A brain-bending exploration of real-life zombies and mind controllers, and what they reveal to us about nature-and ourselves.
Matt Simon is a science writer at Wired magazine, where he specializes in zoology, particularly of the bizarre variety, and the author of The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar. He is one of just a handful of humans to witness the fabled mating ritual of the axolotl salamander. He lives in San Francisco.
"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."
"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."
"An extensively documented, easily digestible, occasionally irreverent, and always engaging look at parasitical zombifiers."
--Booklist "Utterly engrossing (no pun intended) . . . [Simon's] splendid narrative voice can't help but evoke an enthralling documentary. Conversational and engagingly funny, Simon captures the reader's mind like a wasp larva virus in a ladybug."
--Shelf Awareness "This book is fantastic! The sci-fi stories you've read barely hold a candle to the gruesome ways in which parasites manipulate their hosts in real life. This book will make your skin crawl with some of the best examples of manipulation we've encountered, fascinate you with what we know about how parasites achieve these amazing feats of control, and leave you wondering what this all means for the nature of free will. You'll be thinking about this book long after you're done reading it."
--Kelly Weinersmith, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything "Matt Simon is, to borrow his term, a zombifier: Plight of the Living Dead will infect your brain, forcing you to spout a stream of bizarre facts--about fat-sucking worms, muscle-eating fungi, brain-stabbing wasps--until your friends buy the book for themselves, and the chain of infection continues."
--Mark Essig, author of Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig "A gruesome, fascinating, and somehow hilarious exploration of the most devious, mind-altering tactics of the bug wars. I found myself cringing, laughing, learning, but most of all thankful I'm not an ant."
--Cody Cassidy, author of And Then You're Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling over Niagara