Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's A Body To Do?

  Today, while I was at work, I pictured in my head some people being squeamish at the thought of having to kill a zombie.  I imagined a conversation beginning with the usual reservations about killing "friends and family".  I thought someone might point out that "they're dead" and someone asking "are they really?"  "Yes, they're walking around, but they're dead."  Someone might ask, "Don't you have any respect for the dead?"  To which, someone will reply, "With all that's going on right now, I don't have much respect for the dead."
  At this point, I came up with a good answer to that statement.  "That's not being fair.  The respect we should have is for the person they were before they died.  That person is not what you see walking around.  That is just their body.  If we always based our thoughts of the deceased upon the activities of their bodies, we'd think they're lazy, cold and smelling of formaldehyde.  Why would we ever respect the dead if all they do is lie around all day in coffins?"
  Of course, the person might ask, "So we're supposed to respect them while we're killing them?"  "We're not killing them.  They're already dead.  We're only laying their bodies to rest."  "We're still committing atrocious acts against their bodies."  "Yes, but that is merely in self-defense.  Every man has the right to protect himself and the ones he loves, whether it is against a living person, an animal or a walking corpse."
  Conversations like this are common in zombie tales.  Many of these stories delve into issues of morality and acceptable human conduct.  The value of human life is a core issue when faced with what looks like a human on the outside, but has no inner humanizing attributes.  It brings to question the difference between us and them.  Is it that we have a soul.  What is the lifeforce that drives us and what is it that drives them?
  My stories try to explore what happens to their souls once disconnected from their bodies.  These are very deeply personal questions for me and I do not pretend to have all the answers.  I believe this is something we should each be asking ourselves and a fictional story is as good a motivator to bring out such introspection as any I've seen.  I've been to school, I've been to church and I've been all around the world, but it is within the context of zombie movies and literature that I have found some of my deepest convictions on life, love, spirituality, heroism, cowardice, betrayal and ultimate redemption.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Body and Spirit

  In the Nocent series, both the bodies of the zombies and their disembodied spirits are a part of the story.  There is a psychic medium, named Sam, a psychic child and a talking parrot who can also communicate with the dead.  At different times, people are able to speak with their passed on loved ones through these mediums.  In one instance, the body of Lowe's mother is outside while Lowe is speaking to her through a medium.  Her spirit his helped to enter into the light, while someone performs a mercy kill on her body.
  An entire chapter of part 3 is from the point of view of the spirit of a teenaged girl who is watching her body, which is now a zombie, commit terrible acts which she has no control over.  All she can do is silently witness the atrocity.  In one of the sequels, there will be a man who is trapped in a house because a zombie has chased him there.  It turns out that the house is haunted by the very spirit of the zombie who is clawing at the walls trying to kill the man.  Boy, that would freak me out!
  I have really enjoyed writing these stories with the added dynamic of spirits which once possessed the bodies of the undead.  A hallmark of zombie literature and cinema has always been the person who has been bitten and doesn't want to end up as "one of them".  It's a deeply and richly emotional dimension that I've tried to add to my stories.  Zombie stories are, after all, human stories.  Beyond all the blood and guts has always been a heart that you rarely see in other monster tales.  Zombie stories usually explore human relationships and psychology under extreme duress in a way that most stories in any genre usually dare to.  They are usually a backdrop during which conversations of a deeply spiritual nature are shared without condemnations of whose religion is right or wrong.  Where else do you ever see that?  That's why I like watching, reading about and writing about zombies so much.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Nocent part 2: Advent of the Scathing

