Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When Zombies attack

A strange increase in Zombie related news lately. First, a number of news outlets have picked up on the publication of a paper entitled 'When zombies attack!: Mathematical Modelling of an Outbreak of Zombie Infection.' For example there's a BBC article entitled 'Science ponders 'zombie attack' and a CBC Canada artcile entitled 'Zombie attack would be the death of us'. Venturing into the blogosphere reveals some criticisms of the model eg here and here. The model, by the way, should look familiar to you since it's a pretty basic SIR model.

I like the fact one of the authors is named Professor Robert Smith? - the question mark is part of his surname and not a typographical mistake.

Also making headlines, in the LA Times at least is the success of 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies', a surprise bestseller with '85% Austen's original text and 15% brand-new blood and guts'. I bumped into this in Goleta library the other day. I must admit the premise is amusing and the cover is excellent but I found the joke wearing a bit thin after a few pages. Maybe I'll wait for the sequel: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (no, really, that is the title of the next book).

Even Austen purists admit a grudging admiration for the "Zombies" concept.
"In publishing terms, it's brilliant," said Claire Harman, a Columbia University professor and author of "Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World."
"Why did I spend three years writing a critical book on Austen? Why didn't I just think of that?"

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