Thursday, May 30, 2013

BLOWBACK OF THE DEAD 2: The Demon-Driven Are Anything But Lazy

I often thought of the bolded part of George Orwell’s quote below while I was thrashing through the last chapters of Bleeding Kansas. As fictional sage Roseanne Roseanna Danna was fond of saying “I thought I was a-gonna die!” Still, the context of Orwell’s observation is worth putting out there. The following is from the final paragraph of Orwell’s 1946 essay, “Why I Write,” probably the most candid and honest essay ever composed on the subject:

All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality.

I take issue with the “lazy” part. Vain and selfish I will own, and I was lazy for the longest time. But I define “lazy” as coming up with one Great Concept after another, writing what I thought would be exquisite examples of said Concept—and then letting them all sit. Which is what I did. Which is what a lot of wannabe writers do.

Lazy people finish nothing. Two years ago I thought I’d get clever and write endings to all the novels and non-fiction books I wanted to write. I’d write the endings, then connect the beginnings to the endings. Genius! 

So I wrote one ending for one novel. That novel still sits on the back-burner. Although the ending I wrote was the ending I’d had in mind for decades for the story (I started it in 1982) I realize it’s not going to survive intact once I get going with  it again. And even if it does, it doesn’t matter because as of right now the book still isn’t finished.


When people learn I’m writing a book, I’ll hear cracks along the lines of, “So do you sleep on a couch next to the thing some nights like I’ve heard some do?” (I’ve done this maybe twice over the years. I prefer my bed.) “So do you obsess over your story all the time, even if you’re doing something else?” (Yes. The deal with any kind of creative person worth his or her salt is the Current Project is always on their mind. Always. They wouldn’t finish otherwise.) (NOTE: This is why we’re not taking on your pet project, even though you’re convinced your Great Idea will make us both money, if we’ll only commit to writing it. If you think so highly of your Great Idea, then you’ll do it.) Most people have a general understanding of what it takes to finish writing a book, any book. But when it comes to actually making it happen, they can’t imagine themselves putting themselves through any sort of inconvenience whatsoever to do it.


Now that I’ve started refitting my prototype novel The Resilient (UPDATE: this became Grace Among the Dead) for inclusion in The Saga of the Dead Silencer, trilogy, I’m trying to find ways of completing my projects that don’t involve putting such untenable strain on my physical and mental health. Although the idea of keeping a strict schedule is anathema to my very being, I need to work out a general plan that involves regular exercise and better sleeping habits.


I figure I’ll be a couple of books in before I find a groove. And it will take work to find that groove. Indeed, and I will find that groove only when I fully commit to doing thus.



All I’ve done is written two novels in the zombie apocalypse genre. Nothing epic, and certainly not classic. But I put what I’d had at the time into them. One of them, the first one I wrote, still needs to be reworked. (Hence my current project.) But I’ve done them. And I will do more. How about you? What’s in your portfolio, oh Great White Hope of Modern Literature? 

Wait, wait, let me guess: Disaffected young scion of upper middle class/professional class family goes to his family reunion. Upper middle class family drama ensues. Because nobody feels pain like disaffected upper middle class people in conflict with their own. Sure, it’s been done. But your story is special because, well, it just is. 


The hell of it is you’ll probably get published, because only upper middle class kids get professional class jobs in big publishing houses, and they’ll relate. Check out the Books section of any given Sunday paper on any given week, and you’ll likely see a favorable review of just such a book because only upper middle class/professional class kids get jobs writing for newspapers (which is a big reason why they’re dying and I don’t mourn their passing). There’s one coming out every week. But the bigger hell of it is, you still have to finish your book! Sorry about that, Snowflake. No one can do that for you.


Writing Bleeding Kansas and The Resilient was like a long bout of illness. But the only way out of illness is through it. You have to beat the thing. 


Am I vain? Of course. Selfish? It goes with being vain, so what? But lazy? Not quite.


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to work. 



Related: BLOWBACK OF THE DEAD: On Composing Violent and Disturbing Literature and Its Effects Upon One Man Who Writes It

Monday, May 27, 2013

BLEEDING KANSAS in Post-Production

At 4:05 a.m. MDT Friday, 25 May, I finished it. Bleeding Kansas, my second novel, and the first in the Saga of the Dead Silencer trilogy, is getting the final blue-pencil before I send it off to Severed Press tonight.