  This is it, for those of you who didn't purchase my novel from lulu.com, the entire novel, published chapter by chapter, available free online.  I know this list includes most of you since only seven copies sold.  One I bought.  My dad bought 5 copies to give to various family members.  The last copy was purchased by a Naval officer onboard the USS Wyoming, SSBN 742.  The link to the book is to the right, under Zombie Killer's websites.
  I guess I owe it to you to tell you a bit about the book.  One night, when I was in the barracks on the submarine base in Groton, Connecticut, I came up with an idea for a story where two different races of the same alien species are headed toward Earth in a spacecraft.  Onboard, there is a civil war and every member of both races dies.  When the spacecraft crash lands on Earth, the spirits of both sides possess human beings and continue their civil war here on Earth.  One race is called the Nocent and the people they possess become zombies.  The other race is called the Collective and they manifest as vampires.
  The aliens are from the planet Sypraxia.  They are a species whose bodies are made of liquid.  The Nocent's bodies are controlled by the energy of their minds.  The Collective's bodies are controlled by the energy of their hearts.  That is why you must kill a zombie by destroying its brain and you kill a vampire by destroying its heart.  That's the basic premise of the Nocent series.
  The series starts with part 2, which sets up the zombie/vampire war which is the focus of part 3: Revenant War.  The series is wrapped up in part 4: Dragon's Triangle.  This will be followed by part 1: Dark Betrayals, which will be a collection of short stories expounding on the backgrounds of several of the key players in the series.  I am in the process of writing part 3.  I've decided to publish part 2 online in hopes of gaining some interest in part 3 for when I've finished writing it and seek publication.  I hope you all enjoy it!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Good Friday Killer

  This is a killer who shows up in quite a few of my stories.  He started out as a character in the Nocent series, named Daniel Reese.  Giving Daniel a background was the fun part.  I had to give him a history that involved the Varson brothers, as well as a motive for killing.  In a future blog I will go into detail about his connection to the Varsons, but this is about him.
  I don't know where it was that I read that pigs are good swimmers, but that got me thinking.  In the Bible, when Jesus transferred Legion out of the man and into the herd of 2,000 pigs, they all ran down a hill and into some water and supposedly drowned.  Well, if they were such good swimmers, why the heck would they drown like that?  What if, after Jesus left, the owner of the herd went down to see his pigs and became possessed by Legion?
  Okay, well, since Legion was in a whole herd of 2,000 pigs, it would only be one of the demons who actually possessed the pigherder.  It might then become his obsession to regain the full company of his Legion of demons.  My idea is that he killed his first victim the day Jesus was crucified.  Then, every year on the anniversary of that day, he killed one more person.  Once he reached two thousand, he would be at his full strength.  Supposing that Jesus was around 33 when he was crucified, that would make it about 2033 when Legion was able to be his worst.  Anyway, that's my story and I'm stickin to it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Masked Bands

  These are just the random musings of a nerd with too much time on his hands.  This is not meant to insinuate any copycatting (is that a word?), plagiarism, band wagoning or Johnny-Come-Latelys.  What this is is a bunch of similarities I've noticed between a few masked bands from the past and the present.

1. Both Slipknot and Sykotik Sinfoney capitalize the S, K and T in their names.
2. Both Slipknot and Sykotik Sinfoney mix musical genres within the context of a single song:
-Slipknot: "Do Nothing (Bitchslap)" from the album, Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat
-Sikotik Sinfoney: "Cake Fuck" from the album, Eargasm
3. They also both do the rap/metal thing, as does Mushroomhead:
-Slipknot: "No Life" from the album, Slipknot
-Sykotik Sinfoney: "Mr. Cool" from the album, Eargasm
-Mushroomhead: "BWOMP" from the album, XX
4. Sykotic Sinfoney and Green Jello both have singers dressed as cows:
-Sykotik Sinfoney with Crusty Udder
-Green Jello with the Cow God
5. Slipknot and Mushroomhead both have bassists with pig masks:
-Slipknot with Paul Gray
-Mushroomhead with Pig Benis
6. Slipknot and Mushroomhead both have similar analogies for their relationships with their bands:
-Slipknot as the carcass with the fans as maggots feeding off them
-Mushroomhead as the shit with the fans as mushrooms growing off them
7. All four bands have lots of members.
8. Slipknot and Sykotik Sinfoney have each appeared in movies:
-Slipknot in Rollerball
-Sykotic Sinfoney in Bad Channels
9. Mushroomhead and Sykotik Sinfoney both seem to put down Slipknot (in my perception) in songs:
-Mushroomhead with the line "just another number in a long line of no one" on "Just Pretending" from the album, Savior Sorrow.
-Sykotik Sinfoney with the line "he's stupid when he's dressing like a clown" on "Stupid" from the album, Eargasm.
10. Slipknot seems to have a diatribe of their own against Mushroomhead in the song, 'Only One' with the line, "Filthy Hands stay away from mine" (a possible allusion to Mushroomhead's Filthy Hands label).
11. Both Slipknot and Sykotik Sinfoney have someone request the song "Freebird" in one of their songs:
-Slipknot: the hidden live track "Dogfish Rising" on the album, Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat.
-Sykotik Sinfoney: "Mr. Cool" on the Bad Channels soundtrack.

