Sunday, 6 February 2011

Deep question.

No blog yesterday because I spent the day struggling with a question of monumental importance.

What happens if you shoot a zombie with a taser? Likewise, a werewolf or vampire or ghoul? This new weapon opens a whole can of worms in fiction. I think I have a plausible solution for zombies at least.

Still I am open to suggestions. The science is not settled.


Raoul Moat said...

More importantly what happens if you fire a non-government approved taser at a zombie?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr UnderDogBitesUpwards,

I generally enjoy your posts, but I have a bit of bad news for you.

Zombies don't exist so even fake science (tm) can't provide you with a peer-reviewed paper to answer that question (I fucking hope to god(sic) I am right here).


Mr A said...

Well, if it's fake science, Leggy should maybe ask Stanton Glantz for his opinion?

My own ideas would be along the lines of:

Vampires - no effect. They're dead, corpses animated by mystical means. They may not even be composed of physical matter (see turning into mist and bats etc), so I doubt a taser would do anything.

Zombies - I think the taser would work for as long as it was pumping out volts. Dead or not it would cause involuntary constrictions of the muscles and light up their nervous system, rendering them incapable of moving. However, once switched off they would just get up and continue after your brains rather than twitching on the floor groaning and being sick, as you and I would do.

Werewolves - Flesh and blood but "supercharged" by mystical means. They're strong and magically resistant to injury. I suspect the effect would be somewhat like tasering a rhino; it would have an effect but only in so much as it angered it and made it rather cross.

Feels a bit weird devoting thought to this, but then again I am the sort of person who doesn't have a "home escape plan in case of fire" but has several in case of zombie apocalypse.

F***W*T TW****R said...

The undead are called the cabinet.

Amusing Bunni said...

That is an interesting question, LI.
I think it would make a Zombies head explode, because the love brains so much.

A werewolf would go even more hair, and if it wasn't the full moon yet, and you accidently tased a person & he was a werewolf, it would manifest right away.

A vampire would automatically turn into a bat!

You could always come to the states and just taze a democrat or oblimey follower, and see what happens to them, they are all zombies!

JuliaM said...

You'd have to outfit the taser with silver prongs, and then some mugger would shoot you for it before you could get to use it...

Al Blood and Gore said...

The science IS settled.

William said...

Didn't A plod leave a taser on the roof of a patrol car and ahem lose it not that long ago?

Doesn't answer your question directly but if it is used in a Tesco it might solve the zombie part.

sixtypoundsaweekcleaner said...

Zombies exist. I've worked with them, eaten with them, drank with them. I'm sure I've voted many of them into the house of commons. Thing is, do they know they're dead?

Anonymous said...

My own experiments have proved inconclusive thus far.

Tortoise, from the family Testudinidae: the twin barbs, carrying 50,000 volts, bounced off leaving the creature unaware of my presence.

My neighbour, an extremely thick-witted individual with his back to me when I shot him, exhibited no reaction to the barbs. I then noticed he was wearing hobnailed boots, which meant he was grounded.

One whole Stilton Cheese, a stationary target but nonetheless filled with bacterial life forms. Both barbs penetrated to a depth of 8 millimetres. Death was instantaneous with no reanimation after 48 hours.

It's a work in progress I'm afraid.


Snowolf said...

Zombies are animated, but not as animated or speedy as the living.

Would a burst of all that electricity not supercharge the synapses?

Turbo powered Zombies, I reckon.

Leg-iron said...

Unfortunately I can't ask the Glans or the Gore because unlike their branches of science, fictional science has to at least be plausible. I have plausible rapid DNA-repair and modification, a plausible large virus for a vector, backed up by gene therapy.

Naturally, this doesn't work in real life but it must at least follow a logical path.

No third hand zombification here.

The options are 1) it knocks them down temporarily or 2) TurboZombie!

Much as I like the idea of TurboZombie, I've settled on 1 because I've moved it to the UK and nobody has any guns. The first police on the scene only have tazers, and TurboZombie will end the story within about 500 words.

Then again, it would make an interesting short...

Leg-iron said...

Bunni - that's a great idea. Tazer a werewolf and trigger the change!

Now you're thinking like a proper mad writer.

Baron Samedi aka BHoBummma said...

It makes me want a cigarette. Baroness, on the other hand, goes mad with her credit cards...for hours...

Zaphod said...

Is it plausible that, like ECT, it would relieve their symptoms for a while? Rational Zombies? Would it then be unethical to kill them, at least until the effects wear off?

Anonymous said...

I just asked my daughter who knows more about zombies than I do.

She wants to know which type of zombie, before she can give an opinion.

I'm better with vampires.

Pellagra and the origin of a myth: evidence from European literature and folklore.

By the way, the first snowdrop in my garden opened today,but still no crocuses.


Leg-iron said...

Zaphod - there's one rational zombie. The rest have to be mindless.

Hey, that's one more than we have in Westminster!