I’ve taken down all the full chapters on this site. I’ll publish little excerpts here and there, but to get the full shootin’ ‘n’ ‘splodin’ experience that is Bleeding Kansas, you’ll have to buy the book. Which will still cost less than that beer you’re buying at the bar after happy hour, or even that spendy, syrupy coffee-like concoction you bought at Starshmucks this morning—and with its mobs of hungry dead, shootings and mutilations, Bleeding Kansas should prove to be far, far more satisfying. Unlike the beer or the ur-coffee, you can savor the mayhem again and again. How’s that for value?

Christ, I’m tired. In lieu of the normal book cover that’s running the risk of being overexposed, here’s a GIF of three drunk chicks dancing. Happy Harlan Ellison’s Birthday! Which I honor by getting back to work....

A scene I would have liked to have seen at my wrap party last night. Minus all those other people, of course.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Scenes from a Zombie Abortion XIV: The CONFEDERATION Project


A little followup/epilogue to the action inside the main building at New Bethany megachurch, in which a malefactor gets her comeuppance. Or, more precisely, “come-eat-ance.” Run the boilerplate!

In 2008 James Robert Smith and I collaborated on a project we hoped would turn out to be the Winesburg, Ohio of zombie epics, a mosaic tale describing the communities coming together (and squaring off against one another) in the wake of the zombie apocalypse. For various reasons the collaboration fell apart. Bob took his part of the narrative — which included his idea of a border collie manipulating the other abandoned dogs and zombies — and crafted The Living End. I scuffled around for a couple of more years until I came up with The Saga of the Dead Silencer.

For those readers who were following the first part of my saga, Bleeding Kansas, and miss having something nasty-mean to read, here’s the fourteenth installment I wrote for the project. Of course, if you like this, feel free to pick up Bob’s completed work. Support your local architects of the apocalypse!



 ROBIN


Robin awoke to the sound of approaching footsteps. Great, about goddamned time! Mark would make them pay for this. Elder’s mistress, hell. If that dumb soccer twat only knew!

She saw the security guard leaning over her. Another staggered behind him, his face bloodied. Crazy sick-ass bitches, no telling how they did it but they’d gotten through them.

“About time! You got your people after those... people, I hope.”

The first guard’s head bobbed loosely as he knelt beside her. Robin took it for a nod.

“Let me take my time getting up, all right? My head’s splitting.”

The guard pulled on her arm. He got another hand under her armpit.

“Let go, I’m fine! I just need a little —”

The teeth closed sharply into her flesh. Robin screamed as the incisors tore, the molars ground into the bone. She screamed louder as the second one fell to his knees and pulled at her hair, the better to line up her face with his.

His face —!

God the lobby’s just over there there’s people over there why don’t they hear me why don’t they come dear god where is everybody?

"Peopllllllle...people who eat peoplllllllle...are the most wonderful peopllllllle of alllllllllll!"

Copyright © 2008, 2017 by Lawrence Roy Aiken

The Living End © 2017 by James Robert Smith

###

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Driving Through the Apocalypse

We all rage at the Lookie-Lous, even as we take in a little potential gore porn every time we pass a wreck. Like no one else see us doing it. We can hardly blame our hero, though, given the circumstances. Hell, I had to see, too:

I take my time going through the formerly barricaded area. I try, anyway. Even with the windows up the stink makes my eyes water. A greenish-yellow haze of flame flickers like a dank, swampy will-o-the-wisp over the nearer piles of bodies. The flesh is burned black on the bones. The mouths of the skulls hang wide as if screaming, tendrils of the whitest smoke pouring through the eye and nose holes. For blocks on either side it’s a hilly, rolling landscape of ruined humanity. If any are on their feet they stand well behind the haze, and I don’t see how they can get to anyone in this bulldozed path between bodies before all these gassy, superhot fires go out.

The burning in my nose and throat is going beyond merely irritating to painful. I tap the accelerator and push through quickly. It’s not just the bodies, though they’re obviously the most poisonous. The pall of smoke from the east side is merging with the blazes on the west, and the warehouses on either side of this street are catching fire.

Beyond the second barricade I notice a rifle barrel sticking from a third-floor window, the muzzle pointed to the sky. Smoke billows through the open window. This was one of the buildings Gitmo hit with the tear gas from his launcher. But the smoke from the fires across town is also thick at that level. You’d need a good coroner to tell what got him first.

I speed to catch up to the car in front of me. The truck carrying the loot from the liquor store as per his original assignment—it’s the one pickup with a hardtop, while the women and children ride open—closes the distance behind me, as does the snowplow behind it. Can’t blame these guys for not wanting to linger, either. No doubt pissed at me for rubbernecking.

