Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Next Big Thing Rolls On

ast Wednesday, Bram Stoker award-winner and all-around nice guy Weston Ochse tagged me in The Next Big Thing, after horror and dark fantasy writer Tim Tebbon tagged him. This is a running shared-blog thread in which writers discuss their latest projects, and invite more writers to do the same.This is a running shared-blog thread in which writers discuss their latest projects, and invite more writers to do the same. Be sure to see these blogs by fellow writers Ed KurtzJoe McKinney, Shane McKenzie, and Ed Erdelac.

Here are the questions and my answers. Next Wednesday, I’ll hand it off to several more writers, including Scott Bradley, Pete Giglio and Gary Jonas.

1) What is the working title of your next book?


2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

It was the collision of several ideas. I had read about theoretical new cures for sufferers of Alzheimer's and dementia based upon near-future nanotechnology and bio-engineering. I imagined what might happen if this “cure” had unintended side effects or mutated into a self-directed plague that rapidly swept the world. And I imagined it might or might not be reversible. So the uninfected survivors might find themselves sharing the planet with an intelligent but no-longer-human race they had unwittingly created.  I realized it was a zombie novel without the supernatural element, but with all the suspense and horror nonetheless.

While I was still thinking about the book-length story, I incorporated the idea into a long story, “Lifeboat,” that was published by Jason Sizemore and Apex Books in The Zombie Feed Volume One.

The novel is also a love-letter to the late Michael Crichton (left), who invented the plausible techno-thriller with The Andromeda Strain. Many of Crichton’s books dealt with stories of scientists with good intentions who create situations that lead to dangerous, unexpected results.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a mash-up of science fiction, horror and thrillers, but I think it will appeal primarily to horror readers.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I originally envisioned a scruffy James MacAvoy as the main protagonist, Dr. Jeremy Hall, a young research epidemiologist from the University of California, Irvine’s School of Biological Sciences. But then I met writer Joe Hill at the World Horror Convention in Austin a year or so ago, and now I think he’s perfect to play the intelligent, somewhat reclusive scientist. I’m not saying that Joe is scruffy. He just has the perfect look in my mind’s eye. That's a pic of him (right) from his Tumblr on the set of HORNS, based on his second novel. His new novel, NOS4A2, is due next May.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

After the greatest medical breakthrough of the 21st century transforms entire populations into a terrifying zombie-like species, a secret team of scientists races to devise a cure.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I successfully pitched the idea and outline to a respected indie publisher. I’ve published a good number of short stories professionally, but don’t as yet have an agent.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The first draft is almost done, and it has taken sixteen months, much longer than I’d hoped! Of course, during that time I also wrote a novella that will appear in a longer novel called Living Death Race 2000 in 2013 with Wes Ochse, John Everson and several other talented writers. And I wrote and sold more short stories.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The Andromeda Strain and Prey by Michael Crichton, and Spore by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Michael Crichton and John Skipp. And watching the original film adaptation of The Andromeda Strain.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

It delves into some interesting tangents, such as how plagues spread, how small bands of scientifically-trained people deal with isolation and apocalyptic threats, and the current wonders and dangers of widespread medical research into nanotechnology, viral and genetic manipulation and engineering.

So watch for more answers from Scott Bradley, Gary Jonas and Pete Giglio next Wednesday!

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Cosmic Inspiration

appily, I can already check off one of my 2012 goals -- namely, to sell more science fiction.  February saw the acceptance of a story from former F&SF editor and anthologist John Joseph Adams for his online SF magazine, Lightspeed. The story in question is a high-tech crime story spanning many alternate Earths, and involving the unwitting help of an iconic 20th century actor. Earlier this month, John also sent a reprint contract for the same story to appear in his upcoming anthology Other Worlds Than These, due this fall.

In another happy coincidence, I’ve been re-watching the late astronomer and author Carl Sagan’s landmark science mini-series, COSMOS.  My family and I watched it when it premiered back in 1980 on PBS, and I’ve got the big hardback somewhere.  I’ve been an avid reader of science fiction since the age of ten, and Sagan’s books and COSMOS made a big impression.  Sagan’s curiosity about the origins of the universe and our place in it, conveyed with a layman’s touch and poetic enthusiasm regarding the vastness of the universe and the wonders of inner space, epitomize the “sense of wonder” that always attracted me to science fiction, particularly the works of Bradbury, Tevis, Simak, Bester and many, many others.  Carl Sagan’s son, Nick, now a screenwriter, mentioned on Twitter that COSMOS is being resurrected on Fox as a new science mini-series -- something to look forward to!

But while I wait impatiently for season two of the BBC’s Sherlock to hit American airwaves I’ve been busy with other stories (and the novel that’s taking too long to complete).

“The Brave Little Cockroach Goes to Mars” will appear in April in ROCKET SCIENCE from UK writer and anthologist Ian Sales.  Check out the other contributors of fiction and nonfiction here:

I recently did a modest expansion of “The Girl and the Guardian,” a story slated for Eugene Johnson’s APPALACHIAN UNDEAD from The Zombie Feed Press.  I haven’t seen the TOC yet but have heard there are going to be some big names appearing, along with talented up-and-coming folks, which is exciting.  And I was tremendously excited to land a story with John Skipp for his next huge anthology project for Black Dog and Leventhal, PSYCHOS: ENCOUNTERS WITH SERIAL KILLERS AND THE CRIMINALLY INSANE.  “Serenity Now” will appear in September, and according to Skipp, the TOC is stellar.

"Jesus When The Sun Goes Down" is available on Amazont in the Kindle version of BEST NEW WEREWOLF TALES (it's an original and not a reprint; bless Carolina Smart for including it in a book already bursting with classic stories).  "The Boys in Company Z" is out in the Kindle edition of ZOMBIE KONG.  Both trade paperbacks coming soon.

Lately I’ve been reading the stories and novels of Weston Ochse (pronounce “oaks,” Arizona writer married to writer Yvonne Navarro), and the short fiction of Joe Hill and David Nickel, whose sophomore novel is coming soon from ChiZine.

Great stuff.

At the end of the month Angie and I are flying to Salt Lake City to attend World Horror Con and a special Bram Stoker banquet.  I cannot wait to see old friends and make new ones.

This moment to blog has been brought to you by “The Bachelor: Season Finale.”  Thanks, Ben.

-- Simon


ZOMBIE KONG Anthology: