In crappy news for Zombie fans

American Movie Channel just made my list.

Last year the big standout hit for the network was their TV series THE WALKING DEAD, based on the awesome ongoing comix book series by Robert Kirkman. The series which premiered on Halloween last year attracted 5.3 million viewers, its season finale drew more than 6 million. Its one of the most successful television series ever produced by the network. In the coveted 18-49 demo is is the biggest numbers of any drama ever shown on basic cable. So what does a success like this breed.

The director Frank Darabount was sacked three days after the company used him to promote season 2 at comic con. They slash the per episode budget available from $3.4 to $2.75 and come up with a series of bone headed suggestions to the save cash.

“The show shoots for eight days per episode, and the network suggested that half should be indoors” and insider points out “this is not a show that takes place around a dinner table”. Another suggestion “couldn’t the audience hear the zombies and not see them saving on make up?”

needless to say I am no longer looking forward to the see what this has wrought for season two.

And next in the kick to the head in stupid ideas 

A synopsis was released by for the movie

“The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.  Enos plays Gerry’s wife Karen Lane; Kertesz is his comrade in arms, Segen.”

serious WTFage????? Have they not read Max Brooke’s book? Here is how the book is described

Brooks plays the role of an agent of the U.N Postwar Commission who published the report a decade after the Zombie War. The United Nations left out much of his work from the official report, choosing to focus on facts and figures from the war rather than the individual stories that form the bulk of Brooks’ novel. The interviews chart a decade-long war against zombies from the view point of many different people of various nationalities. The personal accounts also describe the changing religious, geo-political, and environmental aftermath of the Zombie War.

AFTER THE ZOMBIE WAR NOT DURING and it is not just me who noticed they have fundamentally changed the story.

Topless Robot “And speaking of crushingly disappointing zombie news”

Io9 “WWZ movie synopsis is nothing like the book, internet melts down

Peter Hall over at sums up the problem best. “I Hate you Mac Foster. “
Me too. 

Its starting to look a lot like a Zombie Christmas

Yes its that time of the year.

to also set the scene you might like to sing from Michael Spradlin’s book which takes two dozen christmas carols.

Tiny tot’s eyes are no longer aglow, they’re in a bowl. Good King Wenceslas Tastes Great and we Deck The Halls With Parts Of Wally. You’ll find all the soon to be classic Zombie Christmas Carol Classics, like I Saw Mama Chewing Santa Claus, Zombie, The Reindeer and many, many more.

Good King Wenceslas Tastes Great

Good King Wenceslas tastes great;
We might as well eat Stephen,
When the brains lay round about,
Toasted crisp and bleedin’.
Brightly shown the moon that night,
Though the virus cruel.
When a poor man came in sight,
He made fine undead fuel.
Hither, Zombies chase after her.
Agnes, she is yelling.
Yonder peasant, how she screams,
For her brains they’re a jelling.
Surely she will try to hide
Underneath the mountain,
Or deep in the forest hence
While Agnes is digestin’.
Bring me flesh, and bring me brains.
Bring me Zombies hither.
Thou and I will see them dine;
They even bite through leather.
Free and screaming, forth they went,
Zombies right behind them,
Through the poor souls’ wild lament.
Bitter brains are better.

Happy Holidays

‘Twas the NIGHT Before the uprising

Many thanks to Mira Grant the author of the excellent Feed & Deadline. Whose work I shameless recreate here

T’was the night before Christmas
  when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
The boards had been nailed ‘cross the windows with care
In hopes that the dead would pass by, unaware.

The children were sleeping -the ones who’d survived,
Though no one could say dreams of sugar plums thrived,
And mama with her chainsaw, and I with my gun,
Were just praying our brains would be ours come the sun.

When out of the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my place to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a shot,
Prepared to do battle with ruin and with rot.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Gave a luster of mid-day to zombies below.
When what did my wandering eyes there discern
But a miniature sleigh in a full four-point turn, 

With a steely-eyed driver, a knife in his teeth,
Come here to distribute some holiday grief.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Vincent, Now Stephen! Now, Mira and Jessie!
On, Robert, Romero -time’s come to get messy
 To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away, Dash away, Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of weapons, and Santa Claus too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof, 
Then the fire from heaven came showering down,
Igniting the zombies who clustered around.

They stumbled and fell, faces melting like tallow,
As a voice from behind me said “Youth can be callow,
But son, this is war! Best find your guts quick!”
I turned, and I found myself facing …Saint Nick.