Yeah, but they looked, too. As did you. As did I. As would anyone. 

In this case the smell of charred zombie flesh is a powerful motivator to move on. Perhaps someone should come up with Charred Zombie Flesh-flavored flares to throw around wrecks to speed traffic. Because keeping the flow in the face of tragedy is the hallmark of any great plantation empire. Just putting that out there.

There's plenty more to see in the nightmarishly violent, bug-eyed brutal land of Bleeding Kansas!



Bleeding Kansas Copyright © 2013, 2014, 2017 by Lawrence Roy Aiken

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Scenes from a Zombie Abortion XIII: The CONFEDERATION Project

Here we move to the interior of New Bethany and meet another set of characters in the course of dipping our narrative toe into the megachurch’s dark side, and learning what motivates those desperate families Preacher Miller and his people saw escaping into the night. 

Quirky Character Notes: I based the character of Robin on Robin Meade, the loathsome Morning Express anchor for CNN Headline News, and exemplar of everything that is wrong with “news” media in this benighted empire in decline. I can’t help but hear her husky, snooty old woman’s voice when reading her dialogue. In Bleeding Kansas she became Stefani Dunham, after crossing her with FOX News’ resident fembot Megyn Kelley and making her semi-sympathetic because—it’s science fiction, bitches! Run the boilerplate!


In 2008 James Robert Smith and I collaborated on a project we hoped would turn out to be the Winesburg, Ohio of zombie epics, a mosaic tale describing the communities coming together (and squaring off against one another) in the wake of the zombie apocalypse. For various reasons the collaboration fell apart. Bob took his part of the narrative — which included his idea of a border collie manipulating the other abandoned dogs and zombies—and crafted The Living End. I scuffled around for a couple of more years until I came up with The Saga of the Dead Silencer.

For those readers who were following the first part of my saga, Bleeding Kansas, and miss having something nasty-mean to read, here’s the thirteenth installment I wrote for the project. Of course, if you like this, feel free to pick up Bob’s completed work. Support your local architects of the apocalypse!



ANNE

That Anne had already known Robin would betray her would have been met with wonder by her husband David. Poor sweet David, so smart in his way, would have whistled through his pursed lips and muttered something silly about superior female intuition.

But Robin’s betrayal had demonstrated a principle obvious to Anne or any woman of middling intelligence who had survived middle school: never trust a girl more popular and better-looking than you. And when that hot young thing comes up full of compliments about your hair and how smart you are, never, ever turn your back.


“So what’s in it for you?” Anne said, eyeing the small pistol in Robin’s pale, smooth hand.


“You and I both know this is wrong,” said Robin. “Not just for you. For them.”


Friday, May 17, 2013

A Kansas City Friday Night with Zombies

The following passage strives to capture that special feeling  when you go to your room on the 15th floor and realize you’re watching the sun go down on a completely different world than the one you woke up to this morning. From Chapter 7 of my novel Bleeding Kansas, “In the Night Kitchen”:

On my way down the hall to my room I’m startled by the whump! of a body throwing itself at the other side of a door, roaring and snarling like a frustrated predator behind the glass at the zoo. Thank God that thing hasn’t figured out how to work the latch. Thanks again for being many doors down from mine. I don’t want to have to try and sleep with that thing’s angry, hungry yowling in my ears.

I open the door to my room, this same room I woke up in this morning. The same room on another planet, where the hotel staff is dead or food for the same. I close the door behind me and secure the latch.


The sun edges below the horizon, its orange-yellow beams blazing like a silent scream through the window. I look down onto streets that were completely empty this morning. Still no cars or trucks rolling about. Just…people? 
It’s like Mardi Gras, wall-to-wall bodies and not one of them walks a straight line. I see no cars or trucks, armored or otherwise. No muzzle flashes of rifles or sidearms. All you see are these erratic, atomized little blotches, every one a stone killer.

Mardi Gras of the dead. I like the sound of that. Not sure I'd like the smell, taste, or feel so much, but it sure sounds like fun!




Bleeding Kansas Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Lawrence Roy Aiken

###

State of the Apocalypse, Five-Seventeen-Thirteen Edition

I should know better, but every now and then I find myself cruising these websites where it’s the same complaint every day, “our personal interest group’s Sworn Enemies have really done it this time! check out this news item!” and they have over a thousand views a day, with at least 30 or so comments. The really good ones will get a troll from the Other Side to stir shit up from time to time. 

