The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypseby Steven C. Schlozman
"Humanity has a new weapon against the living dead and that weapon is Steven Schlozman!"
--New York Times bestselling author Max Brooks
"I've written and made films about zombies for over forty years. In all that time, I've never been able to convince my audience that zombies actually exist. On page one of THE ZOMBIE AUTOPSIES, Steven Schlozman/em>… See more details below
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"Humanity has a new weapon against the living dead and that weapon is Steven Schlozman!"
--New York Times bestselling author Max Brooks
"I've written and made films about zombies for over forty years. In all that time, I've never been able to convince my audience that zombies actually exist. On page one of THE ZOMBIE AUTOPSIES, Steven Schlozman takes away any doubt. This fast-moving, entertaining work will have you chuckling...and worrying."
--George A. Romero, director of Night of the Living Dead
"Gruesome and gripping! Steven Schlozman reveals the science behind zombies from the inside out."
--Seth Grahame-Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
"With THE ZOMBIE AUTOPSIES, Steven Schlozman redefines 'weird science' for the 21st Century. Brilliant, bizarre and wonderfully disturbing."
--Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Rot&Ruin and Patient Zero
"Dr. Steve's 'Zombie Autopsy' will charm and excite a new generation into loving science."
--Chuck Palahniuk, New York Times bestselling author of Fight Club
As the walking dead rise up throughout the world, a few brave doctors attempt to find a cure by applying forensic techniques to captured zombies.
On a remote island a crack medical team has been sent to explore a radical theory that could uncover a cure for the epidemic. Based on the team's research and the observations of renowned zombie expert Dr. Stanley Blum, THE ZOMBIE AUTOPSIES documents for the first time the unique biology of zombie organisms.
Detailed drawings of the internal organs of actual zombies provide an accurate anatomy of these horrifying creatures. Zombie brains, hearts, lungs, skin, and digestive system are shown, while Dr. Blum's notes reveal shocking insights into how they function--even as Blum and his colleagues themselves begin to succumb to the plague.
No one knows the ultimate fate of Dr. Blum or his researchers. But now that his notebook, THE ZOMBIE AUTOPSIES, has been made available to the UN, the World Health Organization, and the general public, his scientific discoveries may be the last hope for humans on earth.
A neurodevelopmental biologist with the Centers for Disease Control gets down with the sickness when he's tasked to investigate the roots of a zombie apocalypse.
Lately in pop culture, coverage of zombies has shifted toward the burlesque with movies like Zombielandand novels like S.G. Browne's Breathers. But usually, authors chase the Max Brooks money, aping his innovative oral history World War Z. Here, Schlozman (Psychiatry/Harvard Univ.) marries his interest in science and the undead to a gruesome but convincing relic from a humanity-killing plague. The book purports to be a copy of the handwritten notes of Dr. Stanley Blum, a scientist tasked to study zombie biology. By this point, the world has been decimated by a new virus—Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome, or ANSD for short. Blum is sent, along with Sarah Johnson, a Scottish specialist in brain infections, and Jose Martinez, the chief forensic pathologist for New York City, to a creepy lab dubbed "the Crypt," on a small island in the Indian Ocean, in order to dissect the walking dead and record the findings. At first, Blue is chillingly clinical in his notes. "We need to study the hypothalamus, especially as it relates to the rest of the brain structures," he writes. "This is a primitive region of the brain that, among other things, tells us whether we've eaten enough. Zombies never seem to have eaten enough." But as the horror escalates, even Blum starts to grasp the situation. "We're dissecting crocodiles...crocodiles that used to be human. We're dissecting monsters." It's a slim volume, but Schlozman weaves a frightening scenario, andhorror fans will admire illustrator Sparacio's grisly drawings of the disease's progress.
A superfluous but entertaining sideline to the current zombie craze that nicely complements Max Brooks' The Zombie Survival Guide.
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The Zombie AutopsiesSecret Notebooks from the Apocalypse
By Schlozman, Steven C.
Grand Central PublishingCopyright © 2011 Schlozman, Steven C.
All right reserved.
