Welcome to Edinburgh Book Festival, Margaret said to the audience and told us she was told to say that. She then said it again and instructed the audience to cheer at the end. This is truly the form of Margaret Atwood.
“Zombies can’t skate on ice”, Margaret told the audience. Naomi told the audience that we may laugh but this could be helpful survival information when the zombie apocalypse comes.
Valerie grew up in New Orleans and explained it is a very spooky place to grow up. She mainly spent her time reading fairy tales and they can be very dark stories, everything frightened her as a child. This was not helped by the fact she was introduce to Edgar Allan Poe at a very young age. As a young child you realise that adults can be more scarier than monsters.
Naomi’s father read Edgar Allan Poe to her as bedtime stories, this was soon stopped when her mum found out about it, she was 8 or 9 at the time.
Margaret pointed out that this was a very curious parents and mine was always telling me to stop reading as much.
Children love monster stories because they are vulnerable and are subject to their own parents weirdness in reality. Naomi admitted that she was not a zombie fan before she started working on the zombie run app. Zombies are a very modern monster, at this point Margaret asked Naomi to do a zombie impression, which she did. Afterwards she stated that if Margaret Atwood asks you to do a zombie impression, you just do it. There was tales of zombies present in the 1960s but these were voodoo zombies and were very different to the zombie that we know in this age. Zombies apocalypses tend to be more popular when there is an economic downturn. Some of us feel there’s too many people, especially those of us who live in cities. Zombies help us to confront our desire to get rid of them. Plus you get to shoot people in the zombie apocalypse.
In the modern age there has been a twist on how we see monsters, Margaret stated to the audience. Vampires used to be evil, smelly and unattractive. However there is now a sub-genre of paranormal romance and vampires have became desirable, this genre has changed the rules without asking. Vampires used to burn in direct sunlight now they just sparkle. There is now a possibility for monsters to be good. Why do we make friends with monsters? Valerie answered this by stating that humans are the real monsters, in which Naomi agreed.
You can do things with prose fiction that you can’t do with any other form. Valerie agreed with this point and added that the real virtual experience is the novel as it allows access to the author’s brain. The novel is the only thing that can take you completely out of your life and you willingly give your time up to experience it.
Margaret then moved the talk onto that fact that we are all writing under the influence when we live, you can not write a sci-fi or historical novel that isn’t actually about the time you live in. Valerie argued this point that by stating that anyone that writes something from before they were born is taking liberties and has to use their imagination in parts. You have to take fiction to be a mixture of both fact and fiction. History is always written with an agenda and then rewritten 50 years later.
Naomi told the audience that zombies are the only monsters that can be both a victim and an aggressor at the same time. They are walking corpses, imagine what it must feel like to have your loved one, how is dead, trying to kill you. Zombies are a poor representation of innocence and are the only victim that you should be afraid of. The true monsters we should be afraid of are the corporation that created the monsters and banks. We are putting the darkness back where it belongs in humans.
The 5 o’clock witching hour was then upon us and Margaret stated that it was time for them to go back to being writers.