banal and opportunistic sleaze of her financial guy telling her to invest in it. To support the companies who are putting them all at risk. And it just feels so real, that some companies would of course try to do this. That companies want to make corruption not only legal but protected. With laws in place not just to allow it but to reinforce it. Because they don’t want something as petty as killing people to get in the way of business. And while that might seem like a bit of hyperbole, it’s really not. Profiteering is a thing that happens all the time. And it’s a reminder that in a society that values capitalism so highly, when things start really Going Wrong, people will die. Lives will be ruined. It’s a rather timely story in that not because zombies are at all similar to the current pandemic, but because when corruption is the law, people are failed in massive and deadly ways in the interests of business and profits. And yeah, you’ll want to check this one out. A fantastic read!