The fifteenth entry in the Bury Me With… series features a genre author who has utilised the power of the internet with his free series fiction, garnering word-of-mouth recommendations like no other: David Wellington came to prominence with his Monster Island zombie series. He’s thought long and hard about his choice…
Assuming that I am cremated, as I would prefer, I wouldn’t like to take any books with me at all. I’m not in favor of burning books under any circumstances. Not even Twilight.
If I were to be buried in a traditional pine coffin, a circumstance which presumably would only happen if I died anonymously in some foreign land, perhaps a tropical country where bodies are required by law to be buried as quickly as possible, well. It’s unlikely that the kindly folks who bury unknown bodies would waste any more money on buying books for the anonymous deceased. If they did, I hope that some cosmic twist of fate would make sure it was one of my own books that I was buried with. Hopefully – and here we’re getting into the realm of extremely unlikely events – they would also seal the book in some kind of plastic that would last a very long time. The whole point of these improbabilities is that when my bones are eventually uncovered by some future society, the highly advanced energy beings who dig me up will either a) realize that these are the bones of a long forgotten but underrated author from another era, or b) be so confused that I will become one of those unsolved mysteries of history that bother people so much.
In the far more likely, if less sanguine prospect that I was somehow buried alive – that is, if I was to fall victim to some sort of deep, coma-like sleep but a (highly incompetent) doctor mistakenly diagnosed me as, in fact, dead, and the coroner, all the morgue assistants, funeral home director (too cheap to embalm my “corpse”), and family all failed to correct the mistake – then I would like to be buried with a blank book for use when I wake up inside my coffin. Given the conditions that I never obtained in life, i.e., peace and quiet, plenty of free time, and no high speed internet access, I believe I could finally write my masterpiece. Hopefully I would finish it before I asphyxiated.
Alternatively, if all of the above happened but – cruel fate – I was accidentally buried, alive, with a blank book but no pen or pencil to write with, I would at least be able to appreciate the terrible morbid irony of the situation.”
David Wellington is the author of seven novels. His zombie novels Monster Island, Monster Nation and Monster Planet (Thunder’s Mouth Press) form a complete trilogy. He has also written a series of vampire novels including (so far) Thirteen Bullets, Ninety-Nine Coffins, Vampire Zero and Twenty-Three Hours, and in October of 2009 began his new Werewolf series, starting with Frostbite (all with Three Rivers Press).
In 2004 he began serializing his horror fiction online, posting short chapters of a novel three times a week on a friend’s blog. Response to the project was so great that in 2004 Thunder’s Mouth Press approached Mr. Wellington about publishing Monster Island as a print book. His novels have been featured in Rue Morgue, Fangoria, and the New York Times.
- Visit David’s website at http://www.davidwellington.net
The zombie Nazi film sub-genre is, like everything else these days, not the obscure, difficult to discover (and fund) thing it once was. The atmospheric Outpost (although, were they really zombies, or ghosts, or…?), and the blood-drenched zombedy Dead Snow both made positive contributions to the list that began with Shockwaves back in 1977 and then all but expired with the mouldy cheese that was Oasis of the Zombies (1981) and Zombie Lake (1981).
The most recent addition to the canon (although it was made in 2006) is the ultimately disappointing Zombies of War (as it’s known in the UK on DVD; Horrors of War elsewhere). Many of the reviews on the Internet Movie Database have referred to ZoW as being referential to the ‘classic’ B war movies of old, but, you know, arguably there’s not much call for this sort of approach these days, (unless you’re Tarantino), so as someone states, why bother?
A new independent British zombie film following in the footsteps of the adequate The Zombie Diaries, and the more polished, if unseen to date, The Dead Outside (will someone please give these guys a DVD deal? In fact, put all three movies into a cool little box-set please), Colin has been touted around with the story of a £45 budget spent on tea and biscuits. If that’s true then all well and good, but the film itself certainly stands up to geek analysis without the aid of a gimmicky marketing campaign, and will receive a deserved short run and DVD release in October.
Colin is the eponymous central character whom we meet returning home one afternoon. It soon becomes apparent there’s anarchy in the streets of Wandsworth, South London as gunshots and explosions fill the City air and he washes his blood-soaked hands and knife. Colin has been bitten and after fighting off his flatmate we witness his inevitable un-birth. The film then follows our hero around the streets of London as he slowly descends into a state of fully-fledged zombie. For a zed geek like me this is one of the most interesting aspects of the film as, initially, Colin appears to have a certain amount of intelligence to his actions, maybe considering whether or not to tuck into some easily available flesh as the more developed around him flood the streets and chase down the unfortunate survivors. Read more
Another twist on the zombie genre – a neurological pandemic has swept the United Kingdom, but those with the infection don’t die immediately, becoming increasingly incoherent, unstable and violent. The infection mutated, went airborne and the government’s so-called vaccine only slowed down the symptoms. The result: the infectious period was extended and the disease spread unnoticed and the virus wiped out most of the misinformed population. Six months later, and the landscape is littered with wandering psychopaths and scavenging survivors.
Seeing this on the shelves was a joy to behold, not only because it’s the latest in Abaddon’s Tomes of the Dead imprint, (the previous tome I read, Al Ewing’s I, Zombie was a successful if somewhat quirky amalgam of sf (alien invasion), noir crime (private investigator), horror (bucket loads of the gory stuff) and the undead (the private investigator)), but also because Simon Bestwick‘s name adorned the rather day-glo cover that rather cheapens this powerful and decidedly different take on the zombie-trope.
To this reader, Bestwick is amongst the frontrunners of the niche world of the macabre ghost story; his A Hazy Shade of Winter was the first Ash Tree Press title I bought. Not only did his tales of contemporary hauntings, both in the mind and of the land, take a firm hold on me, they also alerted me to that publisher’s high quality catalogue. His latest collection, All the Pictures of the Dark is available from Grayfriar Press – I’m three stories in and have no hesitation recommending it on the strength of those alone. Plus Bestwick’s up for a British Fantasy Award for Best Novella with The Narrows in September at the Fantasycon in Nottingham. Now he’s been given the chance to write a mass-market paperback and the tantalising possibility of him lending his powers of atmospheric suggestion to a full-blown zombie apocalypse was one I could not deny mself, and I applaud Abbadon for adding him to their roster. Read more