Your book is set at a very strange moment on the zombie-attack timeline. The humans have won back some semblance of organization and are in the process of clearing out lower Manhattan. There is new hope upon the land. But there are some ominous signs that things may not be as they seem. Why’d you pick this particular time?
In the zombie genre, the first night or first five days of the disaster are pretty well chronicled. So there’s that. But doesn’t a lot of post-apocalyptic literature begin at a moment of flux? The young hero departs the underground bunker to see what’s left of the surface world. Word comes of a haven by the ocean where survivors have rebuilt things. The refuge finally collapses after all this time, and now we have to discover or create a new one. Things are in a settled, steady state of awfulness. We have survived. Now where do we proceed?
There are two kinds of zombies in your book, the traditional face-eating variety and the vacant stragglers who just stand somewhere as the world goes by. Why add in the second variety?
You take what you want from a genre, deform it, steal from it, pay homage, and at the same time, if you’re doing it right, you are extending the possibilities of that genre, reinvigorating it. I wanted to be true to a Romero-style version of existential zombie dread, but of course the fun part of being a writer is making up shit. So the stragglers appear, as an avatar of the post-collapse self, one possible way of doing things when everything falls apart. They are a vehicle for some of the things I wanted to explore in the novel, whether they are of the tradition or not.
Your novel is a fascinating examination of talent, or our definitions of talent. Spitz is mediocre, and that’s what he’s good at, as you emphasize from beginning to end. It turns out that is an important skill. Why do the mediocre succeed after the zombies come?
If you’re smart, you kill yourself. If you’re dumb, you’re not going to make it. That leaves the rest of us.
*Εντελώς άσχετο με τα λογοτεχνικά (αν ο συγγραφέας κρινόταν από τα ρούχα του θα μας είχε φάει το μαύρο φίδι): η γιορς τρούλι, μεταξύ του γιλέκου του Γουάιτχεντ και του απείρως διασημότερου γιλέκου του Τζέφρι Ευγενίδη (το γιλέκο στο τουίτερ) ψηφίζει με φανατισμό γκρούπι το πρώτο. Δατς χάου ιτς νταν, μπόιζ.