A review of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s “Cemetery Man” in This Strange Way of Dying (Exile Editions, Forthcoming 2013).
By Derek Newman-Stille
When you are in a battle against an enemy that keeps bringing forth the resurrected dead, the worst thing that can happen is when you find yourself tended to by their doctor. In “Cemetery Man”, Catalina finds herself under the ministrations of a Frankensteinian doctor, affectionately called Cemetery Man. Pain runs through her body as Cemetery Man conducts experiments on her, changes her to suit his own ends and those of the military units that support him. He is the ultimate expression of the ability of science to be forced to express political ends. Research is placed above patient needs and the push of politicians for results causes a total abandonment of the statutes of medical care.
In a civil war, like in any war, bodies become disposable, food for the war machine, and Catalina finds herself trapped between allegiances, being used in multiple ways and having her agency ripped from her while struggling to maintain some form of selfhood separate from the political agencies that rob her of power. The zombies surrounding her in Cemetery Man’s lab are the ultimate expressions of the disempowerment of people that often accompanies war – they become the ultimate soldiers, feeling no pain, unable to question their circumstances or their orders, and relegated to the position of murderous machines. But no one is really free of the zombieism that accompanies war, the march with one foot in the grave and control taken into the hands of another.
To find out more about Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work, you can visit her website at http://silviamoreno-garcia.com/blog/ . To read this story and others from This Strange Way of Dying, you can explore it athttp://silviamoreno-garcia.com/blog/this-strange-way-of-dying/ . This collection will be available in the fall.