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Aidan Doyle is a Clarion South 2009 survivor. Quotes for which he will be remembered are: “Bears are my unicorns”, “The zombies didn’t work for me from a programming perspective”, and “Needs more monkeys”. He is a traveller, writer, computer programmer and is publishing new stories at a rate of knots and working on a novel. I suspect an army of super monkey slaves. 

His work has been published in Fantasy Magazine, Weird Tales, Strange Horizons, Borderlands, Aurealis … and more!

1. If I wasn’t a writer, I would be …
In my high school careers class we had to compile a list of five jobs we thought might be interesting. I chose: computer games programmer, writer, actor, board games designer and security guard. I worked for a few years as a computer games programmer before moving into web site programming.  I don’t know why I listed security guard –
perhaps I was envisioning a life of foiling supervillains rather than patrolling cold warehouses.

I’ve visited several countries where for the purposes of filling in immigration forms, I am most definitely not a writer.  In those cases I list my occupation as pixel-pushing monkey wrangler.

2. Does every story really need 32% more monkeys?
Scholars have long debated the percentage of monkeys needed to provide a rich and satisfying tale.  Personally I think that adding 20% more monkeys after the first draft is the secret to crafting a literary masterpiece.  This excludes cases where you have zero monkeys in the first draft (20% of zero is still zero).  But if you were serious about writing, why would you have a zero monkey draft in the first place?

3. You get to be invisible for one day – where do you go, what do you do?
When I lived in Japan, I visited a ninja master who was training an army of monkey assassins in the art of stealth.  But the monkeys ended up just using their power of invisibility to play pranks on each other.  I suspect I would behave in a similar way to the monkeys.

4. My Snoopy Dance sale was …
When I was 17, I sold an article to my favorite magazine at the time – Dragon, the American role-playing magazine.  That was my first sale.

5. Donuts or danishes?
Donuts.  Is there anything they can’t do?

His revolution is here, but will not be anthologised … merely blogged.

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Australian author Robert Hood is a legend in zombie, giant monster and general horror circles. Why? Coz he just tells a damned good tale that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and whimper. He has been tutored by Thea Astley at university, directed plays, been nominated for a variety of awards including Ditmars, Aurealis and a Readercon award for best collection; and he has also two Atheling Awards for Genre Criticism in his treasure trove. His collections include Creeping in Reptile Flesh, Immaterial and Day-dreaming on Company Time

Upcomings: publication of a zombie novella in Zombie Apocalypse! edited by Stephen Jones (Robinson UK and Running Press US, October 2010), and the novel Robot War Espresso from Twelfth Planet Press (probably April 2011) – which contains no zombies.

Here are his random answers to my random questions and he interviews Batman. Huzzah!

1. Batman -v- a Zombie (just one, not a whole cluster): discuss.
To best answer this question, I interviewed Batman himself, asking him how he thought he’d fare against a lone zombie.

Batman: You’re joking, surely. Those shambling meatbags don’t stand a chance against me. I defeated a bunch of mutant zombies way back in 1940! I’ve had to deal with the Rainbow Beast, the Ogre and his brother Ape, Clayface, Killer Croc, the Man-Bat, Bane, and all sorts of slathering monstrosities — including huge robots, dragons, gods, demons and the like in the company of my Justice League buddies. That’s on top of endless mobsters and gun-toting bad guys with super-science weaponry. A lone zombie? Not a chance.

Rob: Even if he’s one of the fast variety?

Batman: Some of those villains I’m mentioned make a fast zombie look like a shambler.

Rob: But if the zombie got close enough to bite you…?

 Batman: I wouldn’t let it, would I?

Rob: How would you stop it without getting close-up and personal?

Batman: One of these bat-blades! 

Rob: Bat-blades?

Batman: Here, take a look!

Rob: Owwwww!

Batman: Oops! Sorry about your hand. I’m sure Doc Strange’ll grow you a new one.

Rob: You know Doc Strange? But he’s part of the Marvel Universe, not DC.

