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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

21st Century Dead Roundtable Part 2

Todd Jepperson

Today is the day! It's finally time to grab your own copy of 21st Century Dead: A Zombie Anthology from McMillan and award winning editor Christopher Golden. Also, today is the day we wrap up our zombie roundtable discussion. We’ve already had the pleasure of hearing from contributing authors Jonathan Maberry, S.G. Browne, Stephanie Crawford, and Rio Youers. Today’s line-up features Simon Green, John McIlveen, and Daniel Wilson.

SIMON R. GREEN was born in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, England (where he still resides), in 1955. His writing career started in 1973, when he was a student in London. His first actual sale was a story titled Manslayer, back in 1976, but it didn’t appear till much later; Awake, Awake…. was his first sale to a professional editor, in 1979. Furthermore he sold some six or seven stories to semi-pro magazines before that market disappeared practically overnight.

After years of publishers’ rejection letters, he sold an incredible seven novels in 1988, just two days after he started working at Bilbo’s bookshop in Bath (this after three and a half years of being unemployed!). This was followed in 1989 by two more, and a commission to write the bestselling novelization of the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which has sold more than 370,000 copies.

JOHN M. MCILVEEN has been featured in numerous anthologies, such as: Epitaphs, Childhood Nightmares, From the Borderlands, Deathrealm, and the Monster’s Corner. He spends the rest of his time as a family man and mechanical/electrical designer.

DANIEL H. WILSON is the New York Times Bestselling Author of Robopocalypse and seven other books, including How to Survive a Robot Uprising and A Boy and His Bot. He earned a PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as Masters degrees in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. In 2008, Daniel hosted The Works which aired on the History Channel. The movie adaptation of his novel Robopocalypse will be directed by Steven Spielberg, and is scheduled for release on April 25th, 2014. Daniel's most recent novel, Amped, was released by Doubleday in June, 2012. You can learn more at or follow him on Twitter @danielwilsonPDX.

Let’s wrap this thing up, shall we? 

ZOMBIES&TOYS: To get started, why zombies? What do the shambling hoards of not-quite-dead stir up within you that gets your motor running?

SIMON R. GREEN: Zombies are scary because they used to be people. Maybe even people you knew. But they don’t love you anymore and will eat your soft bits, given the chance.

JOHN M. MCILVEEN: Why not Zombies? I suppose—for me at least--there’s a sense of self-recognition in these shambling, mindless wrecks. Unlike the bad-asses such as Dracula, Alien, and Freddy Krueger, there’s an element of reverse-fuck-withability with zombies. Like us mortals, zombies can be messed with, bullied, hunted for sport, mocked, and even pitied. For me personally, zombies are a story published and a small stipend.

DANIEL H. WILSON: To me a zombie symbolizes loss of control. There is nothing more embarrassing than dying in front of other people. You lose power over your bowels, fall down in awkward positions, and generally make a huge imposition of yourself. It’s like passing out drunk but more permanent and even smellier. That said, I enjoy playing with the idea of losing control or in the case of my story “Parasite,” giving up control to someone, or something, else.

ZOMBIES&TOYS: There was a time when there were only two choices in the world; fast or slow. Today, these monsters can fill any shape you stuff them into. What is your personal favorite brand of zombie, and why?

SIMON R. GREEN: Slow. They’re dead; they’re all messed up. It’s like classic Coke vs. new Coke. You know the real thing when you encounter it.

JOHN M MCILVEEN: I’m a traditional kind of guy, so the Romero-type zombie remains my favorite. I’m also laid-back and tend to move in a slow and steady manner, so I’d have at least a glimmer of hope of surviving. With the more modern Speedy Gonzales zombies of 28 Hours Later, I’d be lunch before you could say fast-food.

DANIEL H. WILSON: Fast zombies appeal to the first person shooter in me, but slow zombies stimulate the turn-based strategic side of my brain. That’s why I can’t have just one. I need ‘em all.

ZOMBIES&TOYS: Contrary to recent headlines, the fact remains that zombies are not real. However, we have been shown many scenarios that could possibly spawn a true life zombie apocalypse (virus, infection, etc.) in the future. Is this strictly an imaginary scenario for you or do you feel the need to make some type of preparations? If so; what are they?

SIMON R. GREEN: Buy gun. Put to head. Pull trigger, when necessary.

JOHN M MCILVEEN: We’re already surrounded by zombies. Go to your local Wal*Mart and see the shuffling, deadpan masses, staring blankly ahead and lumbering mindlessly through semi-life. As for some virus, voodoo, or bug reanimating the dead, that’s simply beyond the realm of possibility… but, just in case, I keep my glock handy.

DANIEL H. WILSON: The part of my brain that determines if a threat is real doesn’t seem to communicate with the part of my brain that obsessively runs through survival scenarios. So, although I don’t really put zombie plague high on my list of things to be afraid of, it is very high on my list of things to prepare for. Stupid brain.

ZOMBIES&TOYS: If the world finally does fall to pieces and you find yourself surrounded by masses of the hungry dead, how long do you think you would survive?

SIMON R. GREEN: See above. Add ; urgency.

JOHN M. MCILVEEN: Oh, I’d say ab…

DANIEL H. WILSON: Hopefully long enough to get my money’s worth out of my Glock 30. Putting rounds through zombies drawn on paper targets barely traumatizes me psychologically anymore.

ZOMBIES&TOYS: Finally, do you have any other projects on the horizon we should keep our eyes out for?

SIMON R. GREEN: My latest Shaman Bond book, (the very secret agent) is just out; LIVE AND LET DROOD. To be followed by my latest Ghost Finders book, (traditional ghost stories in a modern setting,) GHOST OF A DREAM.

JOHN M. MCILVEEN: Look for my novel Hannahwhere and a short-story collection in the not-to-distant future.

DANIEL H. WILSON: My latest novel is AMPED, a techno-thriller about a near future civil rights movement sparked by implantable technology. And I’m currently writing Robogenesis – the sequel to my first novel, Robopocalypse.

… and there you have it. Our 21st Century Dead roundtable discussion is in the books. Speaking of books, head on back to our first post to find a link where you can read John’s short story “a Mother’s Love” and then snag your copy of the anthology from either, Powell’s, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite local bookseller.

Once again, we’d like to extend a HUGE ‘thank you’ to all of the authors who contributed and also to Christopher Golden and McMillan for helping us put this whole thing together. Check back during the next few weeks for our review and follow-up coverage of 21st Century Dead!

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