His eyes, how they squinted! His mouth, how it frowned!
He was angry and lean, not a spare ounce or pound.
A bundle of weapons was flung on his back,
And he looked like a soldier, just opening his pack.

“The dead have come looking for good girls and boys,
And they’re not singing carols, they’re not bringing toys.
You’d best come with me, if you want to survive,
You believed in me once. Let me keep you alive”.

It may have been madness, it may have been fear, 
But something about him made everything clear,
So I called for my children, I nodded my head.
“We’ve been good this year. Save us all from the dead”

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Booby-trapping the house ‘gainst those undying jerks,
Then he led us all up to the roof and his sleigh,
Where we took to the air, and we soon were away. 

There are undead galore at the North Pole, it’s true,
But I’d rather give blood than be made into stew,
So we joined Vampire Santa and flew out of sight….
Happy Christmas to all, and to all, a good bite.

Most fun to be had in a Zombie novel for a while

Any book which has George Romero honored as savior of humanity and talks about his shambling re-animated corpse locked in a government research centre is ahead in my book, abiet a severed and rotting head.

FEED by Mira Grant AKA Seanan McGuire, (you’ll never see them in the same room together, is the first book in the NewsFlesh trilogy to which all I can say is: Get cracking woman I want the rest of the story.

The world Ms Grant has built is set 20 years after the rising when an experimental cancer therapy combined with genetically engineered flu virus designed to give immunity to the common cold with one heck of a side effect – It raised the dead.

The amount of thought Ms Grant has given to the sort of world after 20 years of zombies giving rise to infection is impressive. The consideration of the fact that when anyone or decent sized mammal dies it re-animates shows she has spent a lot of time researching the kind of stuff I love to read about: Virus, disease control, emergency response planning and of course the best weapons/ways to take down the dead.

Sarah Palin’s America has come to past with Alaska having been surrendered to the zombies, designated a zone 1.  From the book:

“They can only legally bathe you in bleach for a half a minute unless you’ve been in a Level 2 zone. At that point they can keep dunking you until they’re sure the viral blocks are clean. Travel in a Level 1 zone mean’s they are not legally obligated to do anything but shoot you” 

 The protagonists are a brother sister team of news bloggers following the presidential campaign, but its the attention to detail of the world she builds that I most enjoyed. Sure its a world where you survive the car crash only to face a bite from a passenger who died and reanimated, because everyone carries the virus- it just doesn’t activate unless you die or get exposed to activated virus. It’s also a world where children want to grow up to be leading virologists, the most trusted institution is the CDC and nurses stations are hardpoints.

“A good medical duty station can provide an island of safety for the uninfected, even as an outbreak rages on all sides. If you airlocks don’y fail and you have enough ammo, you can hold for days. One duty station in Atlanta did exactly that – four nurses, three doctors, and five security personnel kept themselves and eighteen patients alive for almost a week before the CDC was able to fight through the outbreak and get them safely out”.

One negative point for me is that all the blood testing units that people carry are ‘Apple’ which conjures up brightly colored plastic equipment that is a triumph of style over substance. 

I guess for a book about bloggers no one would be suprised the book has its own website, click here it carries a nice line in pseudo advertisements.

The bond between Georgia and her brother Shaun is a dynamic I hope we get to explore in the next book Deadline due May 2011.

But what I found best about FEED? In a genre that tends towards  the bleak and sad, and don’t miss-understand there is enough tragedy and despair in this tale to satisfy a teenage Emily Dikinson fan. People die in this story, good and bad, important and minor. In its willingness to kill off people it reminds me of that another great Zombie narrative The WALKING DEAD. But after 20 years of a horrific plague that has touched EVERYONE the human race is surviving and adapting. That no matter what may come or how horrible it will be humanity can make it through.

Thats why its the zombie story I have enjoyed reading the most this year. 

Oh and if the dead do walk and you run into a woman called Mira, do what she says and you might just make it through the rising.

I see FEMA is taking it seriously

We’ve had a few natural disasters around us lately. The earthquake in New Zealand, flooding in the northeast of the state, bad electrical storms towards to South Australian border. Then for some reason a work colleague who recently moved to the Dandenongs and faces bushfire risks asked me about what should go into a Bug Out Bag (BOB).

I don’t know why she asked me?

Might be all the zombie squad posters I have around my office.

I admit I have a bug-out-bag for me and the_weapon, but It’s not like I am over the top or anything. Not like these guys.

