Zombies: More Recent Dead


ZombiesMoreRecentDead_coverJacques L. Condor (also known as Maka Tai Meh) has written one of the spookiest tales in this collection, and one of the hardest to put down. “Those Beneath the Bog” is a story of culture and spirituality running up against deadly secrets of the past. Prunie and her husband Martin are hunting for moose along with her aunts, an uncle, and several other members of her aunts’ home town. The hunt is difficult, and leads them at last to the shores of Rabbit Lake, where there are rumored to be not only moose aplenty, but also dark, evil spirits lurking in the sink hole at the center of the lake’s northern bog. But when Aunt Rosie prophecies the death of two of their hunting party, will the others listen? And if they don’t, will two be the only ones who die?

This story is super chilling. On my tight time-schedule with the Little Guy, I saw the page count on this one and thought there was no way I’d be able to gather enough minutes to read the whole thing, but I’m telling you: two pages in, and you won’t be able to stop even if you wanted to. Mr. Condor’s descriptions of Rabbit Lake and the truly terrifying creatures lurking there will have you shivering even in the summer heat. Spooky and delightful, this is one not to miss!

Prepare yourself for the coming apocalypse and save yourself a copy of Zombies: More Recent Dead before it’s released in September! You can pre-order a copy from Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, IndieBound, or Amazon.

1. The Writing Question: Do you have an element of writing (plotting, characters, world-building, dialogue, etc.) that comes more easily to you than others? Any you find particularly difficult?

For me, it’s the the dialogue. I have been a people watcher for 70 plus years. I love to listen to the way people talk, their accents, their use of colloquial words and phrases, and my mind stores them all away. Also, I was a professional actor for fifty-odd years before I came to writing, and for an actor, dialogue is the first clue to your character.

The most difficult thing for me is plotting. It is almost always drudgery for me.

2. The Zombie Question: What is your favorite work of zombie fiction (literary, film, comic, etc.)?

At age 86, I am probably the grandfather of all the other authors in this collection. I came into the world of zombies in the 1940’s during the Second World War, when America sent troops to the Caribbean and Central America, and they brought back stories of zombies. My two favorites are antique films: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, and Gail Sondergard in “The Cat and the Canary” and the utterly terrifying performance of Boris Karloff in “I Walked With a Zombie”. Incidentally, there was never any talk of “brains” and eating human flesh in the early zombie world of film and literature.

3. The Random Question: Where is one place you think everyone should have the chance to visit in their lifetime?

That’s easy. Alaska and the Yukon and the northern portions of British Columbia. IT is such a different world, and the many cultures of the aboriginals are a source of inspiration to any visitor.
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Jacques L. Condor (Maka Tai Meh, his given First Nations tribal name) is a French-Canadian Native American of the Abenaki-Mesquaki tribes. He has lived in major cities, small towns, and bush villages in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest for fifty-plus years. He taught at schools, colleges, museums, and on reserves about the culture, history, and arts of his tribes for twenty years as part of the federal government’s Indian education programs. Now 85, Condor writes short stories and novellas based on the legends and tales of both Natives and the “oldtime” sourdoughs and pioneers. He has published five books on Alaska. Recently, his work appeared in five anthologies: Icefloes, Northwest Passages, A Cascadian Odyssey, Queer Dimensions, Queer Gothic Tales, and Dead North.

ZombiesMoreRecentDead_coverIf you’re tired of all the modern-day twists on zombies and want something eerie from a deeper past, look no further than “What Still Abides” by Marie Brennan. Set in pre-Christian England among druids and runes, Brennan weaves a chilling tale of death gone wrong. When a corpse refuses to stay down in his grave, the strongest magics and warriors come to the ruling eorl’s aid. But can anything be stronger than Death itself?

This story is chock full of mood and atmosphere; I dare anyone to turn the page on this one without feeling the chill of the  moorish winds.

Prepare yourself for the coming apocalypse and save yourself a copy of Zombies: More Recent Dead before it’s released in September! You can pre-order a copy from Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, IndieBound, or Amazon.

1. The Writing Question: What is your typical writing routine? Do you write every day, some days, only when inspired?

I’m a night owl, and always have been. It’s like my brain turns on at ten p.m. Since I’m lucky enough to write full-time (thanks to the support of a gainfully employed husband), this means I work at night, usually going to bed somewhere between one and three a.m. When I’m working on a novel, I write nearly every day, with a minimum wordcount I have to hit before I let myself stop for the night. In between novel drafts, though, it’s much more hit-or-miss.

