So I watched the opening episode for The Walking Dead the other night. Season 3, episode 1.
I thought it was better than the opener of the season 2 (and is it just me, or were there scenes in season 2’s trailer that were never shown? Take a look on youtube.)
But there were parts in there that made me reflect on what I’ve done with Mountain Man. Namely, parts I wrote into the book, thinking they were original, but then discovering TWD already covered that. While writing the three books, I stayed away from pretty much all things zombie with a few exceptions. Stephen Knight’s military vs zombie action thriller “The Gathering Dead” (and the follow-ups) and Brian Jarrett’s “Into the Badlands” comes to mind. I also think I read Griffin Hayes’ “Hive” towards the end of book 2.
Once I finished “Hellifax,” I decided to get the Walking Dead series, and whoa… binge read all 7 volumes in a week.
They were–are… wonderful.
But therein, lies two problems.
First, I think TWD the comic book series is so good, that anything I might produce will be reflexively compared to it. Kirkman’s set an almost impossible bar of quality with his work. It left enough of a shine on me to just sit back and go “Whoa. That was … whoa.” And it really made me question doing another zombie book after MM3.
The other thing is… story wise it’s all been done. Or it’s veeeery close to being done. There were details which are in TWD and my own that mirror each other, and we all know the feeling of thinking you have the only cool bike on the street… just as a kid with an identical bike rides by. Details once thought original aren’t really so. There are so many zombie/PA stories out there, that only now it’s hitting me that anything I do… it very well might have been done already.
I had an idea for a stand alone story set with a band of survivors marooned on a oil rig, but there are books out there already covering that, so (shrugs). I initially kept the reason of the zombie outbreak in MM a mystery, but I had a cause in my head, only to hear another writer already used it to describe his own outbreak. So scratch that. If you read Safari, you know there’s a new threat to Gus which I felt was pretty original—but I’m waiting for someone to tell me otherwise…
I only really had a three book series in mind anyway, but with the success of the books (hoping it will continue with MM3) I came up with the possibility of a fourth story, depending on if there was a demand for it. I have an idea for MM4, but I know the general concept has been done, so I wonder if I should even try.
There’s just so much zombie stuff out there that similar storylines are, really, inevitable.
I probably shouldn’t feel this way. Vampires have been done for years, but every now and again, a story comes along that makes it fresh, like “Let the Right One In,” “30 Days of Night,” and “Manhattan Undying” (don’t know this one? You will). I even have a vampire story in which I know the concept has been done before, and yet I’m still going to write it in a year or two. I should probably take the same stance on zombies–if there’s a story to tell, with (hopefully) interesting characters and situations, then tell it.
Zombies have been good to me. It’s ironic that what’s keeping me alive these days are stories about dead things. Still not sure if a MM4 is a definite possibility, but I think I’ll leave that to you folks.
And on that rambling note, tweaking of MM3 continues. Goes to the editor the first of November.
I have to say, I read a lot of Zombie/PA fiction, and I’m still not tired of the genre.
I’ve read the book I think you’re referring to on the Oil Rig (either Outpost by Adam Baker, or maybe Brian Keene’s “Dead Sea”). Brian has his own style that is very different from yours, and Outpost REALLY felt a lot more like “Alien on an Oil Rig” than a Zombie/PA story. I liked it, but I think you’re too quick to compare the similarities and realize that there’s still a lot of room to tell your story, or we would have all given up on it when the 3 basic stories were first done (Man vs Man, Man vs Nature, Man vs Self). I think I’ve picked up all your books at this point, and would definitely welcome reading your take on another PA/Z story even if it did share some similarities in setting with other stories.
Hmmm, thanks for your thoughts, David. You’re probably right about me being too quick to compare. I haven’t read those books you mentioned. There’s another one by William Esmont which, from what I gather in the reviews, takes place on an oil rig.
I shall mull…
what you’ve added to the genre, besides the excellent menace in MM2, is a fantastic set of books. you’re a great author, your stories flow like water. in the zombie genre, there’s just a lot of poor writers who can’t build suspense or make the story interesting.
i’m glade you mentioned the gathering dead series – like your work, it just doesn’t get the praise that it deserves. both MMs and TGDs are books like draw you in and immerse you in the story. so please, keep writing. there is nothing new under the sun but your stores breath new life into the zombie genre.
Thank you for the encouragement!
And thanks to Keith and totalfailure (?) for the kind words about The Gathering Dead!
There are only a few zombie books I recommend to people, and The Gathering Dead series always stand out in my mind as quintessential reading.
i really have to post an intelligent review on amazon about TGD books – i loved the total immersion into the military response to the zom menace. i was wikipedia a lot looking up the equipment and the weapons.
I first read MM almost a decade ago. Now, after the 2nd prequel I’ve gone back for a second read. Great flow! Gotta say it’s pretty cool getting tuned into some of your thoughts on the subject so many years out.
Thank you much and keep it up (Breeds too)!
🙂 Thank you Matt. And in case you haven’t heard, I’m planning a new Breeds book for the future, after I get a couple of other series finished.