Not much to say

Went to the writers group meeting tonight. I am very glad I joined. We have writers at all different levels of ability and the mix-up is very energizing and fosters creativity.

The only downside to tonight’s meeting was weather really reduced our turn-out. The freeways and roads were jammed from a sudden storm through the area.



So tonight I continued work on my zombie idea. I am really taken with the mechanics of my revenants, and what that means in a larger context. The fantasy/horror version of our world is falling into place and the first broad strokes of plot are also starting to form a puzzle.

You see the plot is a puzzle me before it is a puzzle for my readers. I’ll get the plot in bits and in pieces. I have to find ways of tying those bits into a whole, usually by means of the proper characters and the proper viewpoint.

Still, if I undertake this project it will be my biggest challenge to date. A real world setting, a novel length horror story, and a reinvention of what is now a very solid monster.


A visit by a goddess

So there I was at work today, my mind slightly wandering between tasks when suddenly a goddess visited me. Of course if I were an artist I would cite the muse as the deity that brought a bright and sudden illumination to my mind, but since i am not an artist I’ll blame Ereshkigal Summerian goddess of the dead.

That would be fitting as my lighting quick inspiration was about the dead, or more specifically the undead. After watching The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue, cinematic zombies have been on my mind. To tell the truth they are never very far from it anyway. I have always had a fascination with survival situations and the Zombie Apocalypse ranks right up there in fun though and game experiments.

Even if you posit the existence of supernatural undead who attack and consume the living the sort of apocalypse envisioned by filmmakers simply isn’t possible. The hard cold mathematics are there simply are not enough dead people lying about to cause that sort of carnage.

According to the CDC the death rate in the United States is 803.6 per 100,000 per year. (stats are from 2007.) Let super impose that on my hometown of San Diego California. San Diego City has a population of 1,359,132 and so statistically has 10,921.98 death per year.  That breaks down to 29.90 deaths per day. The top three causes of death are Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke all of which are primarily diseases of the elderly and constitute 25.4%, 23.2%, and 5.6% percent of death respectively. These three causes total to 54.2% of all deaths. The majority of your zombies are going to be frail old bodies that break easily.

So let’s wave our wand and revivify all the dead in san Diego for the last three days. That’s going to be 89.7 zombies, of which 48.6 are going to be ex-Senior Citizen Zombies. (Those beyond three days are almost certainly in the ground or burnt and hardly a threat to anyone.)

San Diego City has an area of 372.1 square miles. This yields in our zombie apocalypse .24 zombie per square mile, and most of those are old frail bodies. I think a scenario of  1 zombie ever 4.14 square miles is a very under-control situation.

The outlook for a zombie apocalypse grows even fainter when you realize that most people die in hospitals. The bodies are one, locked in cold vault and unable to get at victims to spread the infection and two in a situation where is it easy to lock down and isolate the carriers. Yes, you in the back? Oh, you want to point out that it takes only a single bite to transform a human to a zombie. Good point, but remember the Zombie consume their victims. In a fight where the zombie clearly wins, there is no transformation because the victim body has been destroyed not converted. We only have conversions when there is a partial victory by the zombie. A bitten vicitm who escapes to die later. Not a very good vector for a rapid spread disease.

The explosion of epiphany I had today was a zombie scenario that can yield a zombie apocalypse. I envisioned a new zombie. One that certainly draws up the ghouls from George A Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead, and also on the zombies of the Caribbean with additional influences from revenant mythology.

I found my mind just running away from me with ideas and details about how this new undead ghoul would work and the unique dangers it presented. Story elements began to present themselves and scenes started to play in the theater of my mind. I can’t go into details here. I think — I’m not certain — but I think I may have my first horror novel germinating in my grey matter.

I have never written a horror novel, and I have never written a novel set in the here and now; so there are real challenges ahead of me. Not the least of which is that no solid story may develop, but it will not be from lack of trying!


Sunday Night Movie:The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue

Like another movie I own, Planet Of The Vampires, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue is a film that has been released under a bewildering array of titles. Released in 1974 this is a zombie movie that is  post-Night of The Living Dead (1968) but preceded both films that ushered in the Zombie Apocalypse®, Zombie and Dawn of the Dead (1979.)

Placed in such a unique position in zombie movie chronology The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue is a film particular to its time and place in history. For quite a while it was wholly  unavailable on home video and therefore rarely seen. I myself had not heard of this Italian/Spanish co-prpduction until it was mentioned during Zombie week at

Today the Zombie Apocalypse® is a well established meme in the greater trans-world culture. Nearly everyone knows what is meant by the Zombie Apocalypse® and it is a common parlor game to thought-experiment your survivalist victory against the hordes of undead. In these thought-scenerios the undead are nearly always the ghouls envision by George A Romero in his film Night of The Living Dead. If one is a heretic, you propose an apocalypse of Zack Snyder’s fast zombie from the re-make of Dawn of The Dead, but most purist reject these zombies. (I do not, I own both versions the 1979 and the 2004 on home video.) If one is utterly desiring of death and failure, you might go with the Dan O’Bannon zombies of Return Of The Living Dead, but really who is interested in an apocalypse of indestructible zombies? Continue reading Sunday Night Movie:The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue


Pitching Cawdor

So here are my first, and pitiful, attempts to find a way to pitch my newest novel.

