The Swimmer

If you’ve spent any time poking around www.lastoftheliving.net, you’ll know that I love to see art that people have produced in response to my work. I was recently honoured to receive the most spectacular piece of Autumn artwork I’ve yet come across. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce The Swimmer.

The Swimmer - sculpted by Patrick CrilleyHopefully you’ll remember this particular character from AUTUMN: DISINTEGRATION. She’s the corpse of a young woman trapped in a swimming pool changing room. The survivors at the Bromwell hotel use her as a kind of barometer to assess the condition of the thousands of corpses outside from a safe distance. You can read a brief introduction to her from the beginning of the book by clicking here.

I’ve talked a lot about the delays which beset the publication of Autumn: Disintegration, and you can remind yourself about that saga here. Back in 2006/7 when the book was first announced, I was speaking regularly by email to Patrick Crilley, a reader based in the US. He told me he sculpted figures for a hobby and offered to sculpt The Swimmer once the book was released. As you know, there followed a delay of several years. I wrote to Patrick last year to tell him the book was finally on the horizon, and he immediately repeated his offer. And here’s The Swimmer in all her glory as a brilliantly realised, 9 inch tall sculpted figure.

The Swimmer - sculpted by Patrick Crilley

I think you’ll agree, she’s a remarkable looking piece of work. I spoke to Patrick about her creation. Click the link below to read our conversation and to see more pictures and designs.

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Read the beginning of AUTUMN: AFTERMATH

For those of you who’ve not yet had chance to pick up the book, I’ve added the opening chapter of AUTUMN: AFTERMATH to www.lastoftheliving.net and you can read it here. Don’t forget, I have ten copies of AFTERMATH to give awayclick here to remind yourself how to try and get your hands on a copy. You’ve got until the end of March to enter.

Entering the Castle - illustrated by David Naughton-Shires

Plenty of disgruntled UK readers have been in touch about the long gap between the US and UK releases. It’s unfortunate and hardly ideal, but it’s just one of those things, I’m afraid. Scheduling issues meant that the UK edits couldn’t be completed until last month, whilst the US publisher had always planned to release the book this month. And before you start, I know it’s the same book, but each publisher releases their titles in their own house (and geographical) style.

You could always console yourself by watching the AUTUMN MOVIE again and venting your frustrations by yelling at the screen. It’s on the UK Horror Channel at 2:20am on Wednesday 21st March.

AUTUMN: AFTERMATH – Jackson

Let me briefly introduce you to Alan Jackson. Jackson made his first appearance in the original HUMAN CONDITION anthology (long-time readers will probably remember him more clearly when they read next week’s free short). He also plays a key role in the final AUTUMN book – AUTUMN: AFTERMATH – out next month.

Click here to visit www.lastoftheliving.net and read a quick introduction to Jackson in his own words, then come back again next week to find out how this very focused and insular man deals with the discovery of another lone survivor and a school gym full of dead people!

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!

 

Recommended reading – Remains of the Dead

Here’s another book recommendation which I intended to make when it was released last year: Iain McKinnon’s REMAINS OF THE DEAD.

I love the concept of parallel sequels, and on this occasion McKinnon tells a story which starts at the same point as his previous novel DOMAIN OF THE DEAD, then shoots off in a completely different direction. And it’s all the better for it.

“The world is dead, devoured by a plague of reanimated corpses.

Cahz and his squad of veteran soldiers are tasked with flying into abandoned cities and retrieving zombies for scientific study. Deep in infected territory, hundreds of miles from their support vessel, the ever present dangers weigh heavily on Cahz’s mind as he shepherds his team to make quick, clean extractions.

Then the unbelievable happens. After years of encountering nothing but the undead, the team discovers a handful of disheveled survivors in a fortified warehouse with dwindling supplies.

Surrounded by hordes of ravenous corpses, Cahz is faced with the terrible responsibility of determining the five passengers who will escape in the helicopter. While those left stranded must continue to fight off the infected and starvation long enough to be rescued.”

Some astonishing cover art there too from the ever reliable Craig Paton. Click here for a reminder of Craig’s brilliant work from the AUTUMN website www.lastoftheliving.net.

I enjoyed this book a huge amount, and relished the glee with which McKinnon leads us and his survivors through the dead world. As I said at the time: “Believable characters trapped in a nightmare scenario—REMAINS OF THE DEAD is a breathless, high-octane zombie thriller. [McKinnon has] written another great book here…”

AUTUMN: THE CITY – UK mass market paperback out today

2012 is certainly shaping up to be a busy year. Less than two weeks in and here’s another new book! Continuing their publication of the AUTUMN series in the UK, Gollancz are today releasing the mass market paperback edition of AUTUMN: THE CITY. It’s available from Amazon, Waterstones, The Book Depository, and all the other usual places.

By the way, apologies to those of you in the UK who’ve had trouble getting hold of AUTUMN: DISINTEGRATION since its release at the end of last month. I can’t help feeling a little smug about this – the book sold out! A new printing is underway, and I’ll post here again when it becomes available again. Sincere thanks to everyone who picked it up.

As always, you can find out more about the AUTUMN series over at www.lastoftheliving.net. There’ll be some new free fiction appearing there next week.

Autumn: Disintegration – read the first chapter

It’s all been about THEM OR US recently, but don’t forget that AUTUMN: DISINTEGRATION is FINALLY released in the US next week.

First announced back in 2006, the book has been a long, long time coming and I hope you enjoy it. To tide you over the last few days, click the ‘Read More’ link below and read the first chapter which features Webb, the lovely chap we met over at www.lastoftheliving.net a while back.

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Beginning to Disintegrate…

Forgive the lack of updates here this week, I’m trying to balance lots of projects at the moment. Here’s a little distraction for the beginning of the weekend: I’ve just added three more very brief stories to www.lastoftheliving.net.

First up is WEBB. You’ll not have come across him before, but you’ll know all about him by the end of the year, because he’s one of the central characters in AUTUMN: DISINTEGRATION. He’s not a nice chap.

Then we have PENELOPE STREET. Even though she’s survived the infection, Penelope’s in a particularly awful position, and there’s absolutely nothing she can do about it.

And finally, ANNIE NELSON, a character who first appeared in the Whitchurch Community Centre along with Michael, Carl and Emma in AUTUMN.

New free AUTUMN story – The Garden Shed

As promised, THE GARDEN SHED – a new 8,000 word AUTUMN story – is now available to read over at www.lastoftheliving.net.

The Garden Shed - artwork by Antony White (www.blackpapersky.co.uk)An Englishman’s home is his castle…

Lester Prescott thrives on order and uniformity. His home is pristine and perfect and is situated in a relatively well-to-do residential area. He is well respected socially and is the most accurate and productive accountant ever to have been employed by the firm of Ashcroft, Jenkins and Harman. Lester Prescott thinks in black and white. 

Last Tuesday morning, more than six billion people were killed by the most virulent virus ever to blight the face of the planet. Much to his surprise, Lester Prescott survived. As you’d expect, this most pedantic and ordered man is struggling to deal with the aftermath.

The story has been illustrated with another beautiful photograph from Antony White (see yesterday’s post for more about Antony and his work). There are still plenty more stories to be added to www.lastoftheliving.net, and I’m still looking for artwork for some of them. If you’re interested in getting involved, have a look at this document and get in touch.

The Autumn artists – Antony White

I’ll be posting another free short story to www.lastoftheliving.net tomorrow – THE GARDEN SHED – one man’s desperate fight to protect his home from vast approaching hordes of the living dead. The story has been illustrated for me by Antony White (www.blackpapersky.co.uk). Antony’s already illustrated several pieces of free fiction, and I thought it only right that I spend a little time singing his praises.

I first became aware of Antony several years ago when he sent me a few illustrations inspired by AUTUMN (you can see a gallery at the end of this post). A zombie-junkie before the undead were anywhere near as popular as they are today, he told me that back then “…you really had to look for it. A few years ago there seemed to be a barrage of zombie books emerging from the grave, and Autumn was one of them. The book was released free, so I downloaded, printed and was completely absorbed after the first few pages.”

As you’ll see from the before/after pictures after the break (click to enlarge), Antony’s style really lends itself well to creating post-apocalyptic imagery.

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