Eric Flint Newsletter – 17 AUGUST 2015

I just turned in a novella to Kelly Lockhart titled “Up On the Roof,” for an anthology he’s editing based on John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising series. For those of you not familiar with the series, it’s John’s take on the zombie apocalypse theme. What I did in my story was depict how people might survive a zombie apocalypse in my neighborhood, using characters modeled (loosely—there’s no direct one-to-one relationship) on my own neighbors and people I encounter regularly whenever I go out of the house.

The characters, as is true of the part of the country where I live (which is northwest Indiana), are predominantly working class and racially mixed. So my characters are industrial workers, some retired and some active, a waitress and a restaurant manager, a cop and his daughter, a security guard at a casino and his wife who works in a factory making cardboard containers, etc. They are armed in the way in which blue collar civilians in the US usually are, but they are not survivalists or gun nuts and while some of them have military experience they are not a military unit of any kind.

Their survival depends partly on weapons but mostly on being smart and decisive—and being willing to help others. Insofar as I have a beef with apocalypse stories, it’s that they tend to grossly underestimate the survival value of being cooperative and behaving decently to people and tend to grossly overestimate the extent to which a dog-eat-dog mindset would really help you very much in a real catastrophe. I should make clear, by the way, that that’s not a criticism of John Ringo’s novels in the series. John’s actually very good on this subject, which is part of the reason I enjoyed the series.

John Scalzi is also writing a story for the anthology. I’m not sure who else is. Sarah Hoyt started to, but I gather that her story wound up being so long that they’re probably going to publish it as a separate volume.

And now I’m hurrying back to work on The Gods of Sagittarius since I’ll be seeing my co-author Mike Resnick in a few days at Worldcon and he’ll start crabbing at me how come I haven’t finished the damn book yet… (he crabs pretty well, too)

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11 Responses to Eric Flint Newsletter – 17 AUGUST 2015

  1. Hey, cool, didn’t realize you were a Hoosier, too. If you’re ever in Indianapolis, I’ll be happy to treat you to whatever your beverage of choice is. (Though I’m sure all your fans make that offer, and you probably don’t take too many of them up on it. :) You ought to come down for the Gen Con Writers Symposium some year.

  2. Terranovan says:

    Whoa – Eric Flint, avowed socialist, in the same book with John Ringo, who I would use the words “bleeding heart liberal” to describe only if I could put them behind “would call Rush Limbaugh a”. Cue the flying pigs!
    About cooperation being needed to survive and build in a catastrophe – it seems to me that the contrapositive (a lack of cooperation leading to destruction) is what gives any “zombie-apocalypse” plague more than 99% of its destructive power.

  3. MClark says:

    Thank you for writing a zombie story where working together and helping others to survive is part of the survival strategy of the characters. I’m tired of the viciousness the various survivors show to each other in shows like the Walking Dead. (Sometimes I think the zombifying agent in that show turns empathy off in the survivors, making them mean as a snake.) It seems the writers are taking it too far, for the sole purpose to crank up the conflict and keep the characters backs against the wall.

    For a while, the conspiracy minded part of me thought they were teaching us to turn against each other whenever a disaster occurs. Then I remembered something about how zombie stories are popular because the zombies represent the faceless hordes of the poor and developing world. The zombie stories are teaching us to turn against each other *now*, even before a catastrophe occurs.

    I greatly enjoy the 1632 series, especially how the downtimers are just as smart (if not smarter since there are more of them) as the uptimers. Looking forward to the next volume!

  4. Drak Bibliophile says:

    In any good catastrophe story there should be a tension between “saving me & mine” and “saving outsiders”.

    Go too far in “saving outsiders”, you risk everybody dying as realistically you can’t save everybody.

    Go too far in “saving me and mine”, you risk losing your humanity.

    One of the crowning moments in Lucifer’s Hammer by Niven & Pournelle was when the Stronghold’s people went out to save the defenders of the power plant even though they could survive without doing so. [Smile]

  5. Ferran says:

    Cooperation for survival? Kropotkin?

    Take care

  6. TJ says:

    This is one reason I love Baen Books. You have two distinctly different writers with WAY different political philosophies (Mr. Ringo is VERY right wing, Mr. Flint is Socialist) and yet they can get together to write an awesome anthology.

    Mr. Flint, I have read every one of the 1632 books and have come to really appreciate the humor and detail that goes into each volume. While I side more with Mr. Ringo on the political spectrum, I’m looking for an entertaining story and I am happy to state that both you and he provide that in spades.

    I am looking forward to the anthology. Thank you for keeping us informed of the series and keep up the good work. I will happily plop money down for a good story regardless of the author’s political views.


  7. Madcap_Magician says:

    Forget Eric Flint and John Ringo being in the same anthology, they have a collegial relationship and are both Baen authors. How’s about JOHN SCALZI and John Ringo being in the same anthology, and not just any anthology, but one based on one of RINGO’S worlds?

    Who says the lion and the lamb can’t lie down together? I love both of those authors, but to be honest I think they both indulge a deep need to engage in petty sniping (often at each other) on their active blogs.

    I am amazed. I will have to pick up this anthology just to see what happens.

  8. David Damerell says:

    Apropos of nothing much (but not Hugos for a change), the Collaborators on the right-hand side lists Dave Freer’s homepage (which isn’t, domain-squatted) and David Weber’s homepage “place-holder” which seems quite homepagey now.

  9. Myra Fishburn says:

    So when will this web-crack be published?

  10. says:

    Hence the maximum you must fill up on will be about 6 months, though actually that is very substantial.

  11. Kathaleen says:

    Which means that many some time, you’ll be folding the hands and viewing another player
    walkaway with the jackpot.

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