I will preface this by saying that, no, this is not directed at people who review my work. I fully expect to have my share of people who do not like my work. That is part of the business. If you start engaging in a war of words with every person who does not think gold drips from your fingers and every word is to be cherished...you will NEVER get any writing done. Nope, this has to do with complaints I read, not just in my reviews, but the reviews of some of the writers I enjoy.
First off, I don't believe that I am alone here in thinking some rather undesirable types will come out of such an event and take advantage of the lawless chaos. I remember the first time I saw such a portrayal. It was the 70s disaster classic Earthquake. (Remember "Sensaround"?) That frizzy haired National Guardsman? The "reality" of an apocalypse scenario is that a lot of our first responders will be lost.
If you have watched or read anything in the zombie genre, chances are that you have come across a scene or two that made you uncomfortable. Terrible acts of violence. The funny thing is, people who read this can handle a person being ripped apart and eaten alive...but when it comes to the "person-to-person" attacks...some sort of line is drawn.
My DEAD series has a character named Garrett McCormick. When I set out to write the series, I wanted to create a villain that did not exist in a gray area. He needed to be evil. Plain and simple. Garrett fit that bill. The interesting thing is that, at no time, do I go into detail once he encounters Kirsten. Yet, some reviews blast the graphic nature of that part of my books. I actually take that sort of criticism as a compliment. That means that I painted a vivid enough picture that the reader's mind filled in the blanks.
The funny thing about that Garrett/Kirsten sequence is that what I really wanted to emphasize was the strength of Kirsten. Despite the horror, she remains strong-willed. Too often, I believe that female characters are shoved into a "damsel-in-distress" image that portrays women as weak. No, I am not here to debate gender issues...but I have encountered some women who have overcome great adversity and defied what "professionals" have deemed the outcome should be.
I believe that the "Steves" and "Kevins" of the apocalypse will be few and far between. That has brought a lot of criticism. Many say that I have a bleak view of humanity. No, I just have the "benefit" of being exposed to a part of society that many have not. And what's funny is that, even the mainstream entertainment business treads in that water. The show Revolution has its share of seedy types. The difference is that people who watch it do not tend to fill in the blanks as much as somebody reading. A reader is far more invested in a story than a watcher. They paint the picture in their minds and are not constrained by what they see.
The Zomblog series gets its share of fire from people who are bothered by the degree of violence, in particular, the experiences endured by Meredith before she meets up with Sam's group. Once again, my objective with her was to portray a woman who did not need to be saved. Not only that, but there is also the implication that she might be overcompensating from her experiences with denial and acting in such a way to prove to herself that she was not beaten by her captors. But that may be digging too deep. The reality is that I just wanted a female that was stronger than her environment.
Is it brutal? Sure, but so is the zombie apocalypse. In the absence of order, chaos is king. Don't believe me? Watch Schindler's List. History is very full of instances of man's ability to commit atrocities against man. Just watch the nightly news. Look what we do to each other when order is in place and law exists! Remove consequence and see what happens. Crusades...Inquisitions...Genocide.