AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION

Right, nearly there with my recaps of the AUTUMN series in readiness for the UK release of AFTERMATH next week. Today I’m going to look at the various short stories I’ve written to expand and compliment the overall story over the years.

As I’ve already explained, AUTUMN started small but grew rapidly in size, its cast of characters growing with each new novel. Apart from jumping back in time to the beginning of the outbreak at the beginning of THE CITY, and the parallel events of PURIFICATION and DISINTEGRATION, it’s told in a largely linear way. That’s all well and good, but as I introduced each new character, I found myself wanting to go back and tell their individual backstories. To have done that within the books would have made them unnecessarily complicated, and so I came up with AUTUMN: ECHOES.

Originally appearing online only, these (very) short stories explained what had happened to minor background characters from THE CITY to get them from the end of the world to the city centre university where the survivors had grouped at the beginning of the book. It seemed to work so well I continued and did the same with some of the new characters from PURIFICATION too, and it was while I was putting together the third book that these ECHOES seemed to take on a life of their own. Here’s a brief extract from a scene near to the end of the book:

Amy Steadman (day 3) by Craig PatonEight weeks ago this had been an intelligent young clothing store department manager with a bright future ahead of her. Now it was a mud-splattered, half-naked, emaciated collection of brittle bone and rotting flesh. Unlike the majority of the seething crowd, however, this one was beginning to exhibit signs of real control and determination. Unlike those which simply stood there vacantly or those which ripped and tore at the other corpses immediately around them, this body was beginning to think.

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AUTUMN: AFTERMATH

With the US release of AUTUMN: AFTERMATH now just over a month away (UK and German releases to follow later in 2012) I thought it was about time I told you a little more about the book. I’ve deliberately not said too much, because this is a direct sequel to both PURIFICATION and DISINTEGRATION and it was important for everyone to have had chance to read the preceding books first.

So, to whet your appetites, here’s the blurb…

“It’s been almost one hundred days since a killer disease wiped out 99% of the population. Three months since the dead reanimated. Survivors are few and far between now, and those who remain stick together to give themselves the best possible chance of continuing to stay alive. They are the last of the living.

A band of refugees has taken shelter in a medieval castle – a fortress that has stood strong for hundreds of years. Besieged by the dead, they only emerge when it’s absolutely necessary. As autumn turns to winter, however, the balance of power slowly begins to shift.

The unexpected appearance of survivors from another group changes everything. They bring choice, and an alternative way of life which is a far cry from the world everyone has been forced to leave behind. Society as we know it has crumbled beyond repair and things will never be the same again. Some people are ready to embrace this change, others can’t let go of the past. The choice is divisive.

Are we entering mankind’s final days? In the aftermath of the disease, will the last survivors destroy each other, or will the dead destroy them all?”

Just to clear up any confusion, this is very definitely the final book in the AUTUMN timeline. There are a few more short stories to share, but is the last chapter in the series. And yes, in case you’re wondering, the ‘survivors from another group’ mentioned in the blurb are from the island of Cormansey…

Next week I’ll introduce you to one of the key characters from the book, and those of you who read THE HUMAN CONDITION first time around might remember him!

The Human Condition part II – now available

As promised, the concluding part of the 18,000 word AUTUMN story – THE HUMAN CONDITION – is now available to read at www.lastoftheliving.net. I hope you enjoy it. Things have been a little busy here this week so I haven’t been able to post much, but bear with me. There’s plenty of good stuff coming very soon!

 

The Human Condition – new free fiction now available

It’s been a while, but I’ve finally added some new free fiction to www.lastoftheliving.net. It’s part one of THE HUMAN CONDITION – the novella from which this book originally took its name.

Later this month I’ll start telling you more about AUTUMN: AFTERMATH, the final book in the AUTUMN series. In the run up to the novel’s US release in March, there will also be more free fiction appearing. For those of you who read AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION first time around, you might have noticed that a couple of stories are still missing from www.lastoftheliving.net. You’ll find out why when you learn more about AFTERMATH…

Until then, come back next week for the concluding part of THE HUMAN CONDITION, and check back again later this week for more ISOLATION news.

An AUTUMN update

I’m getting a lot of questions about the forthcoming re-issues of the AUTUMN books in the US and UK, so I thought I should give you a proper update. I also want to talk briefly about an AUTUMN-related opportunity that some of you might be interested in.

AUTUMN will be released on 26th October in the US and on the 28th in the UK. The next three books in the series (which have been slightly reordered and are now AUTUMN: THE CITY, AUTUMN: PURIFICATION and – being released for the first time – AUTUMN: DISINTEGRATION) will be released in 2011 at three monthly intervals, starting in January/February. They’ll be hardcover releases from Gollancz in the UK (with paperbacks to follow later), and paperbacks from St Martin’s Griffin / Thomas Dunne Books in the US. Here’s the cover for the American edition of AUTUMN: THE CITY. Nice, eh? Just wait until you see what they’ve put together for PURIFICATION!

So what about the rest of the series? As it stands right now, AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION will not be re-released yet (except in Germany / Austria – more news on that later). The entire book, however, including a bunch of short novellas and over 20 ‘ECHOES‘ (short stories about some of the supporting characters from the saga) will gradually be released free online to enhance and expand the rest of the series. I mentioned an opportunity at the start of this post: I’ll shortly be relaunching www.theinfected.co.uk, and I want all this free content to be illustrated. I’ll obviously be approaching some artists I’ve worked with previously, but there will be ample opportunity for you to submit artwork for inclusion on the site. Drop me a line if you’re interested and I’ll send you a list of character sketches / scene descriptions. I don’t mind what medium you want to work in – traditional, video, photography, comic book… anything’s fine.

So there you have it. That’s the position of the books right now. Just one last thing to tease: AUTUMN is still a five book series, so there’s still something I haven’t told you…