This is not to be confused with the Every Day Carry (EDC), which for me consists of a utility tool, a small bright torch, something I can use to light a fire, and duct tape. You’d be amazed how often you can find a use for duct tape. I like this brand.

Of course there are other organisations who are set up to provide advice for when TSHF (The Shit Hits the Fan) one of these in the US is The Federal Emergency Management Agency.  FEMA After Hurricane Katrenia there was a lot of complaints about how FEMA handled the emergency. I have more confidence in the agency now after I saw a picture of the office of FEMA’s Craig Fugate.

Yes there at the front of the pile of books is Max Brooks indispensable tome.

They may not know how to handle wind and rain, but should the undead walk the earth FEMA is ready.


I don’t wanna have to do with out antibiotics

Early notice is a key strategy to surviving the zombie apocalypse.

If you want to get clear of the cities in time, and by this I mean before the paths turn into a super rush hour deadlock, with extra emphasis on the DEAD. After all one man’s traffic jam is another zombies’ buffet.  So I want to be well clear of the city, holed up in my alpha site and chowing down on my breakfast of  Tactical Bacon & Eggs while the newspaper and radio is still at the ‘reporting a mild outbreak of a new type of rabies’ stage.

This is why I try to keep up with whats going on in the world of infection & disease.  In the last few weeks there has been reports of a new type of antibiotic resistance found in bacteria with a man dying in Belgium (not of boredom). We’ve seen antibiotic resistant bacteria before MRSA and VRE are two I can think of that I don’t have to try and spell, but this new one isn’t specific to a bacteria. This resistance is due to a gene that can make an enzyme called NDM-1 and whats scary is that this gene is in the form of a plasmid. Those of us who have spent hours playing BIOSHOCK know plasmids can be incorporated into other organisms to provide traits. In this case allowing bacteria to resist antibiotics.

It was first mentioned in a British Journal in November 2009 and then in June 2010 the Centres for Disease Control in its Weekly Morbidity and Mortality report put out an alert on NDM-1.

I like reading the stuff CDC puts out.

I like to imagine there is a super competent agency well resourced with trained experts who spend all day running scenarios that prepare them for emergencies. I desperately want to believe that.

But I work for a government agency, so I know how these things work.

I don’t know if anyone around remembers what it was like before antibiotics, but it sucked. The was no internet porn and TV didn’t have the sci-fi channel and people would more likely than not DIE if they got an infection in hospital.

But that why science rocks. Medical science has know this pharmageddon was coming and has been working to developed new ways to deal with bacteria. One discovery is a paint that when applied to a surface will continues to kill bacteria that come into contact.

So I won’t be bugging out to the alpha site just yet, but world you are on notice. Just remember if can always get worse.

Look What I’ve been reading, and no its not After America

Apologies for the hiatus in posts, I was riding my motorcycle to work and got clipped by a truck, even with full leathers, helmet and boots I was a bit banged up and have been recovering. Many thanks to those who called/posted it cheered me up when I was feeling pretty down. Hope I never have to return the favour.

In Zombie News I was very kindly sent a copy of James Phelan’s Alone by the Author. This is the first in his new series Chasers. Nothing I am about to tell you that you can’t find on the back of the novel.

The Australian protagonist Jesse is on a UN Youth Ambassadors camp in New York when his subway carriage is rocked by an explosion. Jesse and his three friends, Anna, Dave and Mini, crawl out from the wreckage only to discover a city in chaos. Streets are deserted. Buildings are in ruins. Worse, the only other survivors seem to be infected with a virus that turns them into horrifying predators

It was a cracker to read, I particularly liked that these teenagers are savvy 21st century types who have grown up with a culture saturated with the post apocalyptic and how to survive it. At one point a character is asked how he knows this stuff, about “..fallback plans, especially once we leave here; more weapons, just in case..” to which his response is “Playstation, XBox’. This exchange sums up why this story works and so many other stories of the surviving the zombieapocalypse just annoy me. The protagonist doesn’t make a mistake, knows what to do and thinks things through logically for the horrific but not unforeseeable situation.

It’s a pacy little thriller I finished in one sitting which I think is a testimony to the author’s readability. My one complaint is that I have to wait until ‘late 2010 to read the next book. Survivor.

Why we blog

I have been wondering, why do I post?

I don’t have a cool reason like Flintheart, who posts so that his children have a record of their time growing up. I don’t have a blog to satisify an army of minions ready to be unleashed upon the net to do my bidding like Birmo and his cheeseburgers, nor am I an awesome weaver of tales like lovely Ms Jenniki or her mischievous brother Loki.