Hell, on occasion I’ve been that troll. To mix metaphors, I like to think of the Web as a Wild West caricature in which every establishment along the dusty digital avenue is a saloon, and in every saloon there is a fight. You pick one, push through the swinging double doors, and fight. The world goes on outside but while you’re inside that one saloon you’re fighting like it’s the Final Battle for All Civilization. You swing fists until you’re tired, and then you swing some more, because the winner is not the rhetorical mastermind with the Most Cogent and Unarguable Point, but the last troll standing. It’s quite a buzz.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Scenes from a Zombie Abortion XII: The CONFEDERATION Project

Preacher Miller’s night gets even worse! Run the boilerplate!

In 2008 James Robert Smith and I collaborated on a project we hoped would turn out to be the Winesburg, Ohio of zombie epics, a mosaic tale describing the communities coming together (and squaring off against one another) in the wake of the zombie apocalypse. For various reasons the collaboration fell apart. Bob took his part of the narrative — which included his idea of a border collie manipulating the other abandoned dogs and zombies — and crafted The Living End. I scuffled around for a couple of more years until I came up with The Saga of the Dead Silencer.

For the benefit of those readers who were following the first part of my saga, Bleeding Kansas, and miss having something nasty-mean to read, here’s the twelfth installment I wrote for the project. Of course, if you like this, feel free to pick up Bob’s completed work. Support your local architects of the apocalypse!



 PREACHER MILLER

Brother Brock, bless his heart, said nothing. No telling what his thoughts were of this disaster. He gathered up his rifle and walkie-talkie, and as he and Preacher Miller made their way along the wooded slope abutting the rear of the New Bethany compound he was taken down by a white flash out of the trees.

That’s what Preacher Miller might have seen had he not been creeping on ahead. He turned at the sound of Brock’s body hitting the ground — Brock hadn’t time to even scream — to see three more dogs tearing at him. It was another second or so before Brock found breath and voice to cry out. By that time Preacher Miller was already running, barely missing the trees, very nearly running into —

“Travis! Brother Travis!” Only now Preacher Miller realized he was running away, leaving one brother in the dirt to be torn at by dogs as another brother stood witness.

“I — I’m surprised to see you on your feet,” said Preacher Miller. “Come, Brock, he’s —”

Travis let the rifle he was carrying fall and dangle by its strap as he raised his hands to grasp Preacher Miller.

Preacher Miller ducked behind a tree, then another as Travis stumbled towards him in the sharpening moonlight. Preacher Miller could hear Brock crying out piteously as the dogs growled and tore. Preacher Miller glanced about him. Then he leaned into the rise, running as fast as he could uphill.

Travis turned to follow. But the gradient was too steep, and he fell backwards. He grunted as he rolled and hit a tree.

By this time Preacher Miller had reached the top of the ridge. He cut a dark and frightened figure running full-out in the bright blue moonlight. 

Albert the Alligator only opens his mouth for the biggest number.






Copyright © 2008, 2017 by Lawrence Roy Aiken

The Living End © 2017 by James Robert Smith

###

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Ultimate Soundtrack to Your Post-Apocalyptic Nightmare!

Larks Tongues in Aspic, Part I by KING CRIMSON


A professional music critic (read: disco twink) for the BBC listed this track at number 9 on his list of “10 Worst Songs to Have Sex To,” with the zinger that any children conceived during this would have “bones like joss sticks.” I’d rather King Crimson founder Robert Fripp not have honored such typical lamestream media anti-prog trash with a reply, but his response that  “the bones of anyone conceived to Part One have a large proportion of apprehension, terror, inevitability & metal in addition to joss sticks within their DNA” goes a long way towards describing the many moods of this 13:38 masterpiece. And by “goes a long way” I mean to say it doesn’t capture all of them. It’s just a damned good start.

“Larks Tongues in Aspic, Part I” is so perfect for writing post-apocalyptic fiction I’ve put it in heavy rotation on my desk speakers. It opens with a slow fade-in of various xylophoney/chimey percussion instruments courtesy of Jamie Muir. For the first two and one-half minutes we’re lulled into a sense of normalcy. It’s a normalcy tinged with apprehension—say, we’ve got a character flying out to a major city for a job interview. At the one-minute mark a high, thinly metallic wash representing the Mayday Malaise creeps over the vibes. By the 2:30 mark it dominates as the Final Flu. It goes all the way until the 3:00 mark when David Cross’s violin begins its tense, percussive line, culminating into the catastrophic slam of metal guitars at 3:40. The dead have risen to feast on the flesh of the living.

