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brainstorm77
11-25-2014, 01:32 AM
This is something I have never thought about before until today when I got a rejection on a short story for an anthology call. The reason was that my story which had zombies was considered to be paranormal and they only wanted contemporary stories(Though I cannot remember that being specified in the call). So are they generally considered to be paranormal? I'm curious to know others opinions on this since I LOVE practically everything zombie :)

Shadow_Ferret
11-25-2014, 01:37 AM
Contemporary what? Contemporary merely means "current."

Maybe they want contemporary mainstream or something?

Zombies need not apply.

sassandgroove
11-25-2014, 01:39 AM
*shrug*
depends on the zombies I guess. The original term was from voodoo magic used to reanimate a dead body to be a type of servant - so that could be paranormal. But I would think the modern interpretation with a virus as the cause is not...?

brainstorm77
11-25-2014, 01:39 AM
Zombies need not apply.

You're right :)

brainstorm77
11-25-2014, 01:40 AM
*shrug*
depends on the zombies I guess. The original term was from voodoo magic used to reanimate a dead body to be a type of servant - so that could be paranormal. But I would think the modern interpretation with a virus as the cause is not...?

The dead came back through a pandemic.

LeslieB
11-25-2014, 01:46 AM
I would say the classification depends on the cause. Zombies or other undead creatures linked to magic or religion would qualify as supernatural. Zombies created by viruses, meteors, etc. would fit into science fiction. IMNTBHO, YMMV.

Williebee
11-25-2014, 01:55 AM
I'd say zombies, by definition, are paranormal.

That said, word definition and literary definition are just two circles of a VENN diagram.

So, you know, I'm no help.

:)

CrastersBabies
11-25-2014, 02:08 AM
Yeah, voodoo zombies could be explained through the supernatural. Zombies in D&D are undead and created from dark magic (in some worlds). Nowadays, there seems to be a scientific element connected to it.

Samsonet
11-25-2014, 04:17 AM
But can a corpse reanimated through scientific means really be called a zombie? I mean technically they're the same, but I think zombies have a...context? implication? something... of being paranormal or horror instead of SciFi.

They're definitely not realistic fiction, though. :D

Jamesaritchie
11-25-2014, 05:10 AM
As the writer, you create the zombies, and you can use any explanation you like.

From my experience, "contemporary" most often means no genre fiction.

AshleyEpidemic
11-25-2014, 05:32 AM
I read a lot of fiction with zombies. They most frequently fall under science fiction, then horror, then fantasy (which would include paranormal).

Rhoda Nightingale
11-25-2014, 07:21 AM
Zombies don't necessarily fall under the "paranormal" category--they can be fantasy, sci-fi, or horror, depending on the tone of the story and the way you're explaining how they exist--but they resolutely don't fall under "contemporary." Shame they didn't specify that in the call, though.

Wondering what the call did specify, if you don't mind my asking?

jjdebenedictis
11-25-2014, 07:54 AM
I would call zombie stories horror by default, but they really can fall under the umbrella of any speculative fiction category (as AshleyEpidemic mentioned. Edit: And Rhoda Nightingale. :) )

If that editor doesn't normally acquire speculative fiction, then it's entirely possibly they mislabeled your story when they called it paranormal. Thus, before taking their statement too seriously, I'd look into whether they have any expertise in spec fic. If not, you can't expect them to have a good handle on the sub-genres.

frimble3
11-25-2014, 10:08 AM
This is something I have never thought about before until today when I got a rejection on a short story for an anthology call. The reason was that my story which had zombies was considered to be paranormal and they only wanted contemporary stories(Though I cannot remember that being specified in the call). So are they generally considered to be paranormal? I'm curious to know others opinions on this since I LOVE practically everything zombie :)

My bolding. If they only mentioned the 'contemporary' thing in the rejection, that seems odd. Do you have a record of the call for submissions? Or remember exactly what they did ask for?
Because, to me, 'contemporary' means more than just 'set in modern times'. There's an implication of normal, modern life. No elves, no aliens, no zombies. Nothing that couldn't be explained away.

Once!
11-25-2014, 11:53 AM
This sounds like slightly imprecise language, but it's not too hard to work out what they probably mean.

It seems as if the editor is using "contemporary" to mean a story set in the normal everyday world. Their definition of "paranormal" seems to include anything outside the normal world - ie speculative fiction.

Okay, so we might split hairs and say that not all zombies are "paranormal" in its more usual sense. Some might have a science fiction style explanation, such as a virus or pathogen.