2. The Zombie Question: What enticed you to writing this zombie story?

“What Still Abides” is inspired by the English folksong “John Barleycorn,” which is one giant metaphor about the making of beer. The last line is “and we shall drink his blood!” — i.e. the beer — but that made me look back at all the lyrics about the awful, violent things they did to try and kill John Barleycorn, and ask myself what would happen if I took them literally . . . .

3. The Random Question: What other projects do you have forthcoming that you’d like to share with us?

I’m currently writing Chains and Memory, the sequel to an urban fantasy called Lies and Prophecy that I published in 2012. That will be out in early 2015, around the same time as Voyage of the Basilisk, the third of the Memoirs of Lady Trent.

Marie Brennan is the author of nine novels, including the series Memoirs of Lady Trent: A Natural History of Dragons, The Tropic of Serpents, and the upcoming Voyage of the Basilisk, as well as more than forty short stories. A Natural History of Dragons is a finalist for the 2014 World Fantasy Award. More information can be found at swantower.com.

 

August 25, 2014

THREE QUESTIONS: Jonathan Maberry

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Would you like one catastrophe with your story? Two? How about a zombie apocalypse on top of it all? “Jack and Jill,” Jonathan Maberry’s story in Zombies: More Recent Dead, is not for the weak of heart. Evil comes in threes, as a family struggles to cope with not only the cancer gradually consuming young Jack, but a massive supercell crashing down on top of them. But if straining levees and possible tornados aren’t bad enough, Jack’s twin–Jill–is bitten in a strange riot at their elementary school.

This is no Zomb-nado from SyFy. This is a cataclysm of the worst circumstances possible. The storm, the cancer, and the strange pale-faced people smeared in blood are bearing down on them, and Jack and Jill may not make it out alive.

This is a great, terrifying story, compounding so many mortal fears into one story, it’s impossible not to feel the chill running up your spine.

Prepare yourself for the coming apocalypse and save yourself a copy of Zombies: More Recent Dead before it’s released in September! You can pre-order a copy from Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, IndieBound, or Amazon.

 

1. The Writing Question: What is your typical writing routine? Do you write every day, some days, only when inspired?

I’m a full-time professional writer. I write, on average, three to five novels per year, along with two monthly comics (V-WARS and ROT & RUIN), as well as short stories, novels and novellas. In order to hit all my deadlines without driving myself batty, I’ve learned to be efficient. Much of that discipline comes from my background as a journalist and fifty years of jujutsu.

I write eight to ten hours per day. A little less on weekends. I do fifty minutes of writing each hour, and ten minutes of social media.

I generally outline my work, then dive in and write the opening and then the ending. Then I go back to the beginning and aim everything at the ending. Naturally I vary from my outline during the organic process of writing, but I find structure allows me to be usefully devious when building the plot. Knowing where something is going gives you plenty of opportunities to build clues, develop characters, and sew motifs into the fabric of the story.

As far as ‘waiting for inspiration’, I’m not one of those writers who buys into the self-created mythology of the writer. A writer writes. I don’t sit around like a tortured artiste waiting for the muse to whisper in my ear.

2. The Zombie Question: It’s a zombie apocalypse! Which three people (fictional or not) would you want in your survival team and why? What’s your weapon of choice?

My ideal zombie survival team would include Sherlock Holmes (we need someone who is both hyper-observant and detail oriented), Jack Bauer from 24 (high-degree of combat skills and utter ruthlessness), and my nephew, Chris, who can repair and drive anything with motors and wheels.

3. The Random Question: What other projects do you have forthcoming that you’d like to share with us?

I’m in the middle of my busiest year. I’m currently writing a novel inspired by the DEADLANDS role-playing game and will then launch into a new standalone horror novel about a recovering addict searching for her son, and the monsters who want to stop her. I have a new zombie novel, FALL OF NIGHT, due out on September 2. I also have two new comics –V-WARS (a humans vs vampire ethnic war saga) and ROT & RUIN (based on my bestselling young adult zombie novels). Two of my books, V-WARS and EXTINCTION MACHINE have just been optioned for TV, so I’m working with producers on those. And I’ve recently begun work as editor on a series of anthologies of new X-FILES stories.