As a military officer, Major Gloria Manning has never directly seen combat. The war between her people and the Grand Unified Compact has been a war of limited engagements fought by highly principled and religiously adhered rules. On Cawdor all that changed. The Rules of War have been cast aside and Gloria is discovering that not all enemies wear different uniforms. A terrible secret lies on Cawdor and Gloria finds herself surrounded by chaos and treachery. Unless she can unlock Cawdor’s secret all of humanity may be plunged into genocidal warfare.

Majors Evelyn Sistari and Gloria Manning have every reason to distrust each other. They are enemies is a decade spanning war. Their cultures, though both human, are so different as to make them alien to one another. Now, trapped on the dying planet Cawdor, treason, murder, and madness threaten not only the two officers, but the wider war. Cawdor will test their loyalty and their sanity.

For Major Gloria Manning duty on Cawdor should have been a dull affair without opportunity for advancement. Then the Grand Unified Compact invaded. Suddenly she found herself a paroled officer, bound to the orders of the invaders. Torn between following the lawful rules of war, or fighting the increasing irrational invaders, Gloria must discover the truth hidden on Cawdor. A truth so terrible that even her people could be offered up as a sacrifice to protect it.

Major Gloria Manning never found it difficult to be loyal. She served in a professional and motivated military that scrupulously followed the rules of war. Her culture was the first truly rational culture in human history, dedicated to the flowering of humanity across the galaxy. The planet Cawdor destroyed her idyllic life. Trapped with an enemy force twice the size of her own, Gloria is forced to work with an irrational and unpredictable enemy to survive. When treason and assassination become to rule of the day, Gloria learns that not all enemies are easily known.

When her units surrendered to the enemy, Major Gloria Manning thought her career over. Trapped on a dying world, Cawdor, the star-gates inoperative, she expected nothing more than either imprisonment or death. That was before an assassination thew the allied forces into chaos. Embroiled in a plots of mutiny, madness and murder Gloria discovers that Cawdor harbors a secret that threatens all of humanity. Can she discover who her true allies and enemies are before time runs out?

Major Gloria Manning always supported the war. She never doubted that the Celestial Renaissance Cooperative was the salvation of a fragmented humanity scattered across the galaxy. Now after a surprise attack has left her forces trapped on the dying planet Cawdor Gloria begins to doubt. Tangled in a web of lies, mutiny, and murder she must discover the truth. One that reveals that the enemy is not always who you thought.


Futile post averted

I had done some research for a post about the candidate from Delaware for the U.S. Senate,  Ms. Christine O’Donnell. Frankly I could not imagine supporting such a person for the U.S. Senate. It is not that I am against balancing a terribly out of whack budget. I’m for that. We cannot go on spending money we do not have. The fiddler always shows up for his pay. Always.
It’s that firstly I do not think she is all that serious about budget issues, but beyond that she is simply too irrational to be worthy of support.
I abandoned the post because I realized it would serve absolutely no purpose. If you were supporting her now, you would no matter what I said.
Either her irrationalities are your own, and they do no seem irrational to you. Or you do not see them and do not want to see them. The ‘win’ for your team is more important than the idea that creationism and evolution are simply too co-equal points of view. If this is a trade off you are willing to accept for a win, fine, it is not one I am willing to accept.
Here is where I think our current political system is in real danger. There is no room anymore for someone to be wrong and not be evil.

A clue people, Obama is not Hitler. Bush is not Hitler, hell Saddam Hussein was not Hitler. (He’s literally no body now.) Hitler was Hitler that is the sum total in the Hitler mathematical set. Obama is a liberal, but that does not mean he is evil. Bush was conservative. (Oh, don’t you people on the right scream. There hardly a firestorm of protest against the man when he was in power.) But Bush was not evil.

This insistence that the opposition MUST some despicable evil, akin to Hitler always, and that Fascism or Communism is right around the corner unless we stop them is asinine and idiotic. It will only get worse before it gets better as thanks to fragmentation of the media people are more and more often selecting there information sources so that their biases as confirmed and their villain properly mocked and attacked. This is not information, this is not becoming educated on a subject, it is adopting a religion. A set of guideposts that tell you who is in your tribe, who is out of your tribe and who are the bad guys responsible for the ills of the world.

It is hokum.