Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Autumn: Disintegration"

David Moody is the author of Hater, Dog Blood, and four-going-on-five books in the Autumn series. He grew up in Birmingham, England, on a diet of horror movies and post-apocalyptic fiction. He started his career working at a bank, but then decided to write the kind of fiction he loved. His first novel, Straight to You, had what Moody calls “microscopic sales,” and so when he wrote Autumn, he decided to publish it online. The book became a sensation and has been downloaded by half a million readers. He started his own publishing company, Infected Books. He lives in Britain with his wife and a houseful of daughters, which may explain his preoccupation with Armageddon.

Moody applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Autumn: Disintegration, and reported the following:
Autumn: Disintegration was originally conceived as an afterthought to my Autumn series of zombie novels. I began writing the books back in 2001, long before the zombie overkill which has a stranglehold on the horror genre today; long before people started rolling their eyes and groaning like the undead at the very mention of the ‘z word’.

It’s ironic, because the Autumn books are not about zombies at all. They’re about the people who’ve survived: those poor, helpless, desperate individuals left to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of an infection which has killed billions.

As I’ve hinted, the Autumn books aren’t your typical zombie stories: I’ve tried to make the characters act like I think you or I might should the unthinkable actually happen. They don’t do what the people in the movies do. They withdraw. They bicker. They struggle. Many people liked the approach I took. Some ‘purists’ definitely didn’t.

So what would happen, I thought, if a few stereotypical gung-ho characters found themselves trapped in the claustrophobic, dead world of Autumn? Page 69 of Disintegration typifies the friction between those who want to confront the dead, and those who simply want to survive. To some, fighting is a last resort. To others, it’s sport. In anticipation of a cull of the corpses gathered around the survivors’ stronghold, two men are sent out into the lifeless city to cause a distraction and draw some of the dead away.

Thing is, as the survivors of the previous Autumn books have discovered to their cost, it’s one thing talking the talk, but the reality of life among the undead is a very different matter:
Jas looked up as Harte approached. ‘You ready for this?’ he asked. He sounded subdued.

‘Suppose,’ Harte mumbled, adjusting the straps of a small rucksack which he then hoisted onto his back. ‘Let’s just get it done, shall we?’

Last night it had sounded like a sensible plan, but now, standing here in the cold light of morning, in full view of the endless devastation that was all that was left of their world, they were beginning to wonder exactly what they’d agreed to. The plan was for them to go out and create a distraction in a bid to reduce some of the pressure at the front of the crowd, but Jas suddenly felt less like a decoy and more like bait.
Learn more about the book and author at the official Autumn website.

--Marshal Zeringue