What would trigger a zombie apocalypse?

Zombie expert Steven Schlozman: "An epidemic is long overdue"

N24: Mr. Schlozman, the TV series "The Walking Dead" is successful worldwide, zombie films like "Warm Bodies" and "World War Z" attract millions of viewers. What makes the undead so popular?

Steven Schlozman: Zombies are the ultimate threat. They don't care who their victims are. They just attack. Whether it gets that person or the next to it: That doesn't matter for zombies. But everyone wants to be unique. This is what makes the undead so threatening.

Whether zombies, aliens or machines: In the USA there are more and more "preppers" who are preparing for the end of the world. What do you make of it?

The Apocalypse has always played a major role in human history. Many think that then a life that is not so bad will begin. Without work, but with a romantic lantern in front of the door. According to the motto: less is more. We Americans are still fascinated by the border mentality, by the line that separated the then unexplored continent from areas that were already inhabited. But that was a terrible time. People didn't get old, harmless diseases killed them. Today we let ourselves be seduced by such fantasies. There is nothing wrong with such occasional dreams, but if we get too involved we get into trouble.

Do we have to prepare for a zombie apocalypse?

No, we don't have to. There will be no such apocalypse. I worry when I read that Americans are preparing for this.

You have dealt with such a disaster anyway. How did your book "The Zombie Autopsies" come about?

It was more or less a coincidence. In 2008 my wife developed breast cancer. It was a scary time for me. I couldn't sleep at night, so I often watched TV. One day I saw the 1968 zombie classic "The Night of the Living Dead" by George Romero. I thought about these beings. I asked myself: what are you actually suffering from? I sat down at my computer and wrote a hypothetical treatise on zombies.

You first published this on the Internet.

There the text sparked numerous discussions. It continued to spread, and I even received invitations to speak about it publicly. At some point an employee at Grand Central Publishing called me and asked if I could imagine making a book out of it.

"The Zombie Autopsies" is about three UN scientists fighting an apocalypse.

The zombies in my book suffer from ANSDS, a neurodegenerative hunger ataxia. The frontal lobe in their brain is damaged so that they only allow themselves to be driven by their original urges such as anger and hunger. This is also the reason why they constantly crave meat. They eat and eat - and yet they are never full.