One year and a little more since my last post.
Several things: I almost got another Stoker nomination. I didn’t get the nomination but the story, “So Many Tiny Mouths,” did get an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow’s YEAR’S BEST HORROR AND FANTASY anthology. A pretty good little tale, if I do say so: a pleasant little end-of-the-world tale set in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey – one of my favorite places. I spent months there back in the late 60s doing a documentary film. More about that, anon.
The near-Stoker thing got me an invitation to submit a story to an anthology-to-be of zombie stories.
Now, I can’t recall having actually read, much less written, a zombie story. I did have a few friends back in Pennsylvania who’d been living-dead extras in George Romero’s low-budget, albeit groundbreaking original “Night of the Living Dead.” I had actually seen the film -- and, with help, was to pick out some of my pals lurking under the prosthetics and makeup.
Point being: Zombie is a genre I neither know nor embrace.
Oh...right...I’d also seen the re-do of “Night...” which co-starred another friend, Tom Towles, from my Organic Theater days...and, now that I’m on the subject, I do remember having seen “I Walked with a Zombie,” but that hardly counts...
Back on track: I said, “yes.” Of course I did! How often does a previous and near-miss Stoker nominee get asked?
At first I thought I’d set it in Bluffton. I didn’t – more about that at another time!
I didn’t because something buzzed in me. I was on a Sunday afternoon skim of Powell’s Bookstore on 57th, by the University of Chicago, and found an intriguingly titled and arrestingly laid-out book, “Harry's War, Experiences In The 'Suicide Club' In World War One.” “Harry’s War...” was an oblong thing, a facsimile of a diary, with color sketches by the diarist, about life in the trenches. It tweaked something. I flashed on Mr. Boyer’s world history classes at Reading Senior High. The memories prodded research. I dove into World War I history, tunneling and mining strategy, walking tours of the front, pre-Second World War German mysticism. It went on. Norman Boyer would have been proud! A dozen books later, I wrote “Wind Shadows,” a zombie tale utterly without mention of the word!
I’m looking forward to AIM FOR THE HEAD -- should be out in late 2006. Hope you’ll look for it too.
Another thing: One of my vile stories, a trunk tale called “Little Girl Down the Way,” has become a Twilight Tales podcast. It’s at http://www.twilighttales.com/podcast/ That’s not me reading it, but the TT podcast host, David Munger, does a pretty good job with a damn difficult piece. Hope you’ll listen.
This is getting to be too long and meandering but it has been over a year.
I’ll try to do better in 2006.