Back in July we interviewed Seanan McGuire, author of the Tody Daye series and “science fiction zombie political thriller” Feed, for this blog. When I was speaking to her, she had been nominated for a Hugo and was packing for AussieCon4 in Melbourne. The Hugo Awards have been running since 1953, and are awarded to the best in fiction, art, editing, film making and fan achievements in science fiction and fantasy. Seanan was pretty excited, both about visiting Australia for the first time and the fact that she was up for best New Writer, but was nice enough to take the time out to talk to me about writing, zombies and the importance of getting your research right.
The John W. Campbell Award is given to the best new science fiction or fantasy writer whose first work was published in the last two years, and I am delighted to see that she won. Having just finished reading Feed, which Seanan wrote as under the name of Mira Grant, I’ve been recommending it to everyone.
Feed is less about horror, guts and zombie gore, and more about the political, social and media landscape that forms twenty years after the zombie apocalypse when gatherings of more than 20 people are viewed as a deathtrap and windows no longer exist, but elections still need to happen. It’s about a world where everyone carries the zombie virus, and friends and family could turn at any time and a future where some journalists (called, amusingly enough, Irwins) take insane risks to titillate the bunkered public with shots of zombie-baiting. It’s a suspenseful and speculative story whose characters will stay in your head long after they are dead.
Especially after they are dead.
Feed will be joining all the other titles telling me how to survive an undead invasion. There is the stern Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, which contains useful tips on reinforcing your home (remember, windows are not your friends) and picking the right sort of melee weapon so you don’t end up clutching something too heavy to lift when the time comes. There’s the Ultimate Survival Guide, which is also useful for scenarios that don’t involve zombies. (Although, honestly, what are the odds of that?)
And, just to remind you that just because the world is ending there is no need to be uncouth, there is always Pride, Prejudice and Zombies.
There’s also Zombies for Zombies, a guide for the freshly infected, which I am hoping I won’t need but should it happen at least I will have guide to help me to transition through that awkward opening period where you want to eat everbody’s brains but you are just not sure HOW.
For those of you wondering about how reading books about zombies qualifies as real-world reading, well, I figure when the cries of “brains” start it will be too late to get to a bookstore. I’m getting my library together now. As any reputable zombie-survival guide will tell you, be prepared. And don’t stand near the window.