Day of the dead…

So, George A. Romero and Martin Landau both gone within a day or so of each other: the former played a big part in my teenage years as a horror movie fan, with Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and Creepshow among others. All were VHS staples in my house, and all were probably well worn out by the time I got to replace them on DVD.

The latter was a hero earlier in my childhood as Commander Koenig in my favourite childhood sci-fi TV show (apart from Doctor Who), Space 1999.

Landau of course, won an Oscar for his betrayal of another of my heroes, Bela Lugosi, in Ed Wood.

Zombies and sci-fi – there goes my youth!
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On the impending zombie apocalypse…

I was having a chat with a colleague this morning on the way in to the office. She commented on how quiet it had been for the last couple of days and how little traffic there seemed to be. At this I jokingly suggested that perhaps the zombie apocalypse had begun in South West London and that it hadn’t reached the news yet.

When I said that I was looking forward to the event and the opportunity for indiscriminate carnage that it would afford, she laughed and said that if it did in fact occur then she would ‘just have a lie-in’.

This struck me as hilarious. Among all the horror, uncertainty, chaos and, let’s face it, opportunity for advancement and revenge, she’d just pull up the blankets and go back to sleep.

On a chilly autumn morning, it was hard to fault her priorities.

In the Flesh

Just when I think that we are running out of new twists on the dystopian/zombie trope, the BBC has surprised me with its new series, In the Flesh, which started last night.

The world has been through an Рas yet unexplained Рzombie uprising. And, we follow Kieran, a young man who fell victim to the plague but is now part of a government rehabilitation programme. Erstwhile zombies who have been chemically rescued are now labelled as sufferers of Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS). While retaining their undead pallor and corpse-like eyes, they have their brain functions returned to them. To augment this return to normality, they are given make-up and contact lenses in order to appear more normal. Kieran is returned to his anxious family but must contend with a hostile neighbourhood unhappy at the prospect of the undead back in their midst and with his own guilt as he has flashbacks of what he did in his zombie form.

Of course, George Romero toyed with the idea of reformed zombies in Day of the Dead (anyone remember Bub!). More recently, the Governor in The Walking Dead had similar ideas when trying to find a cure for his daughter. But In the Flesh has taken the notion several steps further. While there are angry members of the Human Volunteer Force patrolling the town to seek out reformed undead, there are hints during the episode that there is also an underground (no pun intended), movement of PDS victims with their own agenda.

If you’re in the UK, the first episode is available on the Beeb’s iPlayer.

Is it all a waste of time?

Well, I finished my proposal for my manuscript and submitted it on Thursday evening. I fully expect to be knocked back (the law of averages and all that), and so have been researching other publishers and agents to whom I might be able to submit it. But now I’m wondering of it’s all worth it after reading the Indie today:¬†Is the end of the world really nigh?

I’d quite forgotten that the world is apparently still due to end in 18 days time.¬†In Russia, the more superstitious citizens are panic buying and experiencing mass-psychoses. While in France, the authorities are trying to prevent public access to the one mountain region that is supposedly safe from the impending apocalypse. And, no doubt our own lunatic fringe in the UK will soon be making their presence felt too.

Of course its all a load of bollocks and I don’t believe a word of it. The Mayans after all couldn’t even predict their own end, let alone anyone¬†else’s. But it got me thinking about this strange minority of believers who must at this very moment be sitting around thinking that it’s probably not worth doing anything productive for the next couple of weeks. I suppose though, it depends on what kind of armageddon that you’re looking forward to. The current rise of ‘Doomsday Preppers‘ (as seen on the formerly educational National Geographic Channel), are waiting for a variety of societal breakdowns from which they seek to protect themselves.

Personally, I’m one of those looking forward to the Zombie Holocaust. It’s partly inspired by my recent foray into Zombie fiction, which in turn has had me digging out my George Romero DVDs.¬†It’s also partly inspired by a conversation with my younger son who has already got a game plan for the Zombie attack. Living in a cul-de-sac, he’s already thought out how we might close off one end of our road to prevent unwanted ingress. He also seems to think that I have a hidden stash of state-of-the-art¬†weaponry¬†hidden in the loft, with which we could defend ourselves. I laughed at his¬†suggestions¬†at first, before being drawn in to the whole idea and starting to relish the idea of owning one of those heavy duty pump-action rifles with the spare shells on the side that one character always seems to come across in every Zombie movie.

It would all be guilt-free wouldn’t it? Sure there would be personal loss and mass carnage, but the ability to kill people with gay abandon simply because they were already dead does have some sort of atavistic appeal. I’ve got no excuses, I’m obviously a sick individual! But I’m not alone in that, as evidenced by the huge number of books, movies and TV shows doing the rounds at the moment.

So let the doomsday approach I say. But let it be the right kind of doomsday where we’re able to wage war on the undead and then start over and build a new world when they are all gone. Better still, they’ll need authors in the new future and hopefully they’ll be at a premium, thus opening up¬†opportunities¬†for the rest of us!

Zombies and editor’s block

I’ve been editing my second manuscript with a view to trying to get it in front of some agents – the only trouble is that it’s over 90,000 words in length and every time I go over it, it seems to get a little bit longer.¬†I think that I’m going to just bite the bullet and put it in the post, as I’ve re-written the opening six times now and each time think that it can be improved.

Trawling through the rest of the piece, I keep seeing where I could have enhanced things, but then I come up against a sort of editor’s block and can’t see in which direction to go. Doubtless a more experienced author (rather than compulsive writer), would know how to deal with this, but after writing my first novel at a steady pace of around 2,000 words a day, I’m a bit frustrated that I can’t do more with what I’ve already written.

Any sagacious advice out there would be welcome!

Just finished reading the first three The Walking Dead graphic novels that have been sitting on my shelf since the Christmas before last. Fan of the TV show though I am, the comic book version is more of a roller-coaster ride and a much more exciting experience. Something about the grey and black artwork also adds to the gravity and bleakness of the situation in which the character’s find themselves. It’s got me in a mood to seek out more zombie literature. Already got Julianne Snow’s Days with the Undead: Book One sitting on my desk in front of me and World War Z on my Kindle. I think that I’ll fill my Christmas list up with anything else decent that I come across.