Jonathan Maberry is a NY Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and freelancer for Marvel Comics. His novels include CODE ZERO, ROT & RUIN, GHOST ROAD BLUES, PATIENT ZERO, THE WOLFMAN, and many others. Nonfiction books include ULTIMATE JUJUTSU, THE CRYPTOPEDIA, ZOMBIE CSU, and others. Several of Jonathan’s novels are in development for movies or TV including V-WARS, EXTINCTION MACHINE, ROT & RUIN and DEAD OF NIGHT. He’s the editor/co‐author of V‐WARS, a vampire‐themed anthology that will also be released as a board game; and is editing a series of all original X-FILES anthologies. He was a featured expert on The History Channel special ZOMBIES: A LIVING HISTORY. Since 1978 he’s sold more than 1200 magazine feature articles, 3000 columns, two plays, greeting cards, song lyrics, and poetry. His comics include V-WARS, ROT & RUIN, CAPTAIN AMERICA: HAIL HYDRA, BAD BLOOD, MARVEL ZOMBIES RETURN and MARVEL UNIVERSE VS THE AVENGERS. He lives in Del Mar, California wih his wife, Sara Jo and their dog, Rosie.www.jonathanmaberry.com

August 20, 2014

THREE QUESTIONS: Alex Dally MacFarlane

Posted by maggiedot under Publishing/Editing, Three Questions, Writing, Zombies: More Recent Dead
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The title of Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story, “Selected Sources for the Babylonian Plague of the Dead (572-571BCE),” may be nearly as long as the story itself, but its relatively short word count packs a punch. This is a wonderful, colorful tale allowing a stolen glimpse into a long-lost civilization governed by three powerful princesses whose cities are suddenly overrun with hordes of walking dead which all traditional zombie-slaying wisdom fails to eradicate. The detail and styling of this tale make it a delight to read, and the imagery–at once beautiful, then horrifying–will linger.

Prepare yourself for the coming apocalypse and save yourself a copy of Zombies: More Recent Dead before it’s released in September! You can pre-order a copy from Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, IndieBound, or Amazon.

1. The Writing Question: What is your typical writing routine? Do you write every day, some days, only when inspired?

I write fiction alongside other work: freelance work, my Tor.com column, postgraduate study (although I’m in-between degrees at the moment). I’ve also discovered it’s advisable to take time off and regularly exercise. Some weeks I write daily, some weeks I don’t write at all – it really depends on deadlines.

2. The Zombie Question: What enticed you to writing this zombie story?

There’s an Assyrian tablet about a fox falling into a well. I saw it and thought: oh, I need to put this in a story! So I did. The rest of the story grows from an article I read on my MA about the Babylonian princesses Innin-Eṭirat, Kaššaya and Ba’u-asītu: the three women in the story. They were real. The article is “Ba’u-asītu and Kaššaya, Daughters of Nebuchadnezzar II” by Paul-Alain Beaulieu. I wanted to write about these women sending letters to each other. Because I wanted to send a story to a zombie-themed anthology, Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages edited by Steve Berman, they’re sending letters about solving the problem of a plague. I wrote it in one day about a third of the way through my MA.

There’s another letter I love, from Šerua-eṭirat – eldest daughter of Esarhaddon, the king of Assyria – to Libbali-šarrat – wife of Assurbanipal, crown prince of Esarhaddon – where Šerua-eṭirat admonishes/encourages Libbali-šarrat to improve her literacy. The history of women is often flat, uniform, oppressed – the reality is more complex and varied than this. Though it frustratingly omits Babylonian evidence, after opening with a criticism of Herodotus’ oft-cited quote about Babylonian sexual practises, Women in the Ancient Near East: A Sourcebook edited by Mark Chavalas is an interesting introduction to the sources for this region. It includes Šerua-eṭirat’s letter.

In hindsight I wish I had put all of the story in letters instead of using a reconstructed oral tradition for part of it, but that’s perhaps a sign of how my fondness for letters grew during my MA.

