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

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

2.3 3
by Frank Swain
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


The search for the means to control the bodies and minds of our fellow humans has been underway for millennia, from the sleep-inducing honeycombs that felled Pompey's army to the famous voodoo potions of Haiti. But recently, science has taken up the quest. Science punk Frank Swain digs into the reality of zombies: dog heads brought back to life without their

Overview


The search for the means to control the bodies and minds of our fellow humans has been underway for millennia, from the sleep-inducing honeycombs that felled Pompey's army to the famous voodoo potions of Haiti. But recently, science has taken up the quest. Science punk Frank Swain digs into the reality of zombies: dog heads brought back to life without their bodies; secret agents dosing targets with zombie drugs; parasites that push their hosts to suicide or sex changes; bulls and rats commanded by remote control; city streets designed to quell violent thoughts; interrogation techniques used by the military; and viruses that take over the body and won't let go. Packed with untold stories moldering in the corners of archives and labs, How to Make a Zombie is a mind-bending, entertaining excavation of incredible science.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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)
From the Publisher

"The stories are wonderful and well told. Readers get extensive coverage of [Sergei] Bryukhonenko’s grisly research and Walter Freeman’s lobotomy industry — more than 200 operations in one two-week period! — and the Turkish honey that drives people mad and the wasps that make caterpillars guard their cocooning young and a virus that makes its host violent…. The book is alive. The zombie tales Swain tells are love stories." -Washington Post

"The books succeeds wonderfully as a hybrid, stitched-together work, not unlike some of the composite creatures Swain describes: one part history, two parts science and at least three parts 'I can't believe someone did that!' … Fascinating." —Smithsonian magazine

"Those curious about scientific attempts to control the minds and bodies of others will relish this accessible, informative, and anecdote-rich account… Unsettling and fascinating." —Publishers Weekly

"Frank Swain's gripping book, How to Make a Zombie, reads like a non-fiction version of a Stephen King novel — you'll stay up all night reading it with goose bumps and the lights on. This story of life, death, and the grey areas in between, and the scientific (and pseudoscientific) attempts at resuscitation, resurrection, and immortality, is the best account I've read of what has to be humanity's biggest fear (death) and the lengths we have gone to in order to circumvent its finality. I read it straight through in one sitting, and so will you." —Michael Shermer, New York Times best-selling author of The Believing Brain and columnist, Scientific American

"Swain serves up a ghoulish treat — the real-life zombies of science and nature! Packed full of bizarre research and jaw-dropping tales, his book succeeds in being simultaneously entertaining, informative, and slightly unnerving, since it turns out that the zombies are, quite likely, you and I." —Alex Boese, best-selling author of Elephants on Acid and Electrified Sheep

"From attempts to reanimate animals from death to mind control experiments and brain-hacking parasites, this delightfully macabre book explores the reality of zombie mythology. Science punk Frank Swain has pulled off a masterful feat in this broad-ranging and fascinating book. Braiiiins!" —Dr. Lewis Dartnell, Research Fellow, University of Leicester, and author of Life in the Universe

"No one will nod off during this grand tour of sorcerers, necromancers, secret societies, and people who mess with brains and the black market in body parts…. Swain has a juicy cast of contenders responsible for such activities, and he presents them with point-by-point progress, leaving the facts to wow readers but providing both moody and electric atmosphere." —Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
"This is not a book about fictional zombies. This is a book about what happens to the zombie when it crawls off the page and out of the screen and into our world," writes SciencePunk founder Swain at the beginning of this thoughtful, colorful, slow poke through the world of zombiedom. The slow pacing works both for and against the stories, alternately bringing a good and ominous feel and then letting things drift a bit. But no one will nod off during this grand tour of sorcerers, necromancers, secret societies, and people who mess with brains and the black market in body parts. By zombies, Swain is not specifically referring to the characters who traipse around in tattered clothing with their hands raised in front of them. Rather, he wonders about those of us with the glazed, undead look, sometimes doing others' bidding in a violent manner, or especially, those who have been reanimated--brought back from the dead. To that end, Swain has a juicy cast of contenders responsible for such activities, and he presents them with point-by-point progress, leaving the facts to wow readers but providing both moody and electric atmosphere. The author explores the effects of keeping organisms--like humans--organically functioning after death (as eminent biologist J.B.S. Haldane said, "technique is everything"); the autojerker, which was more successful at delivering oxygenated blood than the teeter-totter, a seesaw device that tried to rock circulation back into action. Certainly, the unknowns are many, but the degree of scientific research into zombies will leave you agog--zombielike. In this enjoyable and authoritative text, Swain will have readers wondering exactly how many zombies they brushed past today.
Library Journal
Swain (founder, SciencePunk blog) reviews the science behind historical attempts at creating zombies, i.e., reanimated persons and other animals, as well as such variants on the theme as mind control of people. From reviewing 19th-century stories of zombies in the Caribbean to 20th-century experiments at resuscitation of humans and dogs, Swain looks at our fascination with seeking to bring the dead to life. He also examines various forms of mind control from mind-dulling drugs and hypnotism to the evolution of what we now call lobotomies. He points out actual creatures capable of inducing zombielike effects on their prey, including parasitic wasps and rabid animals. VERDICT Owing to the seemingly ever-increasing interest in the zombie as a creature of popular culture, Swain's accessible book will appeal to a wide audience. However, it does not present the foundations of science behind these subjects, except occasionally, making this more of a general-interest work than a history of science. Some readers may find sections, such as on the reanimation of dog heads, disturbing. Recommended for general readers interested in fringe science and the notion of zombies.—Eric D. Albright, Tufts Univ. Lib., Boston

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781851689446
Publisher:
Oneworld Publications
Publication date:
06/11/2013
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,171,783
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author


Frank Swain is the founder of SciencePunk, the popular SEED ScienceBlogs website devoted to the fringes of science. A regular contributor to publications such as Wired and the Guardian, he has a history of climbing buildings, managing burlesque shows, and generally being a force for good — and the scientific method. Swain lives in the U.K.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

How to Make a Zombie: The Real Life (and Death) Science of Reanimation and Mind Control 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
&bull; Name: Frozenkit. &bull; <br> &bull; Gender: &female &bull; <br> &bull; Rank: Kit. &bull; <br> &bull; Kin: Snakekit. &bull; <br> &bull; History: Unknown. &bull; <br> &bull; Looks: Black & Ice Blue eyes. &bull; <br> &bull; Personality: Dark, Intelligent, & Trustworthy &bull; <br> &bull; <br> &bull; Name: Snakekit. &bull; <br> &bull; Gender: &female &bull; <br> &bull; Rank: Kit. &bull; <br> &bull; Kin: Frozenkit. &bull; <br> &bull; History: Unknown. &bull; <br> &bull; Looks: Black & Gray/Green/Yellow eyes. &bull; <br> &bull; Personality: Dark, Intelligent, & Trustworthy. &bull;