Rachel Kolar’s story “Be Prepared to Shoot the Nanny” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 20 January 2017.
I’m fascinated by stories that take place long after the zombie apocalypse, from World War Z to Fido to the last five minutes of Shaun of the Dead. Horror fans and academics have spilled gallons of ink analyzing the popularity of zombies in a post-9/11 world—the zombie apocalypse helps us process that apocalyptic day, the breakdown of order helps us work through the way order has collapsed in our own society, and so on. For me, though, these “after the credits roll” stories are the ones that really describe life in the 2010s. The initial shockwave is over, and everything has returned to normal . . . except that it hasn’t, not really, because nothing will ever be normal again.
I regularly go back to the idea of what a post-zombie world might look like, but it wasn’t until I became a mom that I thought of how it would prey on parental anxiety. With all the ads and articles that convince parents their child will die—or, worse, go to a bad college!—without the help of the latest expensive gadget or exhausting strategy, the idea of a “kill switch” pretty much wrote itself.
Of course, if your only purpose is to watch for the moment when you’re supposed to shoot another person, you’re going to read that moment into every interaction. That, combined with the fact that the only way to survive a post-zombie world is to fill it with good guys with guns, bad guys with guns, and normal, fallible, easily-frightened guys with guns, gave the story much sharper satirical teeth than I’d originally planned.
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