3. The Random Question: What are you reading currently?

As I write this, I’m reading a few books! Are All Warriors Male? Gender Roles on the Ancient Eurasian Steppe is a book of articles edited by Katheryn M. Linduff and Karen S. Rubinson trying to examine the piecemeal evidence across millennia and a vast geographical region for evidence of gender roles: a daunting and difficult task, which can at best reach a conclusion of uncertainty, but very worthwhile. The best articles question how we ascribe gender on the basis of skeletons, grave goods and other evidence. Destabilising stereotypical assumptions and perceived uniformity is, in its way, the most important thing. I’m also slowly reading Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences, which looks at contemporary ideas of sex and gender and deconstructs a lot of bullshit. On the fiction side, I’m reading Jonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Volume Eight (short stories!) and Iain M. Banks’ Surface Detail (space!).


Alex Dally MacFarlane is a writer, editor and historian. When not researching narrative maps in the legendary traditions of Alexander III of Macedon, she writes stories that can be found in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Phantasm Japan, Solaris Rising 3, Heiresses of Russ 2013: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction, The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2014 and other publications. Poetry can be found in Stone Telling, The Moment of Change, and Here, We Cross. She is the editor of Aliens: Recent Encounters (2013), and The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women (2014).

August 18, 2014

THREE QUESTIONS: Matthew Johnson

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ZombiesMoreRecentDead_coverI really enjoyed Matthew Johnson’s story in this anthology. “The Afflicted” follows Kate as she wanders the quarantined national park where those carrying the virus have been relocated. The afflicted are the older generation, those primarily in nursing homes but also living on their own, and the disease has an unpredictable development pattern that can switch some into the vicious end-stage overnight and leave others lingering in anticipation of its onset. Kate’s background as a nursing home nurse has confined her to the quarantine park, where she continues to administer help and first aid to the individuals stuck there. But when a young girl shows up in the park unexpectedly, Kate may find she’s responsible for more than just the ailing.

This is a very sweet story of love and familial loyalty, and I highly recommend it. There’s a definite reason Johnson’s story was chosen to kick off the collection.

Prepare yourself for the coming apocalypse and save yourself a copy of Zombies: More Recent Dead before it’s released in September! You can pre-order a copy from Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, IndieBound, or Amazon.

1. The Writing Question: What is the best or worst piece of writing advice you’ve received?

The very best piece of writing advice I’ve ever encountered was from John M. Ford’s essay “Rules of Engagement,” about leaving things for readers to imagine for themselves: “If I told you, you would know less than you know now.”

The worst piece of advice is probably “write what you know,” because it’s so vague that it’s always going to make you worry that you’re doing something wrong.

2. The Zombie Question: What enticed you to writing this zombie story?

“The Afflicted” was actually inspired in part by my annoyance at the second season of The Walking Dead, in particular the stacked “debate” over whether the characters should kill the zombies or corral them in hopes of curing them later. The way the show had defined things, having compassion for them was not only wrong but dangerously foolish — and I’m always suspicious of anything that tells us not to feel compassion for anyone.

3. The Random Question: What are you reading currently?

My reading right now is dominated by the books nominated for the Endeavour Award for which I’m one of this year’s judges.


Matthew Johnson lives with his wife and two sons in Ottawa, where he works as Director of Education for MediaSmarts, Canada’s center for digital and media literacy resources. Irregular Verbs and Other Stories, a collection of his short fiction, was published in 2014 by ChiZine Publications. You can follow his work at irregularverbs.ca or on Twitter at @irregularverbal.

August 6, 2014

THREE QUESTIONS: Don Webb

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“Pollution,” by Don Webb, is a tale of exclusion and loneliness, lived out in the heart of a near-future Japan.  All Billy has ever wanted since he was a teenager was to be Japanese. He knows the language, studies the culture incessantly, and now lives in Nagoya as an English teacher. He does everything he can to fit in, to become what he was not born, but all his work seems in vain. But when he encounters an American kyonshi, a mechanically rehabilitated corpse used in the service industry, he gets a chance to glimpse into the hierarchy society in a way he never considered before.

Thoughtful and restrained, “Pollution” will linger in your quiet thoughts long after you’ve set the book aside.

Prepare yourself for the coming apocalypse and save yourself a copy of Zombies: More Recent Dead before it’s released in September! You can pre-order a copy from Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, IndieBound, or Amazon.

1. The Writing Question: What is the best or worst piece of writing advice you’ve received?

All writing (even far-out writing) is autobiographical in some sense.  All autobiography is far out fantasy in some sense.  I learned this from Zulfikar Ghose.

