Everything young adult novelist Sean Beaudoin writes is cutting-edge, fast-moving, and fun. If you haven’t read his first three books (Going Nowhere Faster; Fade to Blue; and You Killed Wesley Payne) you’ll probably want to after you devour his newest book, The Infects. The Infects is funny, thrilling and suspenseful. And, best of all, it features zombies! Here are Six Sex Questions for Sean Beaudoin:
We must discuss Zombie sex. Is it possible? Would it be smellier than normal sex? And, why isn’t there more of it in fiction?
Yes, it is definitely possible. And it can be very, very hot. A certain obliviousness to foul smells and generalized effluent is something any smart dystopian must develop quickly. Does zombie sex stank? Well, sure. But if you mean does it smell 20% more than lightly-nibbled National Guardsmen piled high in the noonday sun and blocking the last exit ramp into Queens, the answer is no.
There is very little zombie intercourse in fiction because fiction is afraid. Not of the shambling undead, but of sex itself. All sex. For whatever reason, the last few decades have seen the rise of a generation of Mailer and Roth-repudiating neuter authors who fetishize candle-scented air and the sort of sensitivity smeared on the rubber mats of their Understanding Your Partner workshops. They’re paralyzed by the thought of allowing themselves to be vulnerable in the face of (thinly-veiled) literary desires. As it turns out, the prose in sexually healthy countries like Poland and Vietnam is absolutely inundated with zombie rut.
Is cannibalism the last sexual taboo? If not, what is?
Cannibalism is just cannibalism. Sometimes it’s sheer survival, sometimes it’s a vestigial cultural practice indulged in by jungle elders doomed to expire of neurological rot, and, very occasionally, it’s a consensual Germanic fetish that can be arranged over Craigslist. But I do think in a fictional and visual sense, part of the surge in zombie popularity comes from the subconscious fantasy of being swamped by an enthusiastic group of others. Surrounded, groped, pulled on, fed upon, licked, bitten, held down and absorbed. Giving in to the inevitable. It’s not a taboo as much as it is a repudiation of monogamy.
I loved Nick in The Infects. He is exactly the kind of guy I would have wanted to make out with in high school (except in my life we’d be parked in some old, red Karmann Ghia along the beach). Did you intend for him to be “sexy” like that? Is he based on anyone in particular?
Nick inhabits the weird envelope of enigmatic indifference and calculated emotional constipation that I spent the better part of my teens and twenties pretending was a political stance. Or a matter of personal style. You could call it deep research. Or pure delusion. Oddly, a certain type of female invariably seems to find this pose irresistible, regardless of the relative douche quotient of the young male who employs it.
Much like Nick, that stance germinated for me in the profoundly naive summer of my fifteenth year, when I honestly thought I could be both a professional basketball player and a badass street poet who hustles debutantes and does a little zombie-fighting on the side.
On the other hand, any woman who wants to be parked at the beach in an old red Karmann Ghia (presumably with a mostly empty bottle of Chianti on the floor and Nick Drake crooning out of the cassette deck) is one I happen to find irresistibly sexy. So it’s probably a good thing we grew up on opposite coasts, or we’d already be long-divorced and arguing via text about who gets to spend Easter and Christmas with our arrogant teenage son. Not to mention the pink slip to the car.
There is a sort of inter-species love affair going on in The Infects. I find it as fascinating as it is repellant. Can you explain yourself here?
In ten years, what most experts have come to call “Necro/Extant Congress” will be as accepted throughout society as any other love that once Could Not Speak Its Name. When President Hillary steps aside after a second term, her Vice President (the cross-dressing, party-betraying, polyamorous, no longer closeted zombie-fucker Paul Ryan) will take over and lead our country into a newfound era of sexual freedom(s). His greatest triumph will no doubt be single-handedly ramming the 28th Amendment through a bitterly partisan congress: the naming of the Galt 3000 as America’s official strap-on.
Unlike many of the YA books I’ve read, The Infects is very male-oriented. Yet, amidst the carnage, there’s a lot of tenderness in Nick’s relationship with his sister Amanda, and a sweet love story with the pseudo-Goth Petal. Oh, there’s also a same-sex couple, which was unexpected and totally refreshing. Were you trying to cover every angle of love?
Hey, listen, I’m just trying to Cover The Waterfront.
Who do you think is the sexiest non-human in fiction? Explain yourself!
I always thought Bugs Bunny was totally hot when he dressed up like a 50’s sweater pin-up and put on red lipstick and had his ears lying down flat like Veronica Lake. As a nine-year-old it was tough to know exactly what shoebox to cram those feelings away in. But I guess Looney Toons doesn’t count as fiction, does it? In that case I’d have to say Cthulhu. I long to be one of its many worshippers, naked at low tide and chanting “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” while a laudanum-addled Mr. Lovecraft nods with approval. Being a pale minion seduced by the siren call of that ancient and perpetually immersed chunk of rubbery evil would be sexy as hell.