  There's probably other things I've thought of, but don't remember right now.  There's probably also things you've noticed that I haven't.  Anyway, I love all these bands so this is in no way a putdown on any of them.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Femur Killer

  This is an idea I came up with in the mid-nineties when I was in college: a serial killer who bludgeons his victim with the femur of his last victim, cuts off a leg, then disappears into the night.  One day I was listening to the song "My Soul Flayed Bare" on the album, Shadows by the band, Creepmime.  The guitar part that plays during the chorus was really catchy and I got it stuck in my head.  I started to hear words in my head going along with the rhythm of the riff.  I wrote out these words and a poem called Bludgeon was born.

Bludgeon by Paul Loh

First of all I'll make you a memory
In a way that makes them remember me
And I use the same M.O. every time
I'm a creature of habit and only I
know of where the parts that are missing are
Once you're gone my next victim will I stalk
With your femur shall I hit them from behind
And with a hack saw their leg shall I take away
When the cops come, your femur I'd left behind
the murder weapon and victim is what they'll find
with his leg gone and I shall be far away
so this cycle continues another day

  Years later, I had an idea for a story, but I wanted a really twisted killer as the bad guy.  I thumbed through my box of old writing and found this poem.  It had the makings of a good character, but he needed some background.  What is his motivation?  What got him started on this twisted path?  Then it struck me: what if he's a masochistic empath/empathic masochist?  The greatest thrill in his life was the day he accidentally lost his leg.  He kept his leg and, once he recovered from his injury, he hungered to feel that rush again.  He had always been able to feel other people's pain so he used his own femur to render someone unconscious.  He sawed off his victim's leg, relishing every agonizingly orgasmic sensation.  He vicariously intensifies his phantom feelings.  I still get chills even thinking about it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Time Travel In My Stories

  At least two of the stories I have written involve time travel.  In one there is a time machine called the Horologe.  It works through the use of ectoplasm.  If you've read my blog on Chief Loh's myspace page, you know that in my stories, ectoplasm acts as a medium between the spirit world and the physical.  In the spirit world, time does not move linearly like it does here.  There is also no spatial location in the spirit world.  All time exists as one moment and all places exist as one point.  If you use ectoplasm to enter into the spirit world, you can re-enter our universe at any time and/or place of your choosing with the Horologe.
  A similar concept appears in Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game series, except they use an artificial intelligence to "pop" a metal box "Outside" and back into our universe.  They only use this box for "faster than light" travel.
  I mostly was inspired by Poltergeist, the way Carol Anne and her mother exited the spirit world covered in ectoplasm and fell out of thin air into their living room.  It wasn't until I saw the pilot episode of Deep Space Nine, "The Emissary", that I made the connection about timelessness in the spirit world.  Commander Sisco had to explain linear time to the beings in the wormhole near Bajor.  From this I asked myself: if there is no time over there, then why would anything that was able to travel into the spirit world have to come back out at the same time they left?  That's the sort of stuff a 15 year old nerd loses sleep over.  To be honest, a 34 year old nerd still loses sleep over it sometimes.  Just ask my wife, Kayla.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A little about my blog

  I am the author of a zombies vs. vampires novel called The Nocent part 2: Advent of the Scathing. My wife bought us a bumper sticker for our car which says, "I'd Rather Be Killing Zombies". I work on a Navy base and every time we pass through the gate, the gate guards see our sticker. We have earned the nickname Zombie Killers.
  I am always in the process of writing new stories, including the sequel to my first novel. It's working title is The Nocent part 3: Revenant War. This blog is for the purpose of sharing with the world some of my crazy ideas. The name of my blogsite, Necrolepsy, comes from one of those crazy ideas. One day I was thinking about A Nightmare On Elm Street and the fact that people were afraid to fall asleep because they might be killed. I came up with the idea: what if instead of becoming a victim when you sleep, you become a killer? I made up a name for such an affliction: Necrolepsy. It can also be called Somnihilism.
  Needless to say, that very concept is the premise of a new story of mine. Most of my stories are short, but I have several novels in the works. I plan to publish a compilation of my short stories along with my book-length stories. I also have a bunch of children's books I've written (not zombie-related).