Thursday, February 28, 2013

Zombie! Using the Absurd in Fiction to Show the Absurd in Reality

An excerpt from the comedic zombie novel, I Left My Brains in San Francisco:

Survival Hardware hadn’t seen such a rush of customers since the last Armageddon prediction coincided with Black Friday. 
Manager Clint Sanders rubbed his hands with glee.  Oh, Marley, if only you hadn’t gotten drunk and decided to go zombie hunting.  Was it only last Christmas? 
He hurried to Customer Service, crafting an announcement in his mind.  “You want to live!  We want to live!  That’s why you are going to file calmly to the back if you need a suit.”
Yeah.  Sense of urgency, plus that “We’re in this together” crap.
He got to the counter and nodded at Bitsy, who had rung up a chainsaw and a half-crate of bleach.
God bless survivors. Clint continued to the back.  Out of habit, he checked the exit door, even though it was always locked from the outside.  He needed to delete Marley's old code from it.
He cleared his throat.  “Listen up!  You want to live!  We want to live!”
The exit door clicked.
“That’s impossible!” he declared.  The store fell silent. 
“Boss?” Bitsy’s voice ended in a squeak.
“That’s not what I meant!  Security team to customer service!”
He reached under the counter for a shotgun.  Bitsy grabbed the chainsaw.  They had filled them that morning—another example of the excellent service at Survival Hardware.
The door swung open, and the zombiefied remains of his late business partner, Marley, staggered through.
Clint to blasted him with the shotgun.  The impact knocked the Marley out the door.
Clint used the gunsight to scan the parking lot.  “He brought friends!  Call Nine-One-One.  I’m putting this place on shutdown.”
“Screw that!  I’ve been prepping all my life for this!”  With a howl of challenge, Bitsy dashed out the door.  She swung low and decapitated her former boss before moving on.
Thundering footsteps signaled the customers following in her wake.
He gaped at the carnage while Dirk called 9-1-1.  It’d be too late by the time they got there.  All that’d be left was to clean up the zombie parts and get the customers back in to pay.
God bless survivors.

---From I Left My Brains in San Francisco, by Karina Fabian

In the 2040s, zombies have become a reality.  They rise from the grave, intent on eating brains or sometimes completing something that they didn't finish in life--even if it's a beer and a TV show.  And, true to so many phenomenon in life, we are caught unprepared and unaware.  That's how I started the world premise, and I let the story take me from there: People want to understand them, defend them, study them, use them--but above all, they want those vermin out of their yard!  Thus, the hero of the story--Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.

It's an age-old science fiction writers' trick--use the future to discuss an issue of today.  In my case, the zombies are just part of a world gone a little loopier than it is now.  You’ll find a great example of government waste and bureaucratic infighting in the Broken Bridge, started as a cooperative effort and halted  with 120 feet to finish—and one side 60 feet lower than the other—because neither side communicated with the other.  Video blog sites have exclusives on banned videos of a gruesome carnage—but only for members.  California has subsidized protesting; and everyone gets an Adult Starter Allowance until they’re 25, as long as they aren’t working, of course.  The newest environmental theory is Global Fattening, and the hot new protestors, the undead!

All of this makes a delightful mishmash of insanity into which to drop one woman who just wants to protect people by rekilling the undead--and hopefully making a little money and having some kind of social life while she's at it.

I hope you’ll enjoy I Left My Brains in San Francisco.  It’s all in good fun, but if any of it comes true, I’ll be back in 30 years to say “I told you so!”

Purchase links:

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator :
I Left My Brains in San Francisco:
Learn more about the Zombie Exterminator novels at
Find out about all of Karina Fabian’s books at

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