Zombies

Bath Children’s Literature Festival 2015

Time’s a-wasting, so a quick shout about this year’s Bath Children’s Literature Festival. As usual, you’ll most likely be able to spot me zipping about the place (I’m going to a LOT of the talks this year, because there’s some absolute corkers on the programme) but this time I’m also taking part – and I’m very, very excited about the event I’m involved in.

On the second Saturday of the festival, I’ll be chatting to monster rockstars Charlie Higson and Darren Shan about their respective zombie series, The Enemy and Zom-B. We’ll be talking about zombies in particular, horror in general, reading, writing, books, apocalypses (apocalypsii?) – and I’ll be quizzing them on the body count they’ve amassed over the course of their stories.

It’s going to be a lot of fun, and both Charlie and Darren are brilliant authors. If you’re in the area, come along! There will also be a signing with all three of us after the panel, and we’ll be having a Q&A at the end of the session, so if you have any burning questions you NEED them to answer, now’s your chance.

If you’re not able to make it, but there’s something you’ve always wanted to know about either series – or author (or even me!) – then tweet your question to me (@LouMorgan) by Friday 2nd October and I’ll do my best to get it in…

 

 

The Coming Storm

I’ve got a few festival appearances coming up over the next couple of months, as well as a couple of other bits and pieces, so it’s probably time for a quick update. (I’ll put relevant dates on the “Events” page too.)

YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) 2015

Friday 17th July, 2.30 – 3.15.

I’ll be appearing on the “Thrills & Chills: Writing Horror” panel with Will Hill, Darren Shan, Dawn Kurtagich and Matt Whyman, discussing why we love horror, why we write it and why it’ll always be popular. This will be followed up by a signing.

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Tuesday 25th August, 7.00 – 8.00

I’m hugely excited about this, as it’s the first year I’ll be at Edinburgh. Join myself and Kevin Brooks to talk about the darker side of the subjects that can crop up in contemporary YA: boredom, destruction, stress and fear.

The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival

Saturday 3rd October, 6.30 – 7.30

This feels very like my “home” festival: I’ve been going to the Bath Children’s Litfest for a couple of years now, and it always feels special. This time, however, I’ll be on the stage as well as in the audience, in conversation with YA horror superstars Charlie Higson and Darren Shan as we look at the enduring appeal of zombies and how they’ve brought a fresh spin to everybody’s favourite shambling flesh-eaters in their new books.

YA Shot

Wednesday 28th October

YA Shot is a one-day festival of YA & MG literature organised by author Alexia Casale, Hillingdon Borough Libraries and Waterstones Uxbridge. Details TBC.

 

On the writing front, I’m delighted to have a story in the forthcoming “Legends 2: Stories in Honour of David Gemmell” anthology, alongside fantastic authors like John Gwynne, Rowena Cory Daniels and Mark Lawrence. (A paperback and a limited-edition signed copy are available from Spacewitch Books).

I don’t venture into the epic and heroic very often, so this is a new sphere for me. However, I’m a big fan of the Gemmell Awards and the work they do, and I was delighted to be asked to contribute and to be able to support them. My story, “Oak”, is set just after the Norman invasion and coronation of William I, and both something completely new and very old: it was inspired by some of the legends of a very well-known (perhaps the most well-known) sorcerer from the area where I grew up. No pointy hats, I promise.

 

(Probably) The Greatest Halloween Signing Ever…

Yes, it’s not quite Halloween, but what’s a couple of days between friends?

Come along to the Great Halloween Signing in the Forbidden Planet Megastore in London tomorrow (Saturday 25th October) and hang out with Actual Proper British Horror Writers (and me. Who will be basking in the reflected glory and trying really hard not to grin like a loon.)

We’ll be signing between 1pm and 2pm, and afterwards there’s a BFS Open Evening taking place in the nearby Bloomsbury Tavern.

I’m there as a contributor to ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! ENDGAME, the third of the ZA! series of mosaic novels.

9781472106421

If you’ve not come across the series – or any other mosaic novels before – think of it as a cross between an anthology of short stories and a novel in dossier form, with each contributor taking one aspect of it. (One of my favourites is the zombie-related app store, complete with developer comments.) My “story” is the diary of a teenager caught up in the zombie outbreak – the catch being that she wasn’t one of the lucky ones. So if you’ve ever wanted to know what goes through a teenage zombie’s mind…

 

Tasting notes (for zombies): wine to serve with… people.