UNITED NATIONS OUTPOST
Highly Confidential Memo 25 January 2013
The enclosed documents are highly classified. They are exact replicas of the recently recovered handwritten notes of Dr. Stanley Blum, the last scientist sent to the United Nations Sanctuary for the study of ANSD and “zombie” biology. After careful examination, World Health Organization and United Nations officials have reason to believe that these writings may contain groundbreaking data regarding the nature of the ANSD pathogen. Furthermore, it is possible that this information represents both a key to a viable cure, as well as the most definitive evidence to date that the ANSD virus was artificially manufactured—human made—and therefore did not occur naturally. The importance of these potential conclusions cannot be overstated.
One-third of humanity has perished from the plague. Two point three billion people have died, and countless more are quickly moving toward the final stages of disease. There is reason to believe that in a short time nearly everyone on Earth will be infected. The virus continues to spread exponentially, and all attempts at a vaccine or a cure have failed. Scientific and industrial infrastructure is rapidly faltering. Early attempts at controlling the spread of disease via nuclear and non-nuclear incineration have left the planet in an ecologically fragile state. Current computer models suggest that civilization can only survive for approximately another decade before we face total destruction. These are indeed dire times. The information in this journal may very well represent our last hope.
Less than three years ago, the idea that a “zombie plague” would threaten all of humanity was preposterous. Indeed, the very nature of this claim prevented swift and decisive action from the world community. Nevertheless, “zombie” is arguably the most recognizable term for those who have been infected with ANSD and have reached the fourth stage of the disease.
Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome (ANSD), the internationally accepted diagnostic term for what is more commonly referred to as zombiism, continues to spread unabated. While some islands remain disease free, ANSD is otherwise present on every major landmass. Most of the governed world is under martial law. The signs and symptoms of the disease are universally known, but the disease itself appears both indestructible and untreatable.
In July 2012, the United Nations established a study site on the island of Bassas da India in the Indian Ocean. The official charter for this site called for a laboratory setting where the world community could focus its efforts on the scientific study of ANSD, including anatomic explorations of zombies themselves, as well as molecular investigations of the presumed contagion. This site is formally known as the United Nations Sanctuary and Study Site (UNSaSS) but is more commonly referred to at the UN bunkers as the Crypt. Those who volunteer to participate in the work on the island understand that a return to the bunkers is not permitted and scientists started referring to the site as the Crypt in an effort to acknowledge the blunt reality of their important and difficult tasks.
On 11 November 2012, the UN received its last message from the Crypt. The message was a radio transmission, and, as with most digital communications, the content was badly garbled due to nuclear interference. It is important to note that we had not received any e-mail contact from the island for some time, and the voice message was received over a little-used commercial satellite frequency. Voice analysis has suggested with reasonable certainty that the communication was from Dr. Blanca Gutierrez, who was at that time the resident microbiologist on the island. After significant digital analysis, the message reads as follows:
Status… gent. Hype…… . . new. Diff… virus. Vaccine… ble
An international group of scientists, policy makers, epidemiologists, and ethicists has theorized that Gutierrez had new information regarding a viable vaccine. It is unclear whether “hype” refers to “hyper” (a possible acceleration of disease progression) or, more likely, to the hypothalamus, a region of the brain oddly not affected by ANSD infection. The “-ble” suffix at the end is consistent with words such as “possible,” “viable,” or, conversely, “impossible.” We are fairly certain that “gent” is most consistent with the word “urgent.”
No further communications were received, and attempts to communicate with the island were unsuccessful. At that time, UN records show that Gutierrez’s team included Dr. James Pittman, a Canadian anatomist and medical illustrator; Dr. Anita Gupta, a leading virologist from Delhi; as well as three military attachés. There were also an unspecified number of infected humanoids in the holding facility.
On 14 November 2012, a team of three individuals was sent to investigate the Crypt in an attempt to regain contact with Gutierrez and her colleagues. Dr. Sarah Johnson, a Scottish neurobiologist and expert in viral brain infections; Dr. Jose Martinez, the chief forensic pathologist for the former New York City; and Dr. Stanley Blum, a neurodevelopmental biologist with the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), were selected for the mission. While Drs. Martinez and Johnson were chosen for their scientific expertise, Blum’s orders were to record the findings of the team and to ensure that these findings were reviewed by scientists in the international ANSD research community.
All three set out in separate automated transport planes programmed to bypass the security apparatus at the UNSaSS. Unfortunately, only Dr. Blum arrived safely on the island. After an automated transmission from Dr. Blum signaling his arrival, communication with the island was lost altogether.
