The Zombie Generation by Drake Vaughn
Not long ago, a writer I enjoy declared he would never read another zombie story. That they were all filled with the same cliché characters and recycled plots. That even the post-apocalyptic landscapes had become predictable and boring. Hearing this, I immediately began to type. And The Zombie Generation was the result.
First, I knew I had to alter the zombies themselves. Of course, my undead are the same brain chomping monsters as usual, but they’re also lazy and fat. They give chase, but they’d also be content spending all day lying around in giant piles and eating trash. They’d overrun the valleys and destroyed the city of Los Angeles, but being so lazy, they had yet to make their way up into the hills. Survival is practically guaranteed in the mountains, but only single person remains.
And this one survivor, Warner, is far different than the typical zombie hunter. He isn’t a survivalist and doesn’t have a clue how to manage on his own. Nor is he a former special-ops or military man. Previous to the outbreak, he hadn’t even held a gun. Mostly because he was afraid of shooting himself. Weak and afraid, he can’t even muster up the guts to kill his undead enemies. Instead, he scares them off with noisy children’s toys. Warner’s been a big zilch his entire life, but for reasons unknown to him, he’s the only one who hasn’t transformed into a sloth-like blob.
And in an odd way, Warner has waited his whole life for this day. For a time when he could finally be the one in charge. Where any material possession is free for his taking. Where he is no longer a slave to his dead-end job. Where he can do and say whatever he please. To get up and noon and have no responsibilities. To finally be free.
But he can’t stand it. Warner loathes everything about this world.
And worse, the isolation has driven him to the brink of insanity. Plagued with vivid hallucinations and shocking nightmares, he spends day after day searching for any sign of life. Taking ever more dangerous risks to find companionship, he realizes he has been infected with the deadly disease. He begins to switch between man and beast, discovering a temporary friend with one of the vicious undead. Still, pressing ahead through these deadly transformations, he comes closer to finding a cure.
That’s when a stranger arrives, declaring she is part of a group of stranded survivors. With barely any time left before the infection overtakes him, Warner must decide between continuing his search for a cure or attempting a suicidal quest to rescue these survivors. Worst of all, he’s not certain they are even real and fears they might just be another figment of his crumbling sanity.
Most post-apocalyptic tales concentrate on the collapse of society. And The Zombie Generation certainly does that. But more than anything, it’s about the mental breakdown of the world’s final man. Oh, and it’s also filled with cool action and brain chomping beasts. I sent that author a copy and he enjoyed it. I think you will too.
Drake Vaughn is the author of “The Zombie Generation” (Dead Orb Press, 2012). He lives in Santa Monica, CA with his wife and a spunky black cat who has returned from the dead on a number of occasions.