How to Make a Zombie: The Real Life (and Death) Science of Reanimation and Mind Control

Frank Swain. OneWorld, $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-85168-944-6
Readers expecting a quirky faux-instruction manual for assembling their own zombie armies will be sorely disappointed by Swain’s study of zombification efforts, but those curious about scientific attempts to control the minds and bodies of others will relish this accessible, informative, and anecdote-rich account. Swain, founder of the SciencePunk blog, digs deep to uncover mind-control practices dating from antiquity to the modern day, examining the phenomena of near-death experiences, lobotomies (which were once promoted via billboards), parasitic wasps that turn their prey into living incubators for their offspring, radio-controlled implants, the infamous Russian experiments in animal reanimation during WWII, and rabies—“the closest thing we have” to a “zombie virus.” What he discovers is that death is not an absolute; nor are we entirely in control of our own minds. All it takes is an injury, an illness, or a bite from a rabid animal to turn us into something else. Likely a little too dry for horror fans, Swain’s study is nevertheless unsettling and fascinating. 7 b&w photos. Agent: Peter Tallack, the Science Factory (U.K.). (July 9)
Reviewed on: 04/15/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
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