2. The Zombie Question: What part of the zombie trope do you find yourself most drawn to or most irritated by?

The mindlessness of the zombie gives me little room for dialectic.  The living may discover some of their own darkness, what does the zombie learn?

3. The Random Question: What other projects do you have forthcoming that you’d like to share with us?

Hippocampus Press is releasing (August 2014) a thirty year retrospective of my Lovecraftian fiction Through Dark Angles.


 

Don Webb has been published in every major SF/F/H magazine in the English- speaking world from Analog to Weird Tales. He teaches “Writing the Science Fiction Novel” at UCLA extension. He lives with has a beautiful wife and two tuxedo cats in Austin, Texas, where he has been a guest at the four local SF conventions for over twenty years.

July 31, 2014

THREE QUESTIONS: Jay Wilburn

Posted by maggiedot under Author Interview, Publishing/Editing, Three Questions, Writing, Zombies: More Recent Dead | Tags: , , , , , |
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ZombiesMoreRecentDead_coverJay Wilburn’s story in Zombies: More Recent Dead will give you chills. “Dead Song” documents the rise of indie music among the survivors in a post-apocalyptic zombie landscape. There are some great, humorous touches to this story, and Mr. Wilburn’s got a great eye for sidelong commentary, but I guarantee this story will get to you. I couldn’t put it down. The darkness in this one creeps up on you slowly, inching up like a slow tide until it’s all around you and there’s no shore in sight. Beautiful, sometimes funny, and spine-tingling, you’re going to love this one.

Prepare yourself for the coming apocalypse and save yourself a copy of Zombies: More Recent Dead before it’s released in September! You can pre-order a copy from Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, IndieBound, or Amazon.

1. The Writing Question: Do you write for a living or do you have a day job? What about your current financial situation do you like or dislike?

I write full-time. I used to be a public school teacher for nearly sixteen years. The younger of my two sons became ill and we had to make some changes. I quit my job mid year and stayed home with him. My master plan was to write zombie stories to pay the bills. With horror, science fiction, and other genre, I managed to pull it off. I do ghostwriting and freelancing as well and between my own fiction and work-for-hire, I have managed to pay my rent as I stay home with my kids. The writing and the family are all doing well for now.

I tell people that quitting your job to write full-time IS a crazy, stupid idea, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Sometimes it is easier to write when you don’t have the pressure of paying bills with it. Sometimes the threat of starvation is a hell of a motivator. I don’t believe we are nearly as trapped in life as many of us believe ourselves to be. The worst that could happen in following your dreams is that you fail miserably, but that can happen even when you are following no dream at all.

2. The Zombie Question: What do you think is behind the mass appeal interest in zombies for the last 10 years?

The funny thing about this question is that people have been asking it for twenty or thirty years now. People have been predicting the demise of the zombie for just as long too. I think part of it comes down to the fact that fans of the trope are hungry for it. There is tons of bad fiction in all media with some pronounced examples in zombie-related fiction, but that somehow adds to the hunger for something good. The trend seems to be to change up the zombie as the answer, but The Walking Dead is probably the broadest example of the rise in mass appeal in the last ten years and they follow as close to the “Romero traditional” universe of zombies as anything out there. After about season two, I had far more regular people coming up to discuss their zombie plans with me. Story and all its elements rule all. I think the greatest drive in the appeal of the zombie is this unspoken belief in many that the remaining potential is far greater than what has been realized in the kinetic. Whether that is true or not, the majority of fans are waiting to see what comes next as they feed on everything they can get.

3. The Random Question: What is you favorite hobby other than writing?

I enjoy archery. In just about everything I do, writing is on my mind. Travel, being with friends, reading, running errands, etc. Everything I do is processed and analyzed in my mind before, during, and after from the standpoint of pieces for future stories. Archery is one of those activities that allows me to turn off the machine. I might still be thinking about killing zombies as I’m doing it, but aiming and hitting the target shuts off the processor for a little while.


Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in the swamps of coastal South Carolina. He left teaching after sixteen years to care for the health needs of his younger son and to pursue writing full-time. He has published Loose Ends: A Zombie Novel with Hazardous Press and Time Eaters with Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. Follow his many dark thoughts at JayWilburn.com and @AmongeZombies on Twitter.

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