What follows next has been described as rock-jazz “fusion” (it was very much a thing in the early to mid-1970s) but it sounds more like funk to me. Prog funk with a light be-bop flavoring, if you want to get technical about it. Whatever you call it, it evokes the chaos ensuing as the National Guard and the police and the public are overwhelmed by the numbers and rigor-driven strength of the reanimated. 

The track slows down at around ten minutes—we’re taking stock of our situation—and then the violin comes back at around 11:30, deeper, more frenetic. At 12:26 the tension is broken with a crash. But the world is not the same. It’s an uncanny valley where Things Unnatural walk. Imagine  waking up with that eerie Mellotron and guitar soundscape in your head, David Cross’s violin keening throughout for all that has passed, and for the terrors yet to come. As I did this morning, realizing I am very close to finishing Bleeding Kansas

Whatever your apocalypse, Mr. Robert Fripp and Co. have your music for it right here. Thank you, Mr. Fripp and the 1973 incarnation of King Crimson for creating such a challenging and compelling piece. You and all the other great musicians who created and defined that broad spectrum of experimental-exploratory music called progressive rock have nothing to apologize for, or even explain.

Oddly, there is no straight album version of “Lark’s Tongues” on YouTube. I suppose I’ll have to rip and post it myself. Until there, here is a superb, albeit abbreviated performance on some ancient, long-forgotten television program.



Related: King Crimson’s Sure Cure for the Fuck-This-Shit-Blues! which features a video of the band playing the first parts of “Larks’ Tongues Pt 1” live on camera. Jamie Muir is a hoot to watch in this.


###

Saturday, May 11, 2013

How to Put Out a Fire on Your Lawn with the Bratty Bastard Who Started It

Today’s devotional is from Chapter 21, “The Battle of Oak Blossom Lane”:
By the prodigious spray it’s apparent the arteries aren’t convulsing shut. Good. I grab Brandon by the back of his shirt and shove him hard into the blazing privacy hedge. There’s a hissing like a fuse as the spurting blood drowns the flames. Stunned, Brandon falls to his knees and shrieks as the heat from the smoldering debris seals his wound with a crackling of seared flesh and steaming blood. The stench is gagging. Goddamn it, I’m so looking forward to living somewhere in post-undead apocalypse America that doesn’t stink like a bag of sour assholes. 

I love how this ends in a sorta-kinda prayer. An American™ Prayer! For a better America! One that doesn’t stink like a bag of...you get the picture.

It’s a dream we all share. Kumbaya, bitches!


###

Scenes from a Zombie Abortion Part XI: The CONFEDERATION Project

More fun with Preacher Miller of Soul’s Harvest, the rival church to Deacon Dare’s New Bethany. Run the boilerplate!

In 2008 James Robert Smithand I collaborated on a project we hoped would turn out to be the Winesburg, Ohio of zombie epics, a mosaic tale describing the communities coming together (and squaring off against one another) in the wake of the zombie apocalypse. For various reasons the collaboration fell apart. Bob took his part of the narrative — which included his idea of a border collie manipulating the other abandoned dogs and zombies—and crafted The Living End. I scuffled around for a couple of more years until I came up with The Saga of the Dead Silencer.

For the benefit of those readers who were following the first part of my saga, Bleeding Kansas, and miss having something nasty-mean to read, here’s the eleventh installment I wrote for the project. Of course, if you like this, feel free to pick up Bob’s completed work. Support your local architects of the apocalypse....



 PREACHER MILLER

A straight-up defeat would have been easier to bear. New Bethany had had the superior numbers, far more than the hundred or so Preacher Miller had reckoned earlier. But the numbers and bullets that had driven back the Soul’s Harvest expedition were numbers and bullets directed at the countless dogs and deaders swarming the church and its outlying buildings and houses. In this battle the men of Souls Harvest hadn’t even counted as a force. They were merely in the way.

As the moon rose above the treeline Preacher Miller marveled at how much there was of New Bethany. It was something he hadn’t noticed that time he’d come to parley, that so many of the houses in the surrounding village were occupied — and that there was at least one armed man in every one of those houses. They also saw women at the windows with rifles or shotguns. An older boy might be at the other side of the house, firing away at the hungry shamblers closing in on their home.

