Zombies have breathed a new life ever since the Walking Dead premiered on AMC on October 31, 2010. They originally became super popular when they were resurrected in Night of The Living Dead in 1968 by the fathers of the zombie genre: George A. Romero and John Russo.
My love for zombies was discovered back in the eighties when I first saw Dawn Of The Dead. As a kid, I purchased a stack of Stephen King novels at a garage sale in my subdivision. From there my love of the horror genre began. I began reading horror novels along with watching all the classic horror films of the black and white era to all our favorite iconic horror franchises of the seventies and eighties.
My brother, fellow author Mark Cusco Ailes, and I began to watch all the zombie classics – Dawn of The Dead and Return of The Living Dead being our favorites. When the remake of Dawn of the Dead was released in 2004, the zombie genre was reborn. New direct to DVD zombie releases were plentiful and new theatrical movies were being filmed to keep all of our thirst of zombie mayhem satisfied.
In 2009, after my brother had two fantasy novels published, I sat down and wrote the first draft of my horror short story Zombie Command. I took the epilogue of my rejected science fiction novel Power Command from 1994 and rewrote it with zombies. At the time, I couldn’t find any other stories dealing with a zombie outbreak on a space station. I posted a few pages of the draft on my Facebook page and that was as far as I went with it.
In 2013, I sat down and began working on short stories for a horror anthology with my brother called: Journey Into the Unknown. Zombie Command was originally going to be included in the anthology, but I couldn’t get the ending finish in time for its release. I put it aside and when I began to work on stories for my own anthology, it became the anchor story.
Two other zombie related stories were included in the Zombie Command anthology: Zombie Twister and Brave Zombie World.
Zombie Twister (originally published in Journey Into the Unknown): I am a big fan of the show Storm Chasers and anything related to tornadoes. Back in 1995, when I worked for a Star Trek vendor, we were in Iowa traveling from one Star Trek convention to the next when a tornado dropped down behind our convoy of Star Trek dealers and we all had to outrun it in our vans. I wrote this story about tornadoes infested with zombies while they were filming an episode of a show similar to Storm Chasers. This was written a year before they had a zombie infested tornado in “Z Nation”.
Brave Zombie World: I took a Utopian society similar to the one in the book “Brave New World” and threw a zombie outbreak into the mix. How do you survive a zombie outbreak when you are not program to think outside the box? This is how Aldous Huxley should have written Brave New World. Imagine how much more of a literary masterpiece it would have been with zombies. Imagine the zombie apocalypse brought on by everybody’s addiction to soma.
Zombies have influenced my writings since the release of Zombie Command. I’ve written zombie related stories in each of my anthologies. My brother is currently working on a book series called Z-Day with Zombie Park being the first novel. He took Jurassic Park removed the dinosaurs and replaced them with zombies.
It is safe to say that zombies are a major part of the Ailes Brothers of Terror.
Until Next Time,
Derek Ailes is the author of four anthologies: “Zombie Command: A Horror Anthology”, “Journey Into the Unknown: Deluxe Horror Edition”, “Catfurnado, Zombies and One Killer Doll” and “Musings From A Demented Mind”. He lives in South Haven, Indiana. He is currently working on first fantasy novel “Beast Within”.
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