Eric S Brown Interview
by Michele Lee
Eric S Brown
is a 34 year old author living in NC. He has been called "the king of zombies"
by places like Dread Central and was featured in the book Zombie CSU: The
Forensics of the Living Dead as an expert on the genre. Some of his books
include Space Stations and Graveyards, Dying Days, Portals of Terror, Madmen's
Dreams, Cobble, The Queen, The Wave, Waking Nightmares, Unabridged
Unabashed and Undead: The Best of Eric S Brown, Barren Earth, Season of Rot, War
of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies, World War of the Dead, Zombies II:
Inhuman, etc. He was the editor of the anthology Wolves of War from Library of
Horror Press. Some of his upcoming titles include Bigfoot War, The Human
Experiment, Anti-Heroes, and Tandems of Terror. His short fiction has been
published hundreds of times. Some of his anthology appearances include Dead
Worlds I,II, III, and V, The Blackest Death I & II, The Undead I & II, Dead
History, Dead Science, Zombology I & II, The Zombist, and the upcoming Gentlemen
of Horror 2010 to name only a few.
He also writes an ongoing column on the world of comic books for Abandoned Towers magazine.
ML: First, why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your most recent releases?
ESB: Some of my best releases last year were War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies, Season of Rot, World War of the Dead, and a zombie SF book entitled Barren Earth. Coming this year, I have my first two superhero books (The Human Experiment and Anti-Heroes), a new giant sized collection with John Grover called Tandems of Terror, and a paperback novella called Bigfoot War (from Coscom Entertainment). I think Bigfoot War is one of the most carnage filled and fun things I have ever written.
ML: You're well known as a zombie author. Lately there's been a lot of disillusionment with the sub genre, with many people blaming tired plots and recent mash ups, like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, for a decline in zombie fiction. What's your take on this?
ESB: I think Zombies are one of those monsters that rises up in popularity and hits the world like a nuclear bomb from time to time then goes back to being a cult thing until the dead rise again. There are tons of great zombie books out there but there are also tons of not so great ones. Like anything else, you just have to be careful what you buy so you don't waste your cash. With War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies, my retelling of H.G. Wells' alien invasion classic, I did my best to take it seriously and deliver a hard hitting Z tale not a parody.
ML: Likewise, horror in general is often dismissed or over looked by readers and libraries because of the belief that it's all Freddy, Jason and Hostel type stories. Do you believe that horror is a genre that appeals to readers of more mundane stories, or do you think people are wrongly dismissing it?
ESB: I think it's a bit of both. Horror fans expect a certain formula and go looking for that in general but the more discerning horror reader
stays on the quest to find that new and original masterpiece that will leave them having nightmares and talking about it for weeks.
ML: In the same vein, what are some horror classic that you believe deserve a place on more reading lists?
ESB: F. Paul Wilson's The Keep is one of my favorite WWII horror novels. It inspired my own book World War of the Dead. I would also list
Earthworm Gods, Empire, Swan Song, and Dead in the West as must read books. If we're talking school reading lists though, I think H.P. Lovecraft's work should replace most of the Poe stuff they teach.
ML: What's the draw to horror for you, as a writer and a reader?
ESB: I like to be terrified and disgusted. Can't help it, it's who I am. I also love action so I tend to steer more to horror with a war, military edge to it. Some good examples would be Aliens, Z. A. Recht's books, and again F. Paul Wilson's The Keep.
ML: What are some of your goals, as you write and edit your books? What do you want readers to take from them?
ESB: I always put a bit of me in each of my works whether that's just my inner child/zombie fan part coming out and playing or deciding to
include a moral message behind the battle of good vs. evil. Above all, I want my readers to have a good time and read the kind of stuff I enjoy as a fan.
ML: So, why zombies and not vampires, or werewolves?
ESB: Zombies are the modern monster. They fit better with our world today and they are a lot scarier. The idea of a virus or plague alone killing so many people is disturbing enough in its self but toss in them getting back up and chewing your face off with no remorse and you have a winner in tears of fear.
ML: How do you think the sub genre has changed since the original zombie movies like, White Zombie, Things to Come and Night of the Living Dead? How has the zombie itself changed?
ESB: The zombie is constantly changing, getting smarter, faster, even hopping species. That's one of the great things about the
sub-genre. Everyone is trying to do something new with it but keep that old end of the world, flesh eating fear intact.
ML: What do you look for in a good book?
ESB: Well developed characters that move me, an interesting plot, and above all, enough action to make me dream about it and keep me turning the pages as fast as I can read.
ML: Finally, what are you working on right now?
ESB: I just finished The Human Experiment and am for the moment caught up on longer projects so I am writing mostly short fiction and my columns until I feel ready to return hardcore to the world of zombies with a brand new book that has been growing in the back of my mind. You can find some of my short fiction this year in anthologies like The Zombist, Dead History, Dead Worlds 5, Gentlemen of Horror, an upcoming installment of the Zombology series, and others. I will also be adding chapters to Pill Hill Press's upcoming collab zombie novel they will be releasing this Fall/Winter (2010).
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