A brain-bending exploration of real-life zombies and mind controllers and what they reveal to us about nature - and ourselves.
Zombieism isn’t just the stuff of movies and TV shows like The Walking Dead. It’s real, and it’s happening in the world around us, from wasps and worms to dogs and moose - and even humans.
In Plight of the Living Dead, science journalist Matt Simon documents his journey through the bizarre evolutionary history of mind control. Along the way, he visits a lab where scientists infect ants with zombifying fungi, joins the search for kamikaze crickets in the hills of New Mexico, and travels to Israel to meet the wasp that stings cockroaches in the brain before leading them to their doom.
Nothing Hollywood dreams up can match the brilliant, horrific zombies that natural selection has produced time and time again. Plight of the Living Dead is a surreal dive into a world that would be totally unbelievable if very smart scientists didn’t happen to be proving it’s real, and most troublingly - or maybe intriguingly - of all: how even we humans are affected.
"There's a creepy cheerfulness in [Narrator Holter] Graham's voice as he tells listeners how a jewel wasp takes over a roach to host its offspring, for example. It's both humorous and horrifying." (AudioFile)
“Burned out on human interaction? Consider zombies instead.... Matt Simon looks at zombification, brain-altering viruses and parasites, and the myriad ways mind control shows up in the natural world. It’s fun, weird, and fascinating.” (Outside Magazine)
“Spine-tingling... Faced with living (and undead) examples of unimaginable suffering, Simon questions the cruelty of nature, explores the way that mind-controlling viruses have ravaged human society, informs us that one in three humans is strolling around with a zombifying parasite right now, and nearly disproves the existence of free will along the way. It’s a fun read that will haunt you to your very core.” (Gizmodo)
“Surprisingly lively and lighthearted...Simon’s fascination is contagious.... [His] work is easily the most fun one could ever expect to have reading about the mind-controlling insects, insidious fungi, and parasites living alongside humanity.” (Publishers Weekly)