Humanity through the eyes of the cylon, zombie

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I have an excuse: Battlestar Galactica. (No, not the old Battlestar with Dirk Benedict as Starbuck as seen above, but the new one. I just love this picture. Also, look! Young Tom Sarek!) Yes, I know I’m about five years behind on this but holy frak is that good! Now, since it’s airtime is over, I can watch it the way awesome shows are meant to be watched: obsessively and over a short period of time. This way I can get totally and weirdly obsessed with them and keep thinking about killing toasters, sexy Cylons, and how prayers and the Peace at church should probably all end with, “So say we all.” I mean, forget LCARS, I want to be a Viper pilot!

(On a little tangent, the other show I’ve been watching is Downton Abbey. Yes it’s a soap opera and also basically Upstairs Downstairs but it’s still great. What would be even better is if there was a Downton/Galactica crossover! Can’t you imagine Thomas and O’Brien as evil Cylons? I sure can.)

Anyway, so one of the interesting things about Battlestar Galactica – and zombies, which I’ll get to in a minute – is how it makes us think about what it means to be human. To be short, in the show humans created cylons which are basically robots to do our unwanted jobs. Then they rebelled and left for their own planet where they evolved and created cylon models that are indistinguishable from humans. Then they decided that humans don’t deserve to survive and try to eradicate the whole race. At some point the show basically asks the audience why humans deserve to live. Interesting, no? How also should humans treat the cylons in the show? They look, feel, sound, and act like human. Do they deserve to have the same sort of treatment we do? They are sentient and apparently love. Sounds a bit like us, I think.

In the third season, the human discover a way to kill all of the cylons through the use of a biological weapon. This creates some discussion and the handsome Helo – who is a little bit Gronktastic –  argues it would be genocide. Would totally wiping out a race that isn’t human but has many human characteristics be genocide? Especially when some cylons have risked their lives for humans? Thought provoking, I say.

Zombies are a bit of a different case. They are usually less sentient and intelligent than your average cylon. They are mindless and yet lust for brains. They are not machines. But are human or at least were once human. The interesting thing about zombies is that they shine a light on what humanity could become in the face of such horrors. Some humans will fight to save other human and some will take advantage of the apocalypse to be their usual evil selves.

I also would like to mention that I like my zombies to be a little bit funny and mostly in books. They have to be funny or I’ll get too scared. Case in point: Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry is funny and sweet, while The Reapers are the Angels is scary, gorey, and the humans are definitely the worst. No fun there.

And finally, cylons and zombies are way better than vampires. But that’s a whole different post.

Look for a book review later on this week of There is No Dog. It’s got a irreverent, Douglas Adams-y feel this far, so hopefully that continues.

3 thoughts on “Humanity through the eyes of the cylon, zombie

  1. I will lobby, yet again, for Battlestar Galactica, to be viewed. We’ll see. Also, if you like the non-gorey side of Zombies, try reading I Am Legend. Not the movie, which I saw with Jared, and is a scary and campy horror flick. I didn’t read the book (shame on me) but Jared says it is a lot of philosophical conversations between the one remaining human and a zombie in a world taken over by zombies.

  2. Anna! I am writing a paper on Rot & Ruin and The House of Scorpion — what it means that the monsters are the people rather than the zombies and the clones. Thanks for giving me another way to think about it! i.e. cyborgs! (or are cylons something different? why am I writing about science fiction? oops!)

    1. Hey Dorrie! That sounds fun! The Reapers are the Angels (which is not YA but sometimes in the YA collection like in my library) also has the humans doing terrible things like rape, murder, and basically harvesting zombies for some chemical that makes them live/come back from the dead/be more impervious to injury. So you might like to check that out. I thought it was kind of a slog to get through, though.
      So cylons start as a robots that were created by humans to do menial tasks but then they evolve into machines with flesh parts that look and can act like humans. They also have an infinite number of bodies so when one body is killed or destroyed, the consciousness of that model of cylon “downloads” into a new body with all of the previous model’s memories and experiences. It makes it very confusing sometimes!
      This discussion on Jonathan Maberry’s blog is also an interesting read about why zombies are so popular if you want to check it out:

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