Saturday, March 09, 2013

Let's Talk Legends!

Last week, I announced the release of Failstate: Legends, the sequel to my debut novel. I also promised that I would tell some stories about the writing of this book and answer any questions that you might have. Well, a question arrived from my website's e-mail from Christina:

The question is: Zombies?
I'm not too certain about having things like that in my books.I Mean, reanimated brain-eating corpses? that is something that makes me more than a bit uncomfortable. Especially in christian fiction.
What are your thoughts on paranormal (Namely Zombies) in christian speculative fiction?
Thanks for the question, Christina!

Actually, it's funny. This wasn't my first idea for a sequel for Failstate. I tossed around a few ideas with Jeff Gerke, the phenomenal publisher of Marcher Lord Press, and Amanda Luedeke, my excellent agent. It was Amanda who first suggested the zombies and, I'll admit, I was a little hesitant. I mean, zombies are hot right now, as evidenced by the popularity of The Walking Dead, Warm Bodies (both as a book and in the recent movie that I haven't seen yet), World War Z (again, both as a book and a movie that no one has seen yet), plus video games that I've played like Plants vs. Zombies and Left 4 Dead 2. I could keep going, but you get the idea. Zombies are hot right now.

I think part of my initial hesitation on this was that I didn't want to be seen as trend-following. That's never a good idea for authors, especially since by the time most writers hop on board the bandwagon, it's moved on to something different. But the more I talked with Amanda, the more I liked the idea. I started playing with how it might all play out for Failstate and what it could mean for the series. And I came to love the idea.

But I know, Christina, that that doesn't completely answer your question. I guess my answer is, why not?

That may sound flippant, and I don't mean for it to. But Christian speculative fiction in recent years has been pushing the envelope a little in regards to the subjects that we're willing to portray and explore. For example, a few years ago, it would have been taboo to portray dragons as anything other than harbingers of evil, especially given the role a dragon plays in the book of Revelation. But then Bryan Davis and Donita K. Paul wrote books that had dragons as the heroes and it worked. The same could be said for magic. Given the hue and outcry among some circles at the Harry Potter books, you'd think that Christians should never do anything with magic. But again, some Christian authors have woven magical systems into their books and made them work well.

And really, the concept of zombies is actually pretty Biblical, if you think about it. And I'm not talking about resurrection stories, like the widow of Nain's son or the saints who were raised on Good Friday. Instead, I'm talking about the on-going zombie apocalypse that we have going on around us right now. If we take Ephesians 2:1-4 and Colossians 2:13 seriously, then those who are without Christ are dead. And yet they still get up, walk around, and go about their business like they're alive. You could say that we're surrounded by zombies in need of new life right now. Not only that, but if you take John 10:28 seriously, then that means that there are people who are physically dead and yet still alive. Both of those situations sound a little like zombies to me. All of these ideas are explored in two very excellent books, Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos and Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, and Reborn by Clay Morgan.

So ultimately, I'd say that using zombies, if done from a Biblical perspective (which I've tried to do; I leave it to my readers to tell me how well I've done), is fair game. So long as we don't compromise the message of the Gospel, that Jesus is the one who gives us true life that cannot end, we're good.

Christina also had one other question:

And when is your Failstate mini novella coming out? It will be out in paperback right?

I am still working on getting the mini-novella out. There are some final details to be hammered out, but once those are taken care of, it'll be out as an ebook via Amazon. I believe that eventually it might be available as a paperback, because I think that Amazon is doing print-on-demand for their Kindle books, but I don't know for sure.

So there we go! Next week, I'll talk about where the title came from. That is, unless someone wants to hijack the discussion with a question!

But before I go, two bits of business. First of all, I'm holding a Failstate: Legends Giveaway on Goodreads that will end on my birthday. That's right, it'll be my birthday, but you could be the one getting the present!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Failstate by John W. Otte


by John W. Otte

Giveaway ends April 10, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
Pretty good odds so far.

Also, in two weeks, I'll be having a launch party for the book. If you're in the Twin Cities area, I'd love to see you there! But even if you're not, you can participate via Ustream. We'll be broadcasting it live!

So see you all later, and happy reading!

1 comment:

Mark Carver said...

Sounds like a blast! I'm about as far away from the Twin Cities area as is humanly possible (China) but I hope you guys rock it out. I dig the cover art on your books...I could tell right away that you're a comic book dude.

And you're right about zombies: Why not? They're just corpses running on nerve-reactions and motor skills...the soul has long since left the building. It is easy to stamp the "trendhopper" label on anything zombie (or vampire) these days, but if it's a good story, the genre doesn't matter.

Keep up the good work!