Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Human Condition


A few months ago, I watched a TV series called 'In The Flesh'. It was advertised as a zombie drama. I'll put my hands up now and admit that I don't like zombie films but the cast and the director, Jonny Campbell seemed good, more than good, excellent. It was also a home grown British drama which always appeals to me. So I watched it.

I expected zombies and killings and bits that made me close my eyes (followed by dreams of being chased and overrun). There were zombies, shambling, grey, murderous creatures. There was an occasional killing but these were acted and filmed in an almost matter of fact way.  Not once did I hide away behind a cushion and I had no bad dreams.

In The Flesh trailer

What I found was a story that, rather than concentrating on the horror of the zombies, instead focused on how humanity reacted to first, the zombies and secondly, the return of the reconditioned zombies to their communities. This was a drama about the human condition.

It got me thinking. I looked back over books and rewatched some films. I approached new material too - written and viewed - with one question in mind. Is this about the human condition?

The conclusion I came to is that whatever a story may be - romance, horror, alien adventure - it is ultimately about the human condition. We place our characters - human, animal, alien - in a setting, with a dilemma, perhaps with companions, and then we proceed to tell their story through our understanding of what it is to be a human.

I must have always written from this point of view but now I can bring it consciously to my writing. What about you? How do you write of the human condition?

2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Might have only been on British TV. BBC production. Interesting slant on zombies.

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