Tag Archives: breathers

Why Zombies? A Guest Blog from S.G. Browne

breathers-web-coverI met S.G. Browne at a World Fantasy convention oh man, in 2008! Dude, where does the time go? O_o

Anyway, he did a reading from his novel, Breathers, which was due to be out soon and I liked it *so* much I sought him out afterwards and we became friends. Scott writes about a lot of things, but since I’m dedicating this month to zombies to promote my title, Waste Not, I invited him to come hang out here today to talk about them. Happily, he took me up on the offer 🙂

What follows is a guest blog by S.G. Browne:


Why zombies? What’s the big deal? Why do so many people like them?

I think the main reason so many people are zombie fans is that they can relate to them. After all, zombies used to be us. They are what we can all become when our humanity is stripped away and all we’re left with is an insatiable desire to satisfy our hunger. When all we’re left with is our instinct. Our id. What Freud called the “dark, inaccessible part of our personality.”

Or maybe I’m over-analyzing. Maybe people love zombies for other reasons. Maybe it’s because they’re relentless. Or socially relevant. Or tragically comical. Or because the idea of a werewolf apocalypse is just ridiculous.

Admittedly, that’s something zombies tend to fight against with mainstream audiences and the literary Nazis: the ridiculous factor. Vampires and ghosts have a history that tends to provide them with some literary caché, including Dracula by Bram Stoker and ghost stories by Henry James, Shirley Jackson, and Charles Dickens, just to name a few. Another ghost story, The Sixth Sense, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Zombies, on the other hand, have never been considered “literary” monsters and are often looked down upon by mainstream audiences (and literary reviewers) as silly and confined to genre fiction without being able to tackle any serious issues. But zombies are often used as a vehicle for satire and social commentary about discrimination, consumer excess, and alienation, among other things. While they’re not exactly performing Hamlet, zombies can still raise questions about what happens when we shuffle off this mortal coil.

I know there are numerous zombie purists out there who don’t want to see zombies getting philosophical or metaphorical or doing anything other than shuffling along mindlessly in search of human flesh. They tend to get very Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham about their zombies.

They do not like them when they run, they do not like them if they’re fun.
They do not like them to be smart, they do not like them with a heart.

While I respect the predilections of zombie purists and appreciate post-apocalyptic zombie fare like World War Z by Max Brooks and Dawn of the Dead by George Romero (though I prefer the 2004 remake by Zack Snyder), I’m a sucker for novels and films that do something new with the living dead. Novels like Zombie, Ohio by Scott Kenemore and films like Fido. Rather than dealing with the humans’ side of the story, these stories focus more on the zombies.

If you ask me, zombies are like cowbell. As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to zombie novels and films, there should be more cowbell and less humans trying to figure out how to deal with the problem of zombies. That’s why in my zombie fiction, I write about zombies and how they deal with the problem of humans.

Rather than imagining what it would be like to be a human in a post-apocalyptic world overrun with the living dead, I wondered what would happen if I were the monster. If I reanimated from the dead, only I wasn’t your stereotypical Hollywood zombie but instead I was just a reanimated corpse with no rights who was gradually decomposing and needed some serious therapy. How would society treat me? What would my parents think? Could I join a bowling league?

These are the issues I want to deal with. Not how to kill a zombie or how to build a zombie-proof shelter and survive a zombie apocalypse, but how to survive in a world that abhorred me and treated me as a non-human. How to find my purpose in a society in which I had no purpose.

It’s all about turning things around, finding sympathy for the devil, and playing with the idea of who’s the hero. After all, everyone thinks they’re the hero of their own story. Even the bad guy. So maybe if you put yourself in the shoes of the villain, you might discover a different perspective. You might discover that there’s more to being a zombie than just being a brain-dead monster who craves human flesh.


S.G. Browne is the author of the novels Breathers, Fated, Lucky Bastard, and Big Egos, as well as the novella I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus and the short story collection Shooting Monkeys in a Barrel. He lives in San Francisco. You can visit him at www.sgbrowne.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Coffee Time Romance Review

The lovely Lototy from Coffee Time Romance reviewed Shades of Green today. She gave it 3 coffee cups out of five. She articulates the issues she has with the story, the ending especially I think, but also has some nice things to say like:

The visuals in this story are most amazing, and keep you intrigued with the characters as well as their environment.