But I don't think that's the point here. From what you've said, I take it that they want stories set in the modern world without any speculative elements. You know, relationships and stuff. There's a sign on the door saying "No zombies".

And I'm afraid that you're probably not going to sneak in by saying that your zombies are the scientific kind and not the paranormal kind. Even if you are strictly speaking right.

Becky Black
11-25-2014, 02:37 PM
I agree that contemporary does usually mean, set in the present time and no elements of paranormal, horror, spec fic fantasy or even mystery. So the zombies exclude the story from that, whatever the time period.

brainstorm77
11-25-2014, 02:56 PM
The call has been taken down since it has ended.

I am not pissed off or anything because of the rejection. They want what they want for the anthology and that's that. It wouldn't make sense to include a story that's odd or out of place from the rest. But it did bring the questions to my mind which is why I posted the thread topic.

I'm glad to read others opinions on it because like I stated before, it isn't something I ever thought about.

brainstorm77
11-25-2014, 02:57 PM
And I'm afraid that you're probably not going to sneak in by saying that your zombies are the scientific kind and not the paranormal kind. Even if you are strictly speaking right.

Nor was I trying to. I came here simply to post the question. I don't want to 'sneak in' on anything.

gingerwoman
11-25-2014, 02:58 PM
This sounds like slightly imprecise language, but it's not too hard to work out what they probably mean.

It seems as if the editor is using "contemporary" to mean a story set in the normal everyday world. Their definition of "paranormal" seems to include anything outside the normal world - ie speculative fiction.

Okay, so we might split hairs and say that not all zombies are "paranormal" in its more usual sense. Some might have a science fiction style explanation, such as a virus or pathogen.

But I don't think that's the point here. From what you've said, I take it that they want stories set in the modern world without any speculative elements. You know, relationships and stuff. There's a sign on the door saying "No zombies".

And I'm afraid that you're probably not going to sneak in by saying that your zombies are the scientific kind and not the paranormal kind. Even if you are strictly speaking right.
I know that in romance at least the word "contemporary" is regularly used to mean not just present day, but also no paranormal, fantasy or scifi elements, realistic stories only. Likewise readers know that a romance described as contemporary will not include any paranormal or sci fi elements.

brainstorm77
11-25-2014, 02:59 PM
I know that in romance at least the word "contemporary" is regularly used to mean not just present day, but also no paranormal, fantasy or scifi elements, realistic stories only. Likewise readers know that a romance described as contemporary will not include any paranormal or sci fi elements.

Good to know for the future.

Rhoda Nightingale
11-25-2014, 04:13 PM
I know that in romance at least the word "contemporary" is regularly used to mean not just present day, but also no paranormal, fantasy or scifi elements, realistic stories only. Likewise readers know that a romance described as contemporary will not include any paranormal or sci fi elements.

Yeah, it means this for YA too. Think John Green, Sara Dessen, et al--they're "contemporary" authors. I don't quite get how the word started to mean that, but yeah, basically it's what we call "books set now-ish without things like magic and monsters in them."

DavidMivshek
11-25-2014, 08:16 PM
Zombies regardless of how they became zombies are by nature paranormal because their undead state of living can't be explained using real-world science. You might argue a zombie isn't paranormal within the story of a book, meaning scientists as characters in a book are able to explain the undead state of living within the confines of scientific laws or methods made up in the book. But I guarantee if you or I walked down the street and saw a zombie shuffling their feet either at a distance or approaching us, either made a zombie by the Devil or a virus, you wouldn't be contemplating if the zombie was a normal or paranormal creature. Some still consider extraterrestrials paranormal. Why would zombies be any different?

JustSarah
11-25-2014, 11:28 PM
I always thought it depends on if your even going for undead. Like the whole ebola thing for example.

gingerwoman
12-01-2014, 04:36 PM
Zombies are paranormal no matter what as they aren't real.

Cathy C
12-01-2014, 05:03 PM
One way to think of contemporary, as far as genre, is that if you couldn't read about the event in our present newspapers, it's outside the category. Not speculation or theories, like alien abduction or Bigfoot, but actual evidence considered normal, albeit rare.

Becky Black
12-01-2014, 05:13 PM
My zombie book is classed as paranormal by my publisher, even though they are definitely virus zombies rather than magic zombies. But like people say, there is no zombie virus in reality. Such a virus is almost certainly as impossible as magic, so there's no real difference.