Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Criticize Your Favourite Book, Show, or Movie

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Poster for the tv show The Last of Us. Poster shows the two main character, Ellie and My favourite pieces of media can shift a lot over time, but I will follow the rules and only give one answer this week. 😉

One of the shows at the top of my list is The Last of Us. You’ve all probably heard of it already, but if not it was a science fiction zombie show based on a video game that came out last winter.

The first zombies in this universe were created when they ate food made from (or were otherwise exposed to) flour that was contaminated with the cordyceps fungus (This was strongly hinted at in the first episode, so it’s only a mild spoiler).  In the real world, certain types of this fungus really do infect ants which still scares me a little.

Here are my criticisms of this show:

1) Normal human body temperature is too high for cordyceps to survive in. Some people literally eat this fungus as a dietary supplement or food, and it has no ill effect on them.

2) It’s rare and difficult for an organism like a fungus to learn to jump species, especially ones that are as wildly different as humans and ants. They would have probably had to learn how to infect many other species between us before people were ever in danger, so the characters should have had many generations to notice this was happening and stop it.

3) Given that the vast majority of people do not eat raw flour or raw dough, how did the cordyceps surviving the scorching heat of baking process and manage to infect so many folks nearly simultaneously?

4) The mycologist in one of the first episodes of this show say there are no treatments for fungal infections, but that’s false. Yes, some fungal infections can be difficult to treat, but this isn’t a completely new and unknown pathogen by any means. We currently have many different anti-fungal medicines, after all.

Basically, I wanted the scientific explanation of the origins of this disease to be more accurate. Apparently, I can believe that cordyceps could take control of the human mind and turn folks into mindless zombies in this universe, but I can’t suspend disbelief when to comes to the idea of anything surviving being baked in an oven for an hour. Ha!



Filed under Blog Hops, Science Fiction and Fantasy

10 Responses to Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Criticize Your Favourite Book, Show, or Movie

  1. Haha! I love this show, too, and also had similar questions. All good points well made, I think!

  2. The thing here is, you can used a show like this to explain science, just like you did. Bravo.

  3. Is it possible that the zombie-creating fungus is a new strain that can hand-wave your objections?

  4. The legend I read first was that zombification was done by feeding people a toxic herbal brew. Supposedly if the brew was made just right the victims would lose most of their consciousness but be able to work like maniacs for a day or so before they died. The word was Haitian; so were the people who allegedly achieved this result.

    I don’t now remember the author and title, but this was discussed in a nonfiction book that was in libraries in the 1970s. “Shadow People”? Title or chapter title? It discussed possible real-life origins of “fairies” as people who went underground after tribal wars, vampires as victims of a rare disease, etc.

  5. I’ve seen a lot of different zombie films and shows, and I’ve never been keen on the science behind them. I think I overthink these things 🙂

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