You can read her complete review by clicking on the picture above, or by clicking here 🙂

In other news, my friend Scott’s book BREATHERS is on the ballot for a Stoker award this year, and the award ceremony is this weekend. Good luck Scott (it’s not bad luck to say that, I hope). I’ll be thinking of you 🙂

Few Quick Things…

S.G. Browne’s novel Breathers is about sentient zombies. Can you imagine being trapped in your body while it slowly rotted around you? That’s the reality for these creatures. It’s been described as a zom-rom-com (zombie romantic comedy) and is going to be made into a movie with Fox Searchlight. Pretty sweet. Intrigued? You can win an autographed copy just by leaving a comment on/in the Of Warmth, Of Dragons issue of Niteblade. Each comment will be considered an entry into the draw, and if you buy a .pdf copy that’s 5 entries. I’m making the draw on July 1st so you’ve plenty of time to wrack up (rack up?) some entries if you’re interested.

I’d also like to say a huge thank you to anyone who bought Sister Margaret through Fictionwise and rated it there. Sister Margaret is currently the highest rated title for my publisher at Fictionwise. That is very flattering and makes me incredibly happy. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Still working on the psuedo-secret project, though it’s reached the waiting stage. I’m hopeful there won’t be too much waiting involved, but I guess time will tell. The collaborative projects I’m working on are still a going concern – one more than the other. Soon I’ll be able to share a little bit about it, but not quite yet. Sorry LOL Also working on a fun horror short story that I think has a lot of potential…more about that when it’s done 🙂

In my non-writing life things are a bit crazy this week. It’s the last week of my daughter’s dance stuff leading up to her year-end recital. That combined with things like vet appointments (for the dog, not me :-p), hair appointments (grey roots just keep on coming back…) and an upcoming visit from my parents have been keeping me busy. Once this weekend is over though, so is dance for the year. That will be a huge relief and cause a large increase in writing time. Time I’ll have to use to finish up this Women in Literature course I’m struggling through for school. Whee!

I won an auction through Brenda Novak’s auction for diabetes reseach this year for a critique by Jim C. Hines. The critique is of one short story or the first chapter of a novel. I -adore- Jim’s work and think he’s just a pretty awesome guy all round so I’m really looking forward to this critique…the problem is, I can’t decide what to send him. His usual genre is fantasy so I could send him the first chapter of Shadows, which is about as polished as I can make it at this point. His feedback would possibly help me polish it further and hopefully help me place it with an agent, or I could send him the first draft of the aforementioned fun horror short story so his critique could help guide my revisions on it and help it get placed. But it’s horror, which isn’t his primary genre.

What do you think? What would you do?

Niteblade #8: Of Warmth, Of Dragons

Of Warmth, Of Dragons Wow. It’s issue number eight of Niteblade already. It doesn’t seem that long ago that Niteblade was just an idea I had, and I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. It seems that I can — with help from some fantastic and talented friends.

My husband Jo does the layout for the .pdf and some of the editing. He is a stickler for details and makes sure the magazine looks amazing before he sends it to me to go online. If you haven’t ever seen the .pdf you really need to. It’s phenomenal.

BD Wilson stepped in during the last issue when I was pulling out my hair and wailing “I can’t do it! I can’t do it all! I can’t deal with this hacking and the submissions and the web layout and the *insert stuff here*. I just can’t!” She took over formatting the fiction then and for this and upcoming issues did/will do all the web layout. She’s awesome and I think she did a fabulous job.

And what issue of Niteblade would be complete without the artwork of Marge Simon? I feel so lucky to have met Marge, be able to call her a friend and have her work grace the pages of Niteblade.

Put all that together with thirteen poems, thirteen short stories and two book reviews and you’ve got the newest issue of Niteblade. >> Check it out here <<

As if that weren’t enough, we’re also giving away an autographed copy of S.G. Browne’s book, BREATHERS. It’s a fantastic zombie book that I adored and which is going to be made into a movie in the not-too-distant future. To enter to win all you need to do is either purchase a copy of the June issue in .pdf or leave a comment on any of the stories, poems or reviews in the June web-based version. The details are here.

Check it out 🙂

Interview at Abandoned Towers

I was interviewed by Abandoned Towers quite some time ago. Unfortunately there was a delay in posting the interview (my fault, not theirs), but it’s up now! You can check it out >> Interview with Rhonda Parrish << if you’d like. It’s not my best interview, but I don’t sound like a moron either, so that’s got to be good. LoL yes, I do critique my answers to interview questions, doesn’t everyone?

In other, completely unrelated news my friend S.G. Browne has got a cool widget now so you can read the first chapter of his upcoming zombie novel BREATHERS online right now. I recommend checking it out. The first chapter is what sucked me into the book and made me decide to pre-order it even before I met Scott and found out I liked him too. Clicky Clicky.