 Matching the right wine to your food can make all the difference to a meal. The right red, for instance, with a steak. A chilled white with a fish-dish.

But what about today’s zombie-about-town; the urban cannibal looking for the ultimate free-range foodie experience?

Never fear: for those needing advice on the perfect wine to accompany human flesh, help is at hand. So to speak…

Huffington Post: Zombie Apocalypse Wine Pairings

Gizmodo: Which Wines Go Best With Human Flesh?

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking… maybe a nice Merlot?

Zombie Safe-House

We live in strange days. It’s true. We have many things to worry about: the economy, the state of the planet, the near-constant assault on our ears by X-Factor finalists…

But you can consider one thing to be taken care of: come the zompocalypse, if you need somewhere to hide, you’ve got options.

Ladies and gentlemen. For your most apocalyptic appreciation… the winners of the 2011 Zombie Safe House competition.

Made. Of. Win.

 

The Girls’ Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse

I mentioned briefly before that I’ve been recruited by the amazing Adele, who runs Un:Bound (when she’s not kicking seven bells out of her kickboxing training buddies or generally taking over the world…) as one of the Apocalypse Girls.

We do cheery things like discuss how to survive an undead apocalypse, how to fight zombies, where you should shelter when the Bomb drops, what weapon goes best with a clutch bag, fashion for Fall / nuclear winter…. all those things you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

Well, now you can ask us.

This week on the Guide, it’s movie week. So as well as talking about how to grow your own food (provided it’s not brains), we’re posting some of our favourite apocalypse movies.

I’ve just posted two of mine: The Core and The Day After Tomorrow, so if you head on over to the blog, you can join in and tell us what you think of these particular apocalypses. Apocalypsi. Apocalypso.

Whatever.

Linkpunk

There’s a bunch of odds, sods and general bits & bobs I need to tidy up, I suspect.

Several are here.

The Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse anthology is now available to buy. Go here (UK Kindle edition) or here (US Kindle edition) for all your end-of-the-world needs. There are some seriously awesome stories in there. And there’s mine, too.

Next.

Solaris have put out a press release with a few more details about “Blood & Feathers”, and said some very lovely things indeed. This makes me happy and not a little nervous. But basically, if you’ve ever wondered what Alice in Wonderland would be like if it was set in Hell, I think it’s fair to say you’re in safe hands here. Or possibly insane ones.

Finally (somewhat fittingly) I’ve been recruited by the Apocalypse Girls, so expect to see me popping up on the site every once in a while, along with some fabulous ladies offering their practical tips for surviving mass annihilation. Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t have to mean we can’t handle it with grace, poise, and a truckload of attitude.

Welcome to The Girls Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse.

Over the next few months a collective of experts will be posting their top tips for survival of all kinds of apocalypse, large or small. There will be alternative takes on the best way to tackle zombies, what shoes work in the next ice age, weapons selection, care and maintenance and every thing else the modern girl needs in the end of the world.

Be ready for Zombies, Werewolves, Hell literally freezing over, Skynet and the worst hair day ever.

Lock and Load ladies, the end of the world is coming.

Zombie update: the zombie zeitgeist?

Look what I spotted about ten minutes after I posted yesterday’s blog: shuffling off the presses, a piece on why zombies are the Big Thing right now.

Big thanks, too, to @dodgyhoodoo (who you really should follow if you’re on Twitter. Less so if you’re not. Stalking’s not cool, kids) who sent me a link to this (it’s a Cafepress page, but involves “language” and Warren Ellis, so approach with caution if at work).

The Rapture may not have happened (again) but there’s a distinctly End-Timey feel about this whole business…

(Quick update! Look what’s going on over at io9: zombie week – groaning their way onto a screen near you!)

Hot Zombie

Somewhat different from the Flaming Zombies I was drinking at the launch of “Ashes”, Ilsa Bick’s new YA book for Quercus on Monday, these zombies are another animal altogether.

I’ll explain.

