World War Dead was never intended to be a novel. My original idea was to write five stories as short novellas — Battle of the Dead, Night of the Living Tokyo Dead, Escape from the Dead, Queen of the Dead, and War of the Dead — set in different locales around the world that would connect to each other. They would connect not only in theme but also with the characters. The ones that survived were to be in the final novella.
However, by the time I began work on the fourth story, my editor suggested I instead turn the stories into a novel. He also suggested that I not include Night of the Living Tokyo Dead because it contained too much dark comedy and no longer fit the tone of the other stories. I agreed with him on both suggestions, but the story that was set in Japan was a big part of the overall storyline.
After removing many references to Japan, though there are still a few that remain, I was for a while flummoxed on whether I wanted to write a replacement story or just not bother coming up with another idea set in another country. So, I let it go. That was until I had finished the novel and read it entirely through. I then realized that one set of characters never got a fitting end to their storyline. Immediately an idea came to me, and in two weeks it was finished.
As for Night of the Living Tokyo Dead, it was published under the title Yakuza Dead as part of an anthology published by Tannhauser Press. I have since given it a few tweaks and plan on including it in an anthology sometime in 2020. Yakuza Dead has also been translated into Japanese and will also be getting a Japan release.
For those of you familiar with my zombie stories, you know that some of my characters tend to be mutant humans, such as J.D. Nichols from The Romero Strain novels. This novel, too, deals with mutants but unlike the aforementioned, one of the story arcs within World War Dead deals with half-zombies, and where those characters belong within the new world.
I truly hope you enjoy reading World War Dead, and look forward to reading your e-mails and online reviews.
World War Dead was released: November 1, 2019 (eBook) / November 10, 2019 (paperback)
Again, renowned comic artist John Becaro, was chosen to do the artwork.
World War Dead is a four-part zombie novel, in which military and health organizations around the world battle time and the undead in an attempt to get valuable research data to the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland. There, an antiretroviral for the Acute Reanimation Syndrome (ARS) virus is being developed.
Part I: Battle of the Dead
A zombified Marine lieutenant injected with the antiretroviral is brought back to half-life but finds himself caught between human and zombie, and reconsiders which side he should fight on.
Part II: Escape from the Dead
With time running out, a European CDC security team faces insurmountable odds against zombies and a hostile military faction attempting to get their antiretroviral to an awaiting military transport plane that will take them to a US military base.
Part III: Call to Arms
A Canadian helicopter team arrives at a US military outpost for an exchange to acquire a batch of antiretroviral but finds themselves betrayed and stranded. Having learned of High Command’s treacheries, a rogue team of Marines led by a sympathetic master gunnery sergeant comes to the Canadians rescue. The master gunnery sergeant hopes to enlist the Canadians, along with a brigade of half-deads, as part of a strike force to overthrow a forced labor camp in Gettysburg run by the military.
Part IV: War of the Dead
A former Army sergeant, who finds her half-zombie condition has left her infertile, leads a discontented group of half-zombies on a war against humanity and zombies alike. Will the remaining military, the work camp survivors, and the lieutenant’s half-dead brigade unite in time to stop the dissident half-zombies from executing their elaborate plan of genocide, or will humankind finally meet extinction?