"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov
Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
"F" is for "Fat"
Let’s talk a little bit about FAT ZOMBIE. Contradicting the name, the anthology is not actually about fat zombies, per se, it’s about fat people. Fat people, old people, handicapped people, and just plain weird people. The point, as I understood anthology curator Paul Mannering’s submission call, was to focus on schlubs and losers, the unusual survivors of a zombie or otherwise apocalypse, rather than the thin, athletic, sexy people we normally see on TV.
(Of course, one supposes that no matter how overweight you are at the beginning of a zombie outbreak, by the end you ought to be pretty svelte. Or dead. But I digress…)
This is a “fresh” collection, or maybe that’s not the word, but all of the stories are unpublished. Which is probably for the best, but when I heard the submission call I immediately thought of one of my all-time favorite horror shorts, “Jerry’s Kids Meets Wormboy” by David J. Schow. If you’ve never read this brief masterpiece…well, I won’t belabor the point, just go find it and read it. It strikes me as the quintessential FAT ZOMBIE story, and for all I know may have been the inspiration for it.
Bearing that in mind, I considered it a sort of an obligation to write something transgressive. The result was “The New Dark Ages,” easily by darkest, most extreme piece both in style and content. To date, my most transgressive work, by almost all measures, is THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO. I have to say, though, that what few taboos I had left untrampled in TGA I finally got around to in “The New Dark Ages.” I didn’t even really do that intentionally, it just so happened that there were a couple of double-plus-creepy things that fell into place with “The New Dark Ages.”
“The New Dark Ages” actually features some characters I’m pretty familiar with. They show up again in my on-again, off-again labor of love KINGDOM as well as the forthcoming sequel to TGA (though, once you read the short, it’ll be fairly obvious that the ones in the ghoulverse are alternate iterations.) But, yeah, long story short, Lucky, Mercedes, Nick, Harvey, and Jenny are characters with a lot of baggage, a lot of background, and I know them pretty well. It was kind of disturbing to me, even, to take them in such a dark direction, even though I knew it was just for a one-off and “didn’t really happen.”
(Of course, nothing anyone writes “really happened” – it’s just squabbling over what’s canon or not, you know. And “The New Dark Ages,” as I said, is not canon, at least, not in the ghoulverse.)
I don’t really have any special reason to pimp FAT ZOMBIE. I got paid a lump sum outright for it, so its sales don’t really affect me one way or another. But I am very proud of the story of mine that it includes, not to mention that it also includes work from such luminaries as Rachel Aukes and Jay Wilburn. So do yourself a favor and grab you up a copy of FAT ZOMBIE. I guarantee you won’t regret it…or, maybe you will. Who the fuck am I, Svengali?
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