At that time, ANSD experts felt the risk of further exploration of the Crypt was too great. Researchers on the island were genetically manipulating the virus, and ANSD experts were consequently reluctant to potentially release an even more dangerous form of the contagion from the sterile confines of the study site. However, as already noted, world conditions continued to rapidly deteriorate. The decision was therefore made to pursue excavations of the Crypt with the primary goal of understanding the final transmission from Gutierrez.
After extensive precautions, the study site was thoroughly investigated for seven days, 8–15 January 2013. Three of the seven surveyors have since died from ANSD, and the remaining four have all shown signs of progressive infection. We are grateful for the courage and sacrifice made by those who conducted the surveillance.
Surveyor 3, Captain Amy McBride of the elite British Special Boat Service, was among the first to succumb to Stage IV disease while on the island. As protocol dictated, she was fatally shot by members of the surveillance team. Although she had collected only limited data onto her hard drive, the team failed to search her personal belongings, presumably in their efforts to quickly sterilize the body for transportation back to the UN base. She was frozen in liquid nitrogen and sealed in an automated marine transport unit. Navigational malfunctions prevented the remains of Captain McBride from arriving at the docking station until last week. Upon arrival, the handwritten laboratory notes of Dr. Stanley Blum were discovered in her backpack.
Dr. Blum’s writings are presented here in preparation for tomorrow’s meeting. His journal, as noted, is handwritten, and he and Dr. Pittman made extensive sketches and diagrams to document their work. The final pages of his notebook are frustratingly unclear, and physicians here speculate that he was traumatized as well as suffering from the cognitive effects of the treatments used to slow progression of ANSD toward zombiism.
The standard of care for treatment of ANSD infection remains an artificially induced increase in human pH. This technique was first described by Blanca Gutierrez and has been referred to as the Gutierrez protocol. Unfortunately, the effects of these measures create a number of significant neurological side effects that ironically mimic the cognitive decline consistent with full zombie status. Thus, it is unclear why Blum’s cognitive state appears to decline throughout his notebook. He was either suffering from the effects of the Gutierrez protocol or was in fact slowly moving toward zombie status.
Nevertheless, it is possible that careful examination of this material will yield crucial answers. Most important, when Gutierrez left for the Crypt, she was already pursuing a theory that ANSD spread when it combined with still-unidentified additional infectious agents. If those agents could be detected, then there was a much greater likelihood of creating a viable cure. She therefore intended to pursue her theory by examination of infected humanoids while looking for additional pathogens.
These investigations had not yet been pursued by scientists at the Crypt or anywhere else, and Gutierrez insisted that she go herself. She felt strongly that investigations would have to be thorough and that findings from previous autopsies would need to be selectively discarded. Her expertise in molecular biology, microbiology, and vaccine development made her especially well suited for the position, though her commitment also meant that she would expire on the island. Thus, her efforts were both heroic and potentially scientifically groundbreaking. She asked that Dr. Anita Gupta join her as a co-investigator in this project, given Gupta’s expertise in viral infections of the brain.
While Blum’s journal documents Gutierrez’s fate, we remain somewhat unsure how Blum himself expired. We are relatively confident that the decomposed body in the infirmary described by the surveyors was Blum’s. Unfortunately, digital images of the site obtained by the surveyors are badly distorted by electromagnetic interference. Computer reconstruction teams are working to create interpretable images, but at the current time we have only the debriefings from the remaining surveyors, and none has the cognitive capacity to offer reasonable explanations.
The ANSD Working Group has elected to prepare this written briefing in order to maximize the work at tomorrow’s meeting. Many of their annotations in the following notebooks will be rudimentary for the scientists on the panel, but it is important that all who see this material be able to participate as effectively as possible in the discussion.
We must not lose hope. One-third of humanity remains. It is fair to note that tomorrow’s meeting is among the most important gatherings in human history. If there are questions, do not hesitate to contact your facilitator. Good luck.
Excerpted from The Zombie Autopsies by Schlozman, Steven C. Copyright © 2011 by Schlozman, Steven C.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Dr. Steven Schlozman of Harvard Medical School is an assistant professor of psychiatry and avid observer of the living dead.
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