Rose - these zombies are virus-created. It kills then reanimates. They are fast and hungry and not restricted to brains, or even humans. They'll eat anything.

Even airline food.

Timdog said...

Pretty sure vampires would laugh in the face of a taser, not having a pulse and all, unless it's one of those sparkly ones in which case he'd probably start crying, flip his emo hair and hide somewhere.

Werewolves are pretty nails, so yeah I'm with Mr A, you're just going to upset a werewolf with that kind of foolishness, not I suspect a good idea.

Which leaves zombies. I think a taser to the neck or head of a zombie would cause them some problems, as most zombies tend to react badly to head injuries. Given their incredibly basic vital functions however, I think a Turbo Zombie (tm Mattel) effect is very reasonable for a chest hit, as it mmight just get the thick, semi-coagulated zombie blood moving a bit faster. Like a zombie adrenaline shot.

It is all very complex, but come the Zombie Apocalypse I'll take a flamethrower, grenade launcher and shotgun before I take a taser. I reckon the way Ripley tools up at the end of Aliens looks about right.

Caratacus said...

It pisses them off and makes them stronger... :)

Chalcedon said...

If by whatever arcane means these creatures all have a functional nervous system then an overdose of high voltage as in a taser will cause them to spasm, muscles to undergo tetany. Be you a vampire, werewolf or zombie you go down. Of course recovery is another matter.

Anonymous said...


Having given the matter some considerable thought,I think it possible that a rotting body killed by a virus, however animated, will be generating stores of methane internally and when hit with a taser might well explode in flames.


Anonymous said...

Leggy, a perusal of the work of a certain Mr Charles Stross might be fruitful. Zombies are only animate because something is animating them; if this is a soul-eating monstrosity from the universe next door then a good dose of a few thousand volts is going to be pretty devastating for it and probably knock it right out of the corpse it is inhabiting.

If by contrast the corpse is animated by a parasite of some form, then the taser is going to have a roughly similar effect to what it would have on a live human; nerve disruption ought to knock it over initially, then if you don't keep up the shocks it'll throw off the effect and get back to its feet and come back at you. For zombies, then, an electrified floor grid is likely to be the easiest way of knocking them over and keeping them down.

Werewolves represent a different challenge entirely. Most fictional accounts protray them as supernaturally resistant to damage, so whilst a taser would be unpleasant, it would have less effect on them than it would on a normal person or animal. A werewolf's supernaturally sharpened senses would, however, leave it vulnerable to having them overloaded (a character by Terry Pratchett uses a scent-bomb to throw a werewolf off his path, for instance). For this reason, I'd recommend a combined toxin and chemical agent for dealing with a werewolf; mixing in colloidal silver and silver nitrate would also be a good move to make the mixture even more unpleasant, as would adding a glue-like agent to it.

Vampires are also supernaturally fast, sensitive and hard to kill however similar tactics of sensory overload combined with a glue-like agent ought to work fairly well on them. Daylight is lethal to most vampires, so to kill one all you need to do is keep it outside until dawn; a rapid-setting supersticky agent would work well here, as would a sort of supertaser that could deliver an initially disabling blast, then carry on shocking the thing to keep it down until dawn.

Bill Sticker said...

Zombies; Whether a Tazer would work on them is an interesting point. If they are in a state of decay, would that mess up the conductivity of their remaining nervous system, reducing a Tazers effectiveness?

A related research topic might be whether something like a defibrillator gets a reaction on four or five day old corpses. Somehow I think not, as I understand that nerve tissue decays faster than the rest of the body and acetylcholine reaction / transmission becomes much reduced / no longer possible after that time.

Hang on, maybe that could be why Zombies want to eat your brain; acetylcholine hunger.

Vampires; How would they respond to 'Artificial daylight' lighting? Which component of light is fatal to them and what is the mechanism? Similarly Werewolves, as their changes are reputedly brought on by Lunar light.

Fascinating stuff. Good luck with the story.

Anonymous said...

Leggy...after reading your Kindle post, I downloaded Dracula because I haven't read it (and it was free!!). Now with all this talk about zombies, I'm totally in the dark because I've never read a zombie tale!! Can you recommend a good one for beginners?

Chief_Sceptic said...

Leggie, not a Taser, but a hand-held 'stungun' - much higher voltage! …

However, decapitation always works - no head means no biting - a decent Khukri (silver plated) will work every time …

Leg-iron said...

Rose - I could have someone whine about the release of greenhouse gases and demand zombie preservation legislation.

They would, you know.

Leg-iron said...

Anon - I know lots of zombie films but now I think of it, I can't recall a zombie book.

Paerhaps because 'uuuurrrggh' doesn't add much to dialogue.

Anyone know a zombie book?

Leg-iron said...

Cheif Sceptic - I have the decapitation solved ;)

Anonymous said...


I take your point.
Fighting off a Zombie attack should only be done in a responsible manner.


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