The pandemic has impacted pretty much every aspect of pretty much everyone’s lives. This has been a spiralling, disorientating year for everyone and I don’t know about you, but I think we’ve still got a long, long, long way to go to get back to anything like a semblance of normality.
I’m really missing live events. I watch films and TV shows now and feel a wave of sadness every time I see a crowd. It’s crazy, isn’t it – who’d have ever thought we’d have to spend so much time apart? I’d love to be part of a mass of people again; the collective anticipation of thousands of fans as their favourite band takes the stage, the tribal roar of the supporters when their team puts in a winning performance, hundreds laughing together at a comedian’s jokes, the shared panic as a handful of strangers race through an abandoned nuclear bunker with a pack of bloodthirsty zombies snapping at their heels…
My friends at THE LAST SURVIVORS have been running hugely popular zombie experiences in Essex for almost a decade, and like so many other groups working in the entertainment and creative industries, their business has been decimated as a result of coronavirus. If you’ve not come across them before, have a read of this article from 2012 when my pal Ryan Fleming was dispatched to try their zombie experience for himself.
With almost all of their 2020 events cancelled, THE LAST SURVIVORS are now taking bookings for 2021. You can find full details on their website. If you’re in the area and fancy spending a couple of hours being scared sh*tless in a terrifying Cold War relic, please sign up. The setting is perfect (see here, here and here), and the event is brilliant (don’t take my word for it – check out the Tripadvisor reviews and the stats below).
In the meantime, the team have produced an online experience to tide you through the pandemic. This ties in to the new story the team will be unveiling next year. It’s about an hour long, £9.95 to play, and a huge amount of fun. Play it like I did – lights off and headphones in – for full effect. Click here for more information.
By the way, I’ve been beavering away behind the scenes here, and I missed an anniversary. It’s five years last month since Thomas Dunne Books released AUTUMN. The picture above was taken by me in Barnes & Noble on E 17th Street, New York, on the day of release back in 2010. I still find it hard to believe that my little zombie story – which started out as a free pdf I used to email to folks in the pre-ebook days of the turn of the century – turned into such a monster. Five novels, a short story collection, a movie, a radio adaptation… there’s clearly still a lot of love for the undead.
I’ve just posted my first entry over at Babel Clash – the Borders Scifi blog. It’s about zombies (wouldn’t you know) and why they scare me as much today as they did 25+ years ago when I first watched Night of the Living Dead. Please click here to check it out, and feel free to add to the conversation – it would be great to hear what you think it is about zombies that scares the heck out of so many of us. While you’re there, check out Jonathan Maberry’s post from yesterday about the horror books and movies which have inspired him.
It’s been a busy day today. I’m working flat out on AUTUMN: AFTERMATH right now, but I took time out this afternoon to speak to Ian Berriman from SFX magazine. Ian interviewed me for their forthcoming zombie special (on sale in September). I’ll tell you more about that nearer the time. I think you’ll like what they’ve got planned…
And in other news, the postman delivered issue #5 of SCREAM magazine (with some great features including interviews with Doug Bradley – Pin Head from Hellraiser, and Frank Henenlotter – director of Basket Case, Frankenhooker and various other cult movies I loved watching on VHS back in the day).
And finally, this morning I was asked to blurb the final volume in a hugely popular trilogy of zombie novels. It’s a book many of us thought might never see the light of day, and one I know many of you are looking forward to. Can’t wait to get into that!
Please check out the Babel Clash blog, and come back here tomorrow when another free AUTUMN short will be going online.
Permuted Press have just released The World Is Dead, an anthology of zombie stories looking at life after the dead have risen. There are no outbreak tales here, instead we’re presented with 18 vastly different visions of a world where we’re forced to live alongside the undead.
I’ve worked my way through more than my fair share of zombie anthologies recently. This book – edited by Kim Paffenroth of Dying to Live fame – stood head and shoulders above the rest. It’s bloody good. Recommended reading for any zombie fan.