Quite apart from not actually posting here for weeks, I've not done nearly enough to publicise the fact that my brother Nick has self-published a novel which seems to be gaining some approving reviews among fans of the kind of novel it is.
I don't really enjoy the idea of zombies, in the usually understood modern sense. I've no problem (other than credibility, obviously) with the idea of a vodou bokor raising the dead to act as his or her slave -- that kind of zombi I'm perfectly at ease with. It's the contagion-and-pandemic model of contemporary zombiedom which frankly gives me the screaming willies. I've always had a phobia of plague, and the idea of a horde of unwitting, pathetic carriers who don't realise how a pathogen has modified their behaviour terrifies me far more than any mere cadaver risen from the grave.
(Oddly enough, I'm perfectly at ease with the contagion model of vampirism. Indeed, I've happily written about it. Vampires are usually highly selective about whom they recruit to their ranks, however, which leads me to suspect that it's epidemics and pandemics which really terrify me, and not disease per se.)
All of which means I haven't actually read Breaking News: An Autozombiography. I should have, but I almost certainly never will. However, as I say, people who have read it seem to have liked it, so if you're less squeamish than I am about the whole concept you may well like it too. I'm sorry not to be able to provide a less pusillanimous endorsement.
I've just sent off a final submitted draft of my 10,000-word epic short story, "A Hundred Words from a Civil War", to be published in Obverse Books's forthcoming Faction Paradox anthology Faction Paradox: A Romance in Twelve Parts. It is, as you may by now have gathered, a full-on sequel to my Faction Paradox novel Of the City of the Saved..., and I'm immoderately pleased with it.
For reasons which may eventually become clear, I've written eleven additional drabbles which won't form part of the final drabbleplex, but which I will be putting up on my website. I may as well post them here too, as occasional teasers from now until the book's eventual publication date. Meet Mnaea Marla:
Mnaea Marla lies beneath the rubble, clutching the grenade. The enemy are searching the building. It’s only a matter of time. Her left arm is a useless crumpled thing, and both her legs are broken.(These alternative / deleted scenes are all one-offs with no link to the main story, so you're not missing out by not having the context.)
Worst of all, her left head is dead, caved in bloodily under a falling brick. No surgeon can bring back that unique consciousness – her aggravating twin, her friend and lover, her conscience and tempter. They can never be together again now, except in death – death, and the hope of further resurrection.
The enemy are close now. Marla primes the grenade, kisses herself goodbye, and waits.
The book's out in February, supposedly. I'll try to post the other ten drabbles by then. It should force me to blog something every so often, at least.
3. Oh, and...
...There are, incidentally, zombies in "A Hundred Words from a Civil War". But not contagious ones.