Brighton being Brighton, we’re not exactly a subdued bunch in the city. Brightonians take most things in their stride (take, for instance, the awful homophobic itinerant preacher prowling the streets of town yesterday. He began howling at a gay couple walking past him, and they duly stopped, looked him up & down… and one of them responded with “You’ll never get me to turn, love. Not in those shoes,” to rousing applause from passers-by).  But I digress.

Yesterday was Beach of the Dead day. For the uninitiated, that’s our annual mass zombie-walk. I know. It’s hard to tell the difference between that and a regular weekend on the seafront – what can I say?

But yesterday, I was on my way home through town – not long before the walk (shuffle?) started, and I ran into a bunch of teenage zombies lurking outside Burger King. One of them was wearing a cardboard crown. Fair enough. However, what bothered me were the two girls in the middle of the group, who were adjusting their lipstick…

Yes, they weren’t just zombies. They were sexy zombies.

Now, maybe I’m getting cynical in my dotage… but isn’t this rather missing the point? Sexy zombies? Seriously? And let’s be clear – this wasn’t oh-my-god-these-girls-are-so-hot-they-even-look-gorgeous-when-they’re-part-of-a-horde-of-shuffling-undead. No. This was “Excuse me? I heard there’s a Britney circa-1998 video casting round here somewhere…” sexy.

Maybe I’m just not crediting them where credit’s due: perhaps they were channelling kids who were on their way to a fancy-dress party when they were attacked by rampaging monsters… It just seems like that option is, frankly, a bit meta.

I’m not saying you can’t have sexy monsters. Vampires are the old standard, despite being, y’know, dead. Werewolves, too: they’re all about the inner beast. Both have reasonable, logical justifications for bringing a bit of sexy back with them.

But zombies…?

Oxycontin Genocide

I picked up on an interesting article, originally published in the Guardian, via io9 this afternoon:

A pill to enhance moral behaviour, a treatment for racist thoughts, a therapy to increase your empathy for people in other countries – these may sound like the stuff of science fiction but with medicine getting closer to altering our moral state, society should be preparing for the consequences, according to a book that reviews scientific developments in the field.

Drugs such as Prozac that alter a patient’s mental state already have an impact on moral behaviour, but scientists predict that future medical advances may allow much more sophisticated manipulations.

My knee-jerk reaction was to check the date. Nope. Not the first. All good.

My next reaction was two-part, and it went something like this: “Wait… haven’t they heard of Pax?”… followed briskly by: “So, I should start brushing up on my gun kata then?”

While I’m fairly sure this is a highly selective & leading article, it did make me think. You probably heard it: that sound like a squid swallowing a rusty chicken? That was me.

This kind of research makes me deeply, deeply uncomfortable. I’ve always been very open about the fact that I’ve been on anti-depressants in the past, several times, and while I know they definitely did their job, I hated being on them with a passion.

Or, actually, with an absence of passion. Because I wasn’t chemically capable of feeling any kind of passion for anything. That’s how they work, after all. So I can tell you from personal experience that you won’t find me lining up to voluntarily take any kind of pill that messes with my brain which – and here’s the important bit – I do not need.

My moral compass generally points somewhere in the vague direction of north-ish, I’ve been known to give up my seat on the bus, and I’ve only bludgeoned irritating neighbours to death with a blunt instrument in my mind’s eye. So, in this instance, why would I agree to take medication for the sake of making me more moral(again, -ish) than I already am?

And that’s it, isn’t it? I wouldn’t. Not voluntarily.

Meulen also suggested that moral-enhancement drugs might be used in the criminal justice system. “These drugs will be more effective in prevention and cure than prison,” he said.

Now, you knew that was coming. We’d start by medicating the murderers…

Kahane does not advocate putting morality drugs in the water supply, but he suggests that if administered widely they might help humanity to tackle global issues.

“Relating to the plight of people on other side of the world or of future generations is not in our nature,” he said. “This new body of drugs could make possible feelings of global affiliation and of abstract empathy for future generations.”

… then we move to medicate the masses – because it’s all for the Greater Good.

Sure.

Thank you for the venom, right?

The full article is here.

If anyone wants to tell me that this is an April Fool, that’d be grand. And otherwise? I’ll get my (brown)coat and start stashing the art under the floorboards.