Friday, May 10, 2013

"Please Don't Leave Your Dead Children Unattended"

Today’s Prime Passage from Bleeding Kansas, Chapter 19, “The Dead People of Wal-Mart” illustrates the need for this:
Panga in hand, I jog down the wide aisle separating the grocery from the dry goods. There are display islands in the middle of this aisle. I’m come to the clothing section and the racks enclose the right side of the aisle like little banyan trees concealing the predators beneath.

A hand claws at me from beneath one of these and I miss a step, my foot coming down on that hand. But that gives the other hand a chance to grab at my boot. It’s a small blue hand, with stubby blue fingers and yet I can feel its death-rigored grip through the leather.

I pull my panga and swing but the child is wrapped around my boot now—a little thing with a yellow ribbon in her hair and the fatty child skin chewed away on one side of her face. An eyestalk hangs eyeless from one socket but the muscles about her jaw are intact and working. Her little baby teeth are bearing down hard on my boot. I lift up my foot and kick at the display in the middle of the aisle. A small ribbon of intestine trails beneath her waist; she has no legs, not even bones.

Her teeth bear down harder.

How on earth will our intrepid hero escape this icky pre-dicky-ment? The answer’s here, from Severed Press!

Related: How to Put Out a Fire on Your Lawn with the Bratty Bastard Who Started It

Also: Fun with an Old Zombie Trope: The Apocalypse Virus


Bleeding Kansas Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Lawrence Roy Aiken

###

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Scenes from a Zombie Abortion X: The CONFEDERATION Project


We’re in another setting and another set of headspaces altogether here. The titular Preacher Miller represents Soul’s Harvest, a rival church to Deacon Dare’s New Bethany. Miller’s congregation is more remote, and poorer besides. Hunger and privation and pride drive people to do crazy things. And as Preacher Miller and his flock will discover, sometimes on the way to do crazy things you run into even crazier things. As it is in the zombie apocalypse, so will it be forever...in the Twilight Zone.

Run the boilerplate. On with the show:

Line of the Day, Five-Nine-Thirteen Edition

Eight days into the month and I let yesterday go without a post. The one visitor I had yesterday may have noticed. All I knew it was already 1:30 a.m. this morning and I was so deep into editing and rewrites all I could say was, “Well, so much for that.” I might have posted something then, but...shit....

In a way, I’m happy not to have anything else to write about. Until Bleeding Kansas is done, nothing means anything. You don’t want to know my opinions on current events. They’d scare the hell out of you. They scare the hell out of me. So I don’t think about them. I’ve got work to do. And nothing means anything until it's done. So there.

I came across this bon mot today while combing through Chapter 18. We’ll make this the first Line of the Day, in which I’ll post something from my daily workflow that makes me look twice—and not just because it’s glaringly horrible and I have to fix it. The following describes my character’s conflicted mood after a particularly squicky, traumatic incident:


I knew better than express outrage in front of Rebecca and her aim with that little .22. Hell, I knew so well I didn’t even feel that outrage until now. Which pisses me off even more. So congratulations, Evans. Your soft Veteran of the Global Tour of DoD Golf Courses ass is mine for the flogging until I can make peace with myself for being a pussy in the face of simple mean-ugly bullshit. 

Maybe I’m too close to this to judge properly but goddamn, that’s beautiful.

I’ve got a ways to go. I’ll put up more when I find them.


Coming soon (as I finish the fucking thing) from Severed Press!
Bleeding Kansas Copyright © 2013 by Lawrence Roy Aiken

###

Monday, May 06, 2013

Scenes from a Zombie Abortion IX: The CONFEDERATION Project

This where the section called “Wildwood Holler” runs out of road. It’ll be some time before I ever get around to writing the daring night escape to the Confederation.

I have a few more chapters based at New Bethany and at another church called Souls Harvest. If I ever return to it I don’t see it becoming a three-book series as much as a big, fat, involved nightmare of the zombie apocalypse, at the point where the remaining humans either organize, raise their own food, provide for their defense—or die. 

The age of scavenging is coming to an end. A wanderer’s best hope now is to find a community that’s reasonably ruled and not some neo-feudal plantation where you’re worked and worried to death for crumbs while your master feasts on the fruits of your labor. (You know, like in real life 2013.) A church would be one place to try; they’re generally very well organized. Of course, it all depends upon whose in charge of the church. Or, say, the confederation of mountain villages you arrive at before the siege begins....

