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FRANK SWAIN is a science writer living in London. Born in 1982, he has a BSc in biology from the University of Wales, Bagnor, and an MSc from Cranfield University. In 2006, he created, a website devoted to the fringes of science ('Spiky and amusing sceptical blog, with a focus on the politics of science and popular culture', The Times) and hosted on the ScienceBlogs portal run by Seed Media Group and National Geographic. He has contributed to a wide range of publications such as the Guardian, Telegraph, The Times, New Scientist, Wired, Focus, Stylist and Slate; presented 'Voodoo Wasps and Zombie Worms', a documentary for BBC Radio 4, and conceived 'Human Guinea Pig', a popular science television show, for Bravo; discussed science issues on national television and radio; and worked with a wide variety of hosts to bring science topics to life, including the Wellcome Trust, BA Festival of Science, University of Cambridge, Imperial College, and the Secret Garden Party and Shambala festivals. He is currently national coordinator for science training for journalists at the Royal Statistical Society in London. HOW TO MAKE A ZOMBIE is his first book.



Frank Swain's website

Featured titles


The Real Life (and Death) Science of Reanimation and Mind Control


Swain serves up a ghoulish treat… Packed full of bizarre research and jaw-dropping tales, his book succeeds in being simultaneously entertaining, informative, and slightly unnerving – Alex Boese, bestselling author of ELEPHANTS ON ACID and ELECTRIFIED SHEEP


Delightfully macabre… Swain has pulled off a masterful feat in this broad-ranging and fascinating book. Braiiiins! – Lewis Dartnell, Research Fellow, University of Leicester, and author of LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE


Gripping... reads like a non-fiction version of a Stephen King novel — you'll stay up all night reading it with goose bumps and the lights on – Michael Shermer, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of THE BELIEVING BRAIN and columnist, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN

Quite apart from being surrounded by zombies, are we zombies ourselves?


From commonplace zombie animals in your back garden to military mind manipulation of humans, HOW TO MAKE A ZOMBIE explores our hundred-year scientific quest to control the bodies and minds of fellow humans. It is packed full of previously untold stories from the most incredible annals of scientific literature: animals brought back to life; unsuspecting citizens dosed with zombifying drugs by secret agents; Soviet experiments in which organs are kept alive when separated from the body; microbes that can cause insanity; parasites that can manipulate their hosts in startling ways, forcing unnatural behaviours, sex changes and suicide; the burgeoning black market in cadavers; how to design the perfect plague; and how, despite our supposed intelligence, we all remain extraordinarily susceptible to manipulation.

But unlike any other book on attempts by humans to influence each other, HOW TO MAKE A ZOMBIE plots a course into the highly unsettling territory where human mind control is orchestrated from within by tiny pathogens, and worse still, by nothing at all -- where the architecture of the brain itself and the world around it interfere with rational thought. In this way it ties together disparate subjects from the trypanosome parasites of South America to interrogation techniques in Iraq, from psychologists reducing crime through urban design in Manchester to doctors treating schizophrenia with antibiotics in Ethiopia. It reveals the advances in medicine and technology that are making Hollywood fiction a reality. And it deals with the questions raised by these advances: When is someone truly dead? What is the legal status of someone who has died but lives on? And if parasites can bend minds, encouraging impulsive or even violent behaviours, could those infected be acquitted in a court of law?

Entertaining, eye-opening and mind-bending in its own right, HOW TO MAKE A ZOMBIE concludes by reminding us not only that we can be taken over by other organisms, but also that such a thing might have already happened without our knowledge. Perhaps what we consider our own identity might be a chorus of voices, only one of which is human.

Publisher: Oneworld (UK/US)

Published: 6 June 2013

Length: 256 pages

All rights available excluding:
World English Language (Oneworld), Japan (Intershift), Netherlands (Paradigma)