Over the month I’ll be looking at a bunch of Aussie authors who write zombie fiction. Why? Well I do run Aussie Author Month myself, and while there are few Aussie names out there for zombies, they are damned good ones! Aussie Author Month also supports the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, so please help out if you can, whether by posting about it or donating.
Opening up his brain for us now is Gary Kemble!
Why do zombies make good bad guys?
I’m a fan of the zombie apocalypse scenario so I think strength in numbers. A zombie by itself isn’t such a threat but they usually travel in hordes which makes them more of a challenge.
I also like the fact that you can almost feel sorry for them. There’s that classic scene in the original Dawn of the Dead where the nun zombie has her wimple stuck in one of the doors, until Francine opens the door a crack and lets her lurch free.
But the funny thing about zombies is while you can empathise with them, you feel no compunction at all about seeing them blown away with shotguns, beheaded with machetes etc etc etc.
What do zombies mean to you?
The science behind zombies is important to me so I like to see zombies obey rules that kinda make sense. I think if someone has just been zombified it’s fine for them to run, but a zombie that’s been dead a while shouldn’t get much over a fast lurch.
Similarly, I feel it’s ‘unrealistic’ for zombies to not rot over time.
Having said all that, playing Left 4 Dead is a blast even though the special infected (and the whole respawning thing when you die) make no sense at all.
What is your favourite/most influential text on zombies?
I really enjoyed World War Z by Max Brooks. I loved the broad scale and getting to see how people from all over the world dealt with the zombie apocalypse.
In terms of movies, you can’t go past George Romero’s original Dead trilogy and I also enjoyed the 2004 Zack Snyder remake of Dawn of the Dead.
Tell us about your latest/favourite of your own stories and what you do to the zombie mythology.
‘Dead Air’ (first published in Robert N Stephenson’s Zombies, reprinted in Australian Dark Fantasy and Horror 2008) was a lot of fun to write. It’s about a zombie outbreak onboard a 747 en route from LA to Brisbane.
Strictly speaking, they’re more like the infected in 28 Days Later than Romero’s zombies, but let’s not quibble over details. 🙂
I threw in as many zombie references I could think of — I wanted it to be a homage to the sub-genre.
There is a sequel — ‘Deadweight’ — set on a ship in the Pacific. I’m hoping this will claw its way out of the grave some time over the next few months.
What are your plans for the zombie apocalypse?
I’ve got a friend with some land out west of Brisbane. I think we could fortify it pretty well, grow some crops. I recommend bladed weapons over firearms, because you don’t have to worry about running out of ammo. 😉
Check out his website here.