Run the boilerplate. On with the show:

In 2008 James Robert Smith and I collaborated on a project we hoped would turn out to be the Winesburg, Ohio of zombie epics, a mosaic tale describing the communities coming together (and squaring off against one another) in the wake of the zombie apocalypse. For various reasons the collaboration fell apart. Bob took his part of the narrative — which included his idea of a border collie manipulating the other abandoned dogs and zombies—and crafted The Living End. I scuffled around for a couple of more years until I came up with The Saga of the Dead Silencer.

For the benefit of those readers who were following the first part of my saga, Bleeding Kansas, and miss having something nasty-mean to read, here’s the ninth installment I wrote for the project. Of course, if you like this, feel free to pick up Bob’s completed work. Support your local architects of the apocalypse....



RICK  

As Saturdays went, it didn’t go so badly at all considering this one had started with a combination dog-and-zombie show resulting in thirty-eight dead.  Nineteen of these had been completely pulled apart, and all of them had to be put down one way or another due to that pesky resurrection thing. Nothing like watching the jaw of a disembodied head stretching and snapping for you. Especially when it belonged to someone you used to know.

Fortunately the ones who had bolted from the campsite were among the completely pulled apart, as a New Bethany-organized task force had learned later that afternoon. The pickups had been found uphill, crippled with broken axels as they’d rushed to ascend the mountain. The undead which had availed themselves of this opportunity were already shambling downhill after feasting to whatever passed for their hearts’ content. Which would have been bad enough, but well-chewed familiar faces stumbling into camp to do some chewing of their own would have been more than the good folk of Wildwood Holler could bear after the losses suffered this morning.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Not Only Did Someone Actually Make a Movie Called "Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead"...

...Variety magazine, of all things, reviewed it.

The executive summary (or the tl;dr, for you moderns) is thus:

Featuring the concept of Japanese anus-worshipping redneck zombies incubating carnivorous mutant tapeworms, “Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead” is somehow worth only a few laughs. Cheap parasitic offshoot of Nikkatsu’s Sushi Typhoon series finds gore-effects specialist Yoshihiro Nishmura at his most slapdash, while helmer Noboru Iguchi doesn’t care to clean up the pic’s narrative and visual mess of repetitive fart and turd gags. Still, the title alone will help it worm its way into fantasy fests and Asian cult ancillary, to be seen by viewers who will need to be drunk or otherwise zombified to enjoy it.

The full story is even worse. Still, I admire the reviewer Maggie Lee. Her suffering for watching this is made all the more poignant because she writes her review straight and doesn’t try to crack us up with clever lines about how she suffered. That she allows her subject matter to speak for itself shows a rare professionalism and — especially in this tiresome, loathsome media environment of yappy-snarky wannabe Dorothy Parkers — an almost godlike restraint.

Lee notes that the title is a big selling point all to itself, and while I understand this, I’m still trying to imagine how the producers raised the cash to make the film: “Hey, we’re making a movie called Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead! You know you want a piece of this!” 

I looked for images from the iMDB page and the official site (on WordPress!) but it’s probably for the best I didn’t find any. No, let’s let this one just...go.

Friday, May 03, 2013

State of the Apocalypse, Five-Three-Thirteen Edition

In the spirit of writing shit just to be writing shit because the more shit you write the better your shit gets: that’s the hypothesis I’m testing here....


I didn’t even know Wednesday was Wednesday, which meant I missed the first half of the latest Supernatural, the only “appointment show” on my TV schedule. This really pissed me off. On the bright side, I got the garbage bin out on the curb in time for its scheduled Thursday pickup. So there’s that.

Yet all week long Bleeding Kansas just lay there bleeding. I had engineered the final confrontation, I had set the stakes for Derek Grace. But the tactical details of the battle haven’t come together. I know how it’s supposed to end. I just can’t quite find my way to it. 

It’s gonna be a long Friday night here in Rage ‘n’ Romance HQ. And a long Saturday morning. Into afternoon. Until I break on through to the other side. The denouement will a take all of a day. And then I can print the whole mess, drive it over to my favorite sports bar, and feast on half-price happy hour appetizers and three dollar drafts while doing the final run-through.

In other news I found the 2010 remaster of the original David Bowie mix of Iggy and The Stooges’ Raw Power at my local library. It’s nice to have the two for comparison’s sake. Iggy’s mix made it sound like the songs were playing through blown speakers. Still, there were elements in the songs that worked better in that mix than in Bowie’s. I dunno. I should rip them all to my player and see how the different versions present themselves as they surface on Shuffle. It was hard to make fine distinctions listening to it in the Jeep.