Batman: We hang out sometimes.

Rob: Speaking of Marvel, all their superheroes got turned into cannibalistic dead in the Marvel Zombies franchise, I recall. Then they ate the entire universe. Zombie Thor would be hard to deal with.

Batman: It was an alternate universe. A Marvel alternate universe.

Rob: But what if it happened in the DC Universe and you met up with a lone zombie that happened to be Zombie Superman? You’d be stuffed then.

Batman: That’s why I carry this bat-blade I created out of lumps of Kryptonite I had lying around in the Bat Cave. Want to check it out.

Rob: That’s okay. I can see it from here…

2. I first realised I wanted to be a writer when …
My English teacher would set a one-page story as a writing assignment and I’d regularly write 8 pages or so instead. The stories were always SF, fantasy or horror, too. I was unstoppable, whatever the topic. A key ego-establishing moment came when I wrote a story about an astronaut in orbit. He listens to radio broadcasts announcing the start of World War 3. The story ended with his realisation that there was no one left alive down there and that he was doomed to circle the Earth until his orbit decayed… My teacher made me read it to the class (thus, embarrassing the hell out of me) and then commented: “I’ve always wanted to be able to write a story like that.”

Actually I probably decided I wanted to be a writer when I read H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds for a library assignment in First Form, and loved it. That’s when I wrote my own invasion novel. The difference between them was that mine was crap. But within a few months, I was getting rejected by Galaxy Magazine in the States….

3. The book I most wish I’d written is …
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Or something that tells an equally iconic story. Frankenstein. Dracula. Hey, War of the Worlds for that matter.

4. What is the optimal number of zombies for a novel? And for a short story?
There’s two answers to that. Firstly, there’s no optimal number as long as there’s an endless stream of them. The flesh-eating type functions best in a crowd. Zombies are oddly social monsters, considering bits of them tend to drop off at parties.

Secondly, there’s definitely a place for single zombies, particularly when defined as re-animated dead of a more traditional kind — deceased individuals seeking vengeance for wrongs done them… that sort of thing. These ones are like corporeal ghosts — symbols of the angry or guilty past that can’t be laid to rest easily.

I don’t think novel or short story makes much difference, though the single zombie might work best in short stories. Still, I’ve written several zombie short stories of the apocalyptic kind. And an as-yet-unpublished novel with only one or two.

5. Donuts or danishes?
Well, in reality, my answer would have to be “neither”. I have an annoying gluten intolerance, unfortunately. If I could though, I’d go for a Danish. After all, policemen eat donuts, but zombies eat Danes.

His website is here and includes the soon-to-be-legendary-if-it-ain’t-already Undead Backbrain.

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Courtesy of my fave Apocalpse advocate, Jason Fischer*. Nice to see no sign of Scrappy – reckon he would have made an excellent stew.

* Note: he also believes Puffins will soon take over the world.

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… about evolution and because it’s me, it’s not about the usual, ordinary, everyday kind of evolution. It’s about the evolution of monsters. The question I put to y’all is this:

Are we soon to see the Zombie Superhero?

Or has there already been one? I’ve seen some Marvel Zombies stuff in my surfing of t’intertubes, but did not find it convincing.

Talk among yourself, discuss, debate and get back to me.

Vampires used to be scary (as per BDC’s most excellent post http://brendandcarsonsfiction.blogspot.com/2009/08/vampires-anticlowns-or-something.html). Now they’re cuddly, if a little bitey (rather like a Bonsai Tiger*). But there’s also the vampire-as-superhero iteration – where we shifted from bitey-and-nasty to bitey-but-tries-to-do-good (Forever Knight, Angel, Blood Ties, Twilight). The Neutered Vamprie, really, not much of a threat at all.

So is the zombie soon to undergo this evolution/transformation/transubstantiation? Or is rotting flesh and a tendency to eat brains just never gonna be sexy enough? Deal breakers?

Thoughts? Comments?

 

* ™ C M Sutton, circa 1998.

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