When I signed the contract with Princeton UP for Zombie Economics, I read the section covering movie rights, and had fun chatting about which of my friends would be best suited to play Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium, Trickle Down (yes, yes, I know!) and so on. Then I found out that Freakonomics actually has been made into a movie, and of course, I wanted the same. But, even in the century of the mashup, it doesn’t seem likely that a polemical economics text could be made watchable just by adding zombies (though I thought the mash worked pretty well in print).
Instead, how about starting with a comic-horror zombie movie, then making the apocalyptic zombie-generating event a financial-economic crisis? That seemed much more promising, and I starting working out the treatment in my head. All was going well until I realized that I was stealing all my best ideas from Charlie Stross. I emailed Charlie, and he said to go right ahead, so I thought at least it would be fun for a blog post.
Over the fold some of the scenes I’ve sketched so far – feel free to make suggestions which I will then feel free to steal in the unlikely event that this goes any further.
Opening – drive-by through a half-built and abandoned housing development, inhabited by squatters, some heavily-armed humans and some zombies. Voice-over and flashback to the apocalypse
Backstory – mutated derivative securities, as in Accelerando, becoming self-aware, then taking over the financial system, and seeking to manifest themselves in physical form. As in the Laundry series, anyone who makes too much progress investigating Gaussian copulas or DSGE macro is vulnerable to demonic takeover, which manifests itself as zombiedom.
At story opening, reference is made to pre-apocalypse zombie outbreaks (2000 and 2008) which seemed to have been successfully contained. But actually, zombiedom spreading all the time.
Zombies deteriorate slowly, and zombiedom can be concealed by the use of appropriate financial cosmetics, so the story will allow for vampire-type plots where no-one knows who is actually a zombie.
Some scene ideas:
Possession by Powerpoint – a straight steal from The Jennifer Morgue.
Zombie Banks – banks run by and for zombies
The Great Moderation – a period of complacent and mindless optimism indicative of the early stages of zombiedom
Efficient Markets Hypothesis – I’m thinking of riffing of random walks here
Zombie Tea Parties – this should write itself
Trickle Down – obviously, this will be the obligatory gross-out scene
That’s what I’ve got so far. New scenes and casting suggestions gratefully accepted