Oh, the places you’ll go! The people you’ll eat!



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Scenes from a Zombie Abortion VIII: The CONFEDERATION Project


Nothing much to say here but it builds towards the night flight I never got to write. What the hell. It’s past time I set up a separate page for these chapters. Not tonight, though. I’m wrapping up another novel. Let’s run the boilerplate and get on with the show:

In 2008 James Robert Smith and I collaborated on a project we hoped would turn out to be the Winesburg, Ohio of zombie epics, a mosaic tale describing the communities coming together (and squaring off against one another) in the wake of the zombie apocalypse. For various reasons the collaboration fell apart. Bob took his part of the narrative — which included his idea of a border collie manipulating the other abandoned dogs and zombies—and crafted The Living End. I scuffled around for a couple of more years until I came up with The Saga of the Dead Silencer.

For the benefit of those readers who were following the first part of my saga, Bleeding Kansas, and miss having something nasty-mean to read, here’s the eighth installment I wrote for the project. Of course, if you like this, feel free to pick up Bob’s completed work. Support your local architects of the apocalypse....



GREG

Ol’ Ranger Rick was certainly anxious, but then he wasn’t carrying corpses to the communal piles on either strand of the loop. As Greg and many others working the cleanup of Wildwood Holler campgrounds observed in the aftermath of the early morning attack, the day didn’t go fast enough.

Two adjacent campsites on either side of the loop road where the piles were sited had been emptied by way of providing a firebreak. Not that anyone wanted to be that close to the smoke of crisping human flesh (it was well-known that the flesh of long-dead zombies smelled exceptionally awful when burned), but some campsites had been emptied out of sheer misfortune.

The Finleys had been caught sleeping in their tent — like too many others, they didn’t see the point of getting up early when there wasn’t much to eat. Before the west-end loop pile could be started the Finleys’ reanimated remains had to be clubbed into the collapsed Nylon they had been caught in. The entire tent was then used as a drag to pull Nate and Karen, along with Angela (age eight) and Brandon (age twelve) to the pile of deadwood which served as its foundation.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Walpurgisnacht 2013 Report

I’ve come to the conclusions that, for me, the end of a book is the hardest to write. Getting all the players set up for the Boss Fight, prosecuting said Boss Fight, and figuring out what  it should look like exactly at the end (as opposed to having a general idea) is a hellacious challenge that takes a lot out of me. Enough that I can’t even stand to look at this blog, even though it’s an Unwritten Requirement that Modern Writers put some bullshit up on their blog at least once a day, no fewer than every other day (if that), so their presumed readers know they still exist. 

As it is, my visitor count has gone down from the not-quite three dozen a day to five — and all of them from Russia. Lots of love to whoever reads this (assuming you’ve got honest intentions and aren’t looking to hack or scam me) but Russia? I wish I knew who these people are and what the attraction is.

Ah, hell, it’s already May First. I used to celebrate the night before, Walpurgisnacht, but I’ve had to dial back on the alcohol lately. That, and I don’t care about it like I used to. Not anymore. Like I don’t give a shit about the kerfuffle at the Boston Marathon or the current gun control “debate” and whatever else the Ministry of Truth wants to me to care about right now.  Oh, I have opinions about all these, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t see the point in talking about them. Not even for page hits.

I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t something that doesn’t come over some men at a certain age. Bob Dylan mentions his lack of concern in songs from Time Out of Mind and in the Oscar-winning tossed-off piece-of-shit “Things Have Changed” as if his lack of engagement with the cultural Narrative was astonishing. For my part—and yours, too, I’m guessing—I simply don’t feel the urge to yell at the top of my lungs over bullshit as I was back in the day. 

I’ve come to accept I can’t do dick about the wrongest shit going on out there. I can try and minimize my participation in the culture, but most creature comforts require a degree of said participation. So that’s what I focus on. People like reading melodramas of the Zombie Apocalypse. Thank the dark gods I can write one. Goddamn it, I’ll give ‘em the most gripping zombie apocalypse they ever did read. It beats the holy motherfuck out of working at the call center. I’ll paint my brains on the rocks of Eagle Pass before I go back to doing that.

The way my current gig runs I’m expected to post stuff. Something, anything. All right, then. We’ll try the daily thing. Bear with me, all four of you. I should get better with time. Anyway, it’s five minutes until midnight and my time’s almost up if I want something up for May First. So here you go.


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