In crafting the Creedverse, one of my core goals was to provide readers with a fresh, imaginative take on a time-honored horror figure: the zombie. By blending Victorian aesthetics with the intrigue of steam technology, a new type of undead emerged: the steampunk zombie. Let’s peel back the layers and explore the thought process and science-inspired foundation behind these unique beings.
The Genesis of Reanimation
We’re all familiar with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which brought the notion of reanimating the dead to generations of science fiction readers. In the Creedverse, I wanted to pay homage to this foundational work, but also to introduce a new paradigm. This led to a shift from Shelley’s galvanism to a more intricate interplay of metallurgy, steam mechanics, and neural circuitry, to create steampunk zombies.
Introducing Celestium Alloy
At the heart of the reanimation process is celestium alloy, a fictional metal I created for the Creedverse with properties that make the impossible seem plausible. While the intricate workings remain part of the Creedverse’s mysteries, the vision was of an alloy capable of bridging the gap between life and death, perhaps by reigniting long-silent neural connections. (Note that there are various formulations of this alloy, and here we’re talking about the type capable of healing dead tissue.)
Shades of Consciousness
An intriguing challenge was addressing the spectrum of outcomes post-reanimation. While some entities retain their essence, others spiral into a maddened state. This duality serves as a narrative tool, highlighting the unpredictable nature of such experimental endeavors and the inherent risks of tampering with life’s natural order.
Ethical Dilemmas of Resurrection
Through the Creedverse narrative, I’ve sought to raise questions about the moral implications of reviving the dead. Where do the risen dead fit in to society? If there’s too great a chance patients will return psychotic, is it worth it to attempt to resurrect them? How will people treat these steampunk zombies? Though some answers remain elusive, the intent was to prompt reflection on the bounds of scientific exploration.
The Ripple Effects on Society
With the undead reintegrated, societal dynamics inevitably evolve. So far, the only resurrected character to reintegrate into society, the only successful human resurrection, is James “Bodacious” Creed himself. If there will be others, they won’t just be fascinating scientific experiments; they’ll also represent the quandaries posed by rapid tech advancements. Right now, Creed serves as a lens, allowing us to examine the challenges of a world undergoing profound transformation.
In developing the zombies of the Creedverse, my intention was not just to entertain, but to foster contemplation about the intersections of life, death, and science. While rooted in fiction, the dilemmas and wonders presented invite readers to and question the very fabric of existence.
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“It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are.”
~ Clive James