At the outset, Ruination was written to serve an educational purpose. And yet it includes violence. A fair amount of violence. It’s difficult to get away from lopping off heads in a zombie novel. The violence may keep the novella out of many classrooms. But I would submit that violence has a place, at least a place in fiction, for school age children and youth.
Youth, of course, encounter violence everywhere. The one true safe place to encounter it, and think critically about it, is in fiction, and better yet, in a classroom. Ruination represents one such opportunity. The violence is not gratuitous, nor is it inordinately graphic. If I’ve done my job right, it will have an emotional impact because, after all, zombies (the Ruined) are former humans.
Thematically, Ruination is about technology and the degree to which we benefit from the transaction of contributing online. In time will our online lives be more attractive than our offline lives? Will our offline lives be so augmented by digital technology that we will be more online than off?
I’m certainly not the first to believe violence has a place in children’s literature. Thanks to author Robert Runte for pointing my to the work of Gerard Jones. But long before Ms. Jones were fairy tales, and, yes, even zombies.