My guest today is author Paul Jessup. His latest book, Dead Stay Dead, was recently released on February 13, 2011. Please join me in welcoming Paul here today to Dark Faerie Tales. You can read an excerpt from the book here.
One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Dead Stay Dead. As always, details are listed at the end of the post.
Paul Jessup is a critically acclaimed writer of fantastical fiction. He’s been published in many magazines, both offline and on, with two books published in 2009 (short novel, Open Your Eyes and the short story collection Glass Coffin Girls) and a third in 2010 (the illustrated book, Werewolves). You can visit Paul’s website here.
Are We in Glitter Zombie Territory Yet?
by Paul Jessup
You know Vampires were done, over, put a stake in ’em, they’re finished when they started sparkling. Sure for about a year we got an influx of bad imitation YA sparkly vampire romances, but that was pretty much the killshot for vampires. You cut out everything that makes them scary, and instead make them a love interest, and it weakens them, and cuts them down, and leaves them dying in the gutter.
It was a slow, downward spiral, starting with Ann Rice, moving onto Angel and Spike, and then culminating in a tween love fest. Are zombies going the same route? Are we doing them to (un)death? Are we getting to sparkly zombie territory yet?
Maybe, maybe. There are several slow zombie stories in the past few years that ratcheted up the romance and toned down the horror and gore, and even a few that made zombies either objects of romance or even objects of sexuality (which…just…no. What? No.). It’s not to far a leap to get brooding zombies that don’t look or act like zombies, that sparkle when shot in the head or something, and that pine for what it was like to be living. And fall in love with some highschool nerd that would be a social outcast in real life but is somehow the Mary Sue to end all Mary Sues and everyone loves and it’s all great and happy.
But we can stop it. We can stop it right now. Zombie lovers, unite! Bring back all the stuff that makes our stomachs turn! Gore and violence, and mindless corpses that are nothing but animated eating machines! Stand! Stand up now! Before we are devoured by our own creations!
Of course, it’s easy for me to say that and all, but it gets tricky because genres (and zombie fic is basically a genre in itself- it’s got required motifs, expected problems/solutions, genre furniture, etc) are an evolve or die kind of creature. Not enough innovation and the suckas get stale and die a slow and rotting death from the neck down.
So we, of course, need to create new filters, new lenses, new ways of looking at the same old, same old. That’s why, whenever you hear someone say they’re writing a vampire story they say that there vampires are different (and give some explanation as to why) or a zombie story they say their zombies are different (mine have razor teeth and monkey eyes! and run and dance and skip!) or if they’re writing an epic fantasy, they say their elves are different. They want to evolve the genre, give us more but different. BIGGER BETTER FASTER yet still the same damned thing.
That staleness is like entropy, that evolution of genre is like trying to fight against the heat death of the universe. No matter how hard you innovate, eventually you deviate too far from the original formula and then the genre is something else all together completely different. You’re in sparkly zombie territory, and the zombies sing and do softshoe and don’t even eat human flesh or rot anymore.
So the trick is, I guess, to innovate without deviating to the point of self destruction. The easiest way to do this, of course, is a post modern parody of the genre. Not that I know anything about that at all (coughcough Dead Stay Dead coughcough).
Synopsis (Product Description):
What do you get when you cross Buffy, the Vampire Slayer with equal parts Shaun of the Dead? Well… we’re not sure, but Paul Jessup’s Dead Stay Dead does an admirable job of trying!
Natasha is a ghost whisperer. Her roommate is a gypsy able to explode heads Scanners style with her mind. And campus has been overrun by zombies. What’s a girl to do?
One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Dead Stay Dead.
To enter, leave a comment below answering the following question:
An appropriate question here would be, what would the people prefer as a means to propel the genre’s evolution? Sparkles or parody?
1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).
2. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.
3. +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).
4. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
5. Please include your email address in your comment.
6. Giveaway ends Friday, April 1st at 11:59 PM EST.
7. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.
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