Okay, okay, it’s a zombie novel. That either has you rubbing your hands together in anticipation or running straight for the door. Please wait a while. Just a little while. This is not exactly your typical story about zombies.
I wanted to write an anti-zombie story. A story that would appeal to fans of the genre and to people who can’t see what all the fuss is about. A story that even my wife would read … and she is the wimpiest wimp that you could ever imagine. She still thinks that Finding Nemo is a horror story because of what happens to Nemo’s mother in the opening scene.
A comedy. A love story. A sort of Terry Pratchett / Douglas Adams witty little whimsy. Certificate PG. No-one gets eaten. Nibbled maybe, but not eaten. Not on-screen, anyway.
Here’s the deal. First, let’s turn off all the electricity. And I really do mean turn it off. I don’t mean flick a switch or disconnect all the power stations. Electricity stops working as a physical force as if it was never possible in the first place. Batteries don’t work. You can’t rig up a solar panel or a water wheel. Those nifty wind-up radios do nothing. It’s gone, baby, and it’s not coming back.
Why? We never find out. I hate it when a book or a movie makes something happen and then conveniently shows me an expert to explain how it happened. We don’t want any of that. Ordinary folk don’t have an egg-head in the cupboard to explain what is going on. And, naturally, you can’t turn on your laptop or television.
What happens in a world without electricity? Society starts to fall apart. We quickly run out of food, water, heat, light. This is not your common or garden power cut. The juice is off and it’s staying off for the rest of eternity. You had better hope that you’ve stocked up on a lot of candles.
Let’s ramp it up another notch. Let’s say that people start to change into creatures from fantasy. Werewolves, vampires, witches, elves and … yes … the odd zombie or two. Not only that but the landscape starts to change. The streets of London go back to being cobbled and shrouded in mists. Mystical forests grow over what used to be motorways.
Even the books on your shelves change overnight. History rewrites itself.
Got all that? Right about now, you might be picturing yourself as a heroic survivor in this landscape, with a shotgun over one shoulder and a broadsword over the other.
Ah, no. Sorry. Fate decides to wee in your Chardonnay. When the apocalypse happens and the lights go out, you find yourself on the wrong side of the zombie story. You are a zombie. Just how are you going to survive when the newly reformed Government decides that all sub-humans should be put to death, with the exception of those who are already dead who should be made even deader?
This is the story of the most unlikely hero. An ordinary man who gets confused by shoelaces, but who finds himself as a very reluctant hero.