The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

A research facility at Tulane University is conducting studies using recent corpses and dirt taken from a slave graveyard where, presumably, the bodies interacted with the soil. The research is an attempt to create a Bacterially Induced Artificial Personality—a zombie. Zombies never have the personality of the person who died; they are helped by their therapist to realize and explain who they are. This help almost inevitably involves sex. The reanimated are all men, and therapists are chosen in part for their beauty.

Jocundra Verret, a therapist who studied voodoo cults before joining the facility, is assigned to the zombie Donnell Harrison. Harrison is a “slow burner,” meaning that he is expected to live longer than many other zombies. Harrison demonstrates remarkable abilities and, with the aid of another slow burner named Magnusson, he comes to understand his situation exactly. Faced with the prospect of living in the facility until an inevitable, horrible death, Harrison—after Magnusson dies, leaving Harrison his notes—persuades Jocundra to leave with him. By this point they are, in most ways that count, in love with each other.

They escape with another zombie, a man named Richmond who causes some major contretemps before dying. After meeting a faith healer called Papa Salvatino, Harrison realizes that his enhanced vision enables him to see peoples auras and heal them. Jocundra and Harrison return to the Bayou area where she grew...

(The entire section is 417 words.)