For fans of the undead, this book is for you...
I'm a huge fan of the living dead. Zombies were my introduction into the world of horror, and what made me fall in love with the genre. From the Resident Evil video games, to my undying support of The Walking Dead TV show, if it has the undead, it has my attention.
But, I'm not some blinded fanboy. I know there's... subpar zombie entertainment out there, to say the least. And these days, with countless amounts of zombie related media and entertainment, it's growing harder and harder to find the next GREAT thing for fans of the genre.
So, I found the next great thing for you.
David Moody is an author who specializes in stories about the end of the world. He has multiple novels, and series, that embrace the apocalyptic setting. One of his novels (and the first of a series) is called Hater.
I happened upon Hater at my local bookstore when I was a sophomore in high school. The cover art had the word "HATER" written in blood upon a white backdrop. And of course, I was intrigued, and the book was in my possession and completed within a couple days.
I went into the book expecting non-stop blood and violence, But I got something even better, a story about family, humanity, and how the end of the world can affect people differently. It was deeply human story.
(But don't worry, the book had plenty of violence for all you horror freaks.)
A while after I read Hater, I happened upon another book by David Moody at my local record shop (of all places). It was called Autumn, and the cover had an eerie image of the lower part of a face, with the eyes blackened out to make way for the title. And the back of it told me that the story I held in my hands would be some bastard hybrid of War Of The Worlds, and Night Of The Living Dead.
About a month later, I had read all five main entries of that incredible series.
I honestly can't recommend the series enough for fans of the undead. Or fans of survival stories. Or fans of the end of the world. Or hell, even fans of human connection, the drama of what one would do to survive, and the ever longing search for something to cling to when the world around you dies.
If you like your zombie stories like I do, with the humans at the forefront, you'll love the Autumn series. The characters are deeply realistic and relatable. The world feels bleak and miserable. Hope seems pointless. Yet the survivors are determined to stay alive, to find a home, to find a purpose in a world that seems purposeless. And that is what will stick with you long after you finish the final chapter.
So, I have some great news...
If this sounds at all appealing to you, there's a brand new Autumn novel on the way! It's the beginning of a brand new trilogy, and it's titled Autumn: Dawn!
In anticipation for the books release, I was lucky enough to get to interview David Moody. We discuss the upcoming novel, the series as a whole, and what draws him to the world of the dead
Check out the interview below!!
CultLeaderA: David! It’s so great to be able to talk to you in depth! When I saw that you officially announced Autumn: Dawn I flipped with excitement. The Autumn series is one of my favorites, so naturally I’m hyped to dive back into that world.
If my calculations are correct, it’s been almost TEN YEARS since an Autumn novel has been released. What was it like for you as a writer to sink your teeth into that world again? What made you want to return to Autumn?
David: First, it’s great to hear how much you enjoyed the Autumn books. Thank you! And your calculations aren’t far off at all. Autumn: The Human Condition – a companion book of short stories – came out in 2013, but the last full-length novel was Autumn: Aftermath in early 2012.
I’ll be honest, it’s great being back in the Autumn world again, but it’s not something I thought I’d ever do. I had serious zombie burn-out after finishing the original series. When I released Last of the Living – a collection of my non-Autumn zombie stories – in late 2014 I thought I was done with the undead. But I was very wrong! They’re just such incredible creatures to write about. You can slot zombies into pretty much any situation and come up with a gripping story, and they’re the perfect counterpoint when you’re writing fiction about the dysfunction of the human race.
A few years back I was in fairly advanced negotiations for a Hater TV series. I’m very proud of the original Hater books, but realized I’d need to tell more of the story for it to work on screen. I went back and wrote a second trilogy which filled in the blanks and told the Hater story from the opposing viewpoint. The TV series didn’t happen (I’ve had many conversations over the last decade or so, but we’ve never quite made it to screen), but I had an absolute blast writing the books. It was about then that I started to think about a potential return to Autumn.
The one thing I promised myself was that I’d never write more Autumn novels unless I had a story worth telling. I was at a business meeting in London, walking from the train station to the office during rush hour, when inspiration struck. Much of the original Autumn books were set in quieter places, where there were hardly any survivors and not too many walking corpses. For those who don’t know, one of the major differences between Autumn and most other zombie series, is that you’re dead or you’ve survived by the end of page 1, book 1. It’s a different kind of infection, and the threat comes from the fact that the few survivors are massively outnumbered by the reanimated dead. So I found myself walking through one of the busiest cities in the world at one of the busiest times of the week, and I starting thinking, what if…? By the time I’d got home that night, I had the outline of the entire trilogy planned.
CultLeaderA: Where does Dawn take place in the series? Is it a sequel? Prequel? Something else?
David: Something else, I guess. It’s an entirely separate story which is unconnected to the original books. But I also took the opportunity to update things. When Autumn was first published in 2001, zombies definitely weren’t mainstream. That meant my characters could see a reanimated corpse and think ‘what the hell’s that?’ instead of, ‘this is like the Walking Dead’! Soon after the first book came out, the world went zombie mad and I knew that there was no way I could have characters that were so naïve in the new series. So that shifted the dynamic. The survivors in the new books are far more aware of the threat they’re facing, but they’ve grown up watching zombies on TV and in films, and they struggle (understandably) to cope with the fact that the fantasy has now become reality. Additionally, the world has changed dramatically in the 20 years (Christ, I’m old) since book one came out. Most notably, the internet has transformed many aspects of our lives. When the first book was written, though, it was a relatively new thing and not everyone had access. Obviously, in a scenario where 99.9% of the people on the planet have been killed, there’s not going to be a lot of information on the internet about what’s happening, but I did have to update the way the survivors look for help and guidance this time around. The world is a more connected place, and London is an incredibly diverse and connected city. So I guess what I’m saying, is that from a story-telling perspective, the new series exists parallel to the original books, but they’ve been brought up-to-date with the realities of the world in 2021. And don’t worry – although the pandemic does get a mention (how could it not?), this is just a blood, guts, and action filled survival horror story, not a comment on coronavirus!
CultLeaderA: So, if someone had never read an Autumn novel before, could they jump in with Dawn?
David: They absolutely could! I’ll be interested to hear how people who’ve read the new book first go on to enjoy the original novels. I’m a much better writer now (I believe!). There are some aspects of my zombie mythos that differ from most others, and although Autumn: Dawn is set some thirty days after the infection began, the first part of the book sets the scene for new readers and brings them up to speed with how my zombies are different from others.
These differences came from my frustrations with some of the clichés of the zombie genre. I wanted to write books which were more believable (which is a big ask, given that I’m writing about walking corpses!). First, in Autumn, you’re a survivor or you’re dead by the end of day one. I thought that was important, as it got rid of the possibility of endless scenes where somebody gets bitten and hides it, then dies and reanimates at the worst possible moment. We’ve seen that done a thousand times before, and we know what’s going to happen as soon as the zombie’s teeth clamp down on our poor survivor’s flesh!
Second, there’s no flesh eating. I know that’s been a frustration for some readers, because eating flesh and brains and whatever is a big part of a lot of zombie stories. But the threat presented by the dead in the Autumn books is very different.
CultLeaderA: I’m a huge fan of stories with an apocalyptic setting. Especially when the living dead are involved. But, I don’t think I’d be surprising anyone when I say, it can get boring sometimes. In almost every long running apocalyptic series, there tends to be some parts that drag.
But, the Autumn novels didn’t drag at all for me. Where most writers seem to stumble, you don’t. How do you manage to keep the stories and the writing s