Apparently, much discussion has been devoted to this topic. Honestly, I don’t see how there can be any right answer. Dylan, the original Monster Librarian, was a huge fan of zombies in movies and books, and he observed that there were many, many variations on a theme. Zombies have been portrayed as fast, slow, smart, brainless (haha), almost human and about as far from human as possible. Given the many ways they’ve been written and imagined, there’s no reason they couldn’t be expected to swim… is there?
Well, I guess there is that issue of gross motor coordination, but we can’t let details get in the way of imagination. And there is at least one book with an author imaginative enough to create swimming zombies: Sadie Walker is Stranded by Madeline Roux.
There seems to be more evidence that zombies can travel underwater, though. In theory, the undead wouldn’t need to breathe, so there’s no reason they couldn’t just stroll along the ocean floor. Underwater zombies appear in Max Brooks’ World War Z, and also in Brian Keene’s Dead Sea. In popular cinema, there’s evidence of this in Pirates of the Caribbean. And in not-so-popular cinema, but probably familiar to zombie lovers is this scene from the Italian zombie movie Zombi 2, which Dylan described to me over and over again.
To conclude this brief overview of the deep and meaningful topic of whether zombies can swim, I submit that if you would like to offer me your thoughts on the topic, along with your recommendations, you might just get someone new hooked on the zombie genre. Next up, we will try to address the question: is there such a thing as a “good” zombie?