I'm appointing myself international head of something for only the second time in my life.*
Say hello to your Worldwide Zombie Commissioner. It's a lifetime appointment, so get used to it. I felt it was necessary to ascend to this post for one main reason: there seems to be too much leeway in what constitutes a true zombie nowadays. Zombies, like Hansel, are so hot right now, and some creators are taking too many liberties for my tastes.
My incontestable decrees:
Decree the First) With apologies to 28 Days Later, which was awesome, a real zombie has to have died and then been reanimated, not just be hyper-PMSing. There is no wiggle room here.
Decree the Second) With no apologies to recent George Romero, who has done his best to destroy his creation, zombies can't learn.
Decree the Third) Zombies don't remember. I may or may not have violated this in a short story recently, but only slightly. Still, I'll assess myself a hefty fine.
Decree the Fourth) As they don't breathe, zombies really shouldn't groan, either. I suppose they could in the beginning before they've gotten rid of all the air in their lungs. The zombies in my novel are silent, which I think is way creepier, but I often look past this one for dramatic effect.
Decree the Fifth) Zombies do not, I repeat, DO NOT, develop any kind of superpowers. I've seen it, and hated it every single time.
Decree the Sixth) Here's a question I've been asked more than once in the last month: "Fast or slow zombies?" Honestly, I'm fine with both. Fast in the beginning, slow later on makes sense. Thanks to Max Brooks for making me see the light on this one.
Decree the Seventh) Zombies do not reproduce. Just...no. Let's move on.
Decree the Eighth) The origin of the zombie outbreak is preferably a virus of some sort. Man-made, alien, etc...I've seen them all from time to time and it generally works. No magic spells, please. Unless you're really good.
Decree the Ninth) The infection is spread through bites. Bites.
Decree the Tenth) Hit the head or you're dead.
That is all. For now.
*I'm also International Commissioner of One-Hit Wonders. The world needed this more than you know. If I hear one more person say that a-Ha or Cutting Crew was a one-hit wonder, I'll scream.