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SFBuzz Magazine

alpha Issue

May 2013

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Welcome to the Sample Issue of SFBuzz Magazine. The zombie is a rich vein of horror and they do SFBuzz is a new venture, a full Science Fiction /

move from the terrifying figures of cannibalism to

Horror / Fantasy genre magazine from Scifind.com

the amusing undead shambler crying out for

that blends the best, new short fiction, with articles

'BRAINSSSS' until they are dispatched in an often

of interest and interviews with the genre makers.

unnecessarily gory way.

Welcome to issue 'alpha'! Here we are testing the

Enjoy SFBuzz magazine, sleep tight and don't

waters and putting together a little something to

forget to “Aim for the head!”

give you an idea of what we wish to achieve. We have interviews and a short story. The regular

Oh. Please take a look at our website,

issues will have a lot more of the same.

www.sfbuzz.com and share this little magazine you have found. We will be looking for subscribers in

"Zombies, why did it have to be zombies?"

the near future. For the price of a hard back novel you will be able to access 12 months original

Well zombies are cool. They have been a staple of

fiction, and interesting articles.

the horror genre for decades. Obviously the king of the cinema zombie come from George A. Romero

Brian Edwards – Editor SFBuzz Magazine.

with the Night of The Living Dead movies and their pretenders. But there is a rich history to this branch Big Thank You To:

of the undead. There have been versions of the zombie from

Troy Dennison

European folk law, to the Haitian black magic and

Helen Armfield

Witch Doctor zombies, to the figures of fun from

Alasdair Stuart

1980's Return Of The Living Dead zombies to present day.

Neil Gardner Sam Stone James Moran

SFBuzz Magazine Issue Alpha Version 2. May 2013. Published by Scifind.com. This is a FREE publication, please feel free to distribute in PDF format without edits. All content is copyright 2013 named author, used under licence by Scifind.com. Additional content is copyright 2013 Scifind.com

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Interview With Sam Stone Author of Zombies At Tiffany's Award winning author Sam Stone, author of the Vampire Gene novels, Zombies At Tiffany's and Zombies In New York and Other Bloody Jottings recently found some time to discuss her writings and the ZOMBIE APOCOLYPSE with SFBuzz. SFBuzz: Have we really to thank Christopher Lee

cover of the collector intrigued me and I opened it

and John Fowles for your writing career?

up. The rest, as they say, is history. I couldn't put the book down. I loved it. What I loved most was

Sam Stone: Yes Absolutely! These guys had a

the adult language which inspired and interested

major influence on me. Actually how I got my

me far more than the young fiction we were given. I

hands on The Collector in the first place is probably

had never until then actually finished any of the

quite a funny story. At primary school I was given

books the school had given me to read. The stories

extra reading classes. My teacher thought I couldn't

and narrative bored me.

read well enough, but the problem was I was hopelessly shy (hard to believe now I know). To

After that I discovered Christopher Lee in Dracula

demonstrate, or test our reading skills, my teacher

and my interest in vampires led to my first

used to make us all read out loud in class. I hated

experimentation with writing.

it. And I really found the books we were reading incredibly boring. When I went home and told my mother I was having extra reading, she was really

SFBuzz: There have been five Vampire Gene novels

disappointed. She thought, perhaps, that I wasn't

in as many years, how did you keep up this writing

very bright, and I couldn't explain how difficult I

rate?

found reading aloud with everyone watching me. She told me to start practicing my reading at home.

Sam Stone: I have a very strict regime. I wake up

I suspect she meant my school books. Well I did

and I write. I usually don't stop until I have written

practice but the truth was I could read and very

a few thousand words a day. This means I can write

well. I just didn't like reading out loud.

one of the vampire gene books in approximately three months. The rest of the year I work on other

My mother loved books and always had some

projects that have been commissioned. I'm

around. Mostly at the time these were historical

currently writing the equivalent of two novels, a

romances, but she had seen the film, The Collector

novella and several short stories a year. I could do

with Samantha Eggar and Terrence Stamp, and she

more but life keeps getting in the way. My mission

had bought the book. Bored with the selection that

in the next 12 months is to complete 3 novels. I

the teacher has sent home with me, I looked

have so many piling up that I want to do that, that I

through the pile of books my mother had. The

really think I need to pick up speed.

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SFBuzz: What lured you away from Vampires to

would like to write the second book in my post

write about Zombies?

apocalyptic trilogy The Chronicles of the Jinx. I'm hoping the first of these, Jinx Town, will be in print

Sam Stone: Zombies have always been really

next year. The trilogy is about an alien invasion

frightening to me. I think this is because they

that effectively ends the world as we know it. It's

represent the devolution of society. Unlike

also a very brutal observation of human nature.

vampires who are often depicted as more evolved than us. You can't reason with a zombie. Their only

I have recently completed a science fiction horror

agenda is to kill, eat you or pass on their infection.

novella - but I will tell you more on that when I have

I also think its a real challenge to write them in a

the go ahead from my publisher!

different way. Different causes is one think, but finding unusual cures is another challenge, and I

I do also plan to write another Vampire Gene novel

always try to put a new spin on

- although maybe not this year. I

everything I do.

recently sold the first of the series, Killing Kiss, to a German Publisher, and I'm hoping they will want the

SFBuzz: With the continued

others if this one sells well for

success of Zombies At Tiffany's,

them.

is there any truth to the rumours of a movie adaptation? SFBuzz: Now you are Sam Stone: I can't confirm or

Commissioning Editor for Telos

deny that at the moment I'm

Moonrise. (www.telosmoonrise.com)

afraid! But watch this space! I

will we expect less output from Sam

can tell you there is a graphic

Stone?

novel in the pipe-line though. And Dean Haglund, of X-Files

Sam Stone: Absolutely not. Telos

fame, is the artist on the

Moonrise has been a distraction

project. Dean and I met in

recently. There has been a lot of

Colorado in February 2012 and

things to do in the set up of the

since then we've become good friends. I gave him a

imprint. But I'm expecting to be reading and

copy of Zombies At Tiffany's when he came to visit

choosing titles a couple of times a year, and will

us last summer and he loved the book. He was

potentially be publishing one in each of the genres

working on his own graphic novel at the time and

in that time. So four titles a year unless something

he told me he would love to do Tiffany's. There is

really amazing comes in that I can't turn down. I

also a possibility that it will be going to Audio soon

certainly won't be letting my own work fall by the

too.

wayside in the meantime. It just means I have to be even more organised than usual.

SFBuzz: Will there be more Zombies, or back to Vampires (or werewolves / androids / dragons ‌)?

SFBuzz: You have mentioned your Hammer Dracula influences, have you a favourite Zombie movie?

Sam Stone: I'm currently working on a new novel which is a supernatural crime/thriller. After that I

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Sam Stone: I'd say Zombieland comes up there as

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top for me because I loved the human in it. Older

Sam Stone: I think they should be whatever they

zombie stories - The Night of the Living Dead is

need to be for the story you want to tell. In

great! And I love the Resident Evil movies. But there

Zombies at Tiffany's mine were able to speak, they

are so many - Shaun of the Dead was inspired, and

couldn't understand their own motivation though

I really enjoyed Dead Set. I'm currently watching In

and couldn't stop themselves from killing. They

The Flesh which takes a different view on the whole

even had regret. I think the runners are the scariest

thing too.

ones though. The shufflers you can get away from easily.

SFBuzz: Who does your hair (from @MrsScifind) ? SFBuzz: Have you a survival plan for the Zombie Sam Stone: LOL. My hair dresser is called Sharon

Apocalypse?

and she owns the salon Hair at the Top on my local High Street. She's also a close family friend.

Sam Stone: Yes. I practice the Double-Tap and work out with a trainer. I'm still not much of a runner though so I hope they are shufflers if the

SFBuzz: Should Zombies be Shufflers (Romero-esq)

Zombie apocalypse ever happens!!

or Runners (28 Days Later)?

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Dead! By Troy Dennison This one is lovingly dedicated to all you zombie fans out there. I remember my death so clearly.

was a deep burning hunger.

People say that your whole life flashes before your eyes in that instant before you leave this world. That didn’t happen to me; I didn’t even get

because I was a smoker; I lit up my first Marley

the edited highlights. For me it was an explosion of

when I was fourteen and it’s been downhill ever

light and then a searing pain that vanished in an

since. I once calculated that if I’d saved all the

instant as the .50 calibre Desert Eagle round ripped

money I’d ever spent on cigarettes I could