So why should I blog?

It’s a feeling of responsibility, that in return for all that I get from reading everyones thoughts, considered opinions, structured arguments, rants, expositions and tales I need to contribute something as well. Which in my case is alerting all the to the dangers of the zombieapocalypse. Here is a quick round up.

It’s official. Galaxy 15 is a Zombiesat.
What chance do we have, not only do undead walk, but now they have their own satellite and I read it that could block the signal from another communication satellite for a two week period in late May, perhaps interrupting the final episode of Lost. I hope Jenniki’s zombie plan included that contingency.

I think I have found my next T-shirt

Thanks to a recommendation from the ever brilliant Orin I am keenly awaiting a great Zombie novel just released called FEED. When I read that the author Mira Grant is a serious virology nut whose dinner conversations include ‘guess what I learned about MRSA today’ and she sleeps with machete under her pillow, you know just in case -I am seriously excited about this novel.

Not Happy
I am less impressed to discover the novel Brains: A zombie Memoir by Robert Becker has a protagonist who is a zombie who can think. As if that wasn’t band enough he went and named him Barnes. Colour me less than impressed. (Zombie Island by David Wellington did the zombie who thinks first and better)

Dead Winter
A excellent webcomic that Flinthart found and passed on to me. It’s a character driven piece where you are really interested in the characters, not just waiting to see how they stuff up and die. FH says it’s a good story even without zombies, ZED is just the icing on the cake. For me ZED is the icing, the sponge, the jam layer and the plate.

and finally

I worked out why I like Star Gate Universe SGU
There has been much posting over at Cheeseburger and the learned Mr Boylan’s blog about the new stargate series. I was a fan as soon as I heard there were space lesbians. And as an aside isn’t everything good automatically made better when space is added to it. For example Lesbians – already awesome, make it SPACE LESBIANS and is like awesome raised to the ninth power.

So that aside and really Mr Boylan makes a beautifully and well crafted argument for the role of SGU in the development of science fiction. For me it was when I had the epiphany that SGU is a post- apocalyptic drama.

The sort of drama I love.

The characters find themselves thrown together on a ship on the other side of the universe, the ship is old and resources air, water and food are limited. They have to work together to survive with little or no chance of ever seeing the world they knew again. The band are the usual ill matched combination of skills, experience and temperament that the PA stories make the nuts and bolts of the narrative and instead of facing zombies or mutants they have blue skinned aliens.

Did I mention there were space lesbians.

I bet you wish you’d thought of it

Last year Seth-Grahame Smith and Quirk books released the mash up hit,

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Given the elephant bucks it made, how little work it took to insert ninjas and zombies in to a long since out of copywrite text Quirk went on to try to fill a whole shelf load of these, like ‘Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters’

Honestly there are publishers and writers (authors are successful enough not to care, writers are folk who have to take any work offered to make money) kicking themselves that they didn’t think of this.

While Seth-Grahame Smith has tried to move, a least a couple of genre shelves along at the Borders books store from the monster success of PP&Z with his alternative history novel

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

and with talks of a movie staring Padme Amediala (sorry Natalie Portman), It was inevitable we would return to the novel which started it all.

Quirk have announce a Prequel

Now I love a prequel almost as much as I love have my fortune read. Charlie Jane Anders the IO9 blogger had eloquently expressed what annoys me about prequels in her piece Prequels aren’t just dumb, they’re Evil. So I was probably going to let this one slide until I saw the fanficmade trailer for the book.

Now I have watched A LOT of zombie movies and some, perhaps many of them are woeful.
This one I liked.

My spoiler free review of ZOMBIELAND

It’s AWESOME, go see it.

In fact is its so AWESOME for the next month I’ll be attempting to use Woody Harrelson’s character’s catch phrase “Time to nut up, or shut up” as often as I can when I post.

For those overseas readers who think Australia is some tropical paradise I would reveal as well as having some of the most venomous spiders, snakes and jellyfish in the world we also have to wait until 3 DECEMBER to see this excellent training film.

In other Zombie media news the boys and girls over at Dreadcentral report that AMC is to get one of my favorite we_don’t_spare_on_the_despair directors Frank Darabont of the movie ‘The Mist’ to write and produce a screen version of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. A excellent comix about life after the Zombie Apocalypse. It’s not just the zombie slayage I come for but for the conversations, like this one.

But if you though McCarthy’s The Road was bleak.. then this may not be for you.