Bye Bye World – You Can Keep Your Brains and Crossbow
I love a good end of the world yarn. Always have. As a kid, Dawn of the Dead was life changing for me. The world as we know it goes kaput, and 4 survivors get to live in a mall! Better still, they get to kill zombies! I thought, Armageddon can be so cool – as long as I’m one of the survivors and get to pick where I spend my days.
Growing up at the tail end of the Cold War era, the threat of nuclear annihilation was always top of mind. It was reflected in movies like Testament (a real tear jerker) and The Day After, a TV miniseries that had a nation glued to the boob tube. Russia went through perestroika and we were more concerned with getting laid, high and having nothing but a good time (thank you, Poison).
Since 2001, the world has changed, and with it, our story preferences. It’s strange but true, the darker we see our future, the darker the things we watch and read. Take The Walking Dead, the most popular show on TV. I mean, even the normies are digging it, which is starting to wear on the true horror hounds out there. That show is nothing but a hot, sweaty, hopeless, drawn out apocalypse. Time will tell what our fascination is with the zombie aspect. I think we’re too close to the source material now to see the forest for the trees. But the core of the narrative on the show is this – the shit has hit the fan, maybe the dead are the lucky ones.
Living as close to a terrorist target as I do, I’m very cognizant of how my day can go from ordinary to hell in a moment’s notice. It’s this creeping dread that got me to write Tortures of the Damned. A lot of us spend our lives asking what if. Tortures of the Damned explores the worst answers to what if, just like The Walking Dead and so many other shows and books, with one exception – when you die, you die. Zombies aren’t real and will never be a concern should things go to hell. If I was going to write an end of the world thriller, I had to make it seem as real as possible, while still throwing in a bit of the fantastic but possibly plausible to make it something you’ve never seen before.
Little kids now have zombie backpacks and soccer moms put little family zombie stickers on the back window of their SUVs. How is that possibly scary anymore?
Electromagnetic-pulse bombs (bombs that wipe out all electronics and power) and chemical weapons.
Those are truly terrifying and all too real. Very bad people have possession of these weapons. It’s only a matter of when they will decide to use them and where.
Tortures of the Damned explores a very real potential future, one without the undead but oh so much worse. No shopping malls to whoop it up this time. But there is always the strength of the human spirit, and the will to survive. It’s the paths one has to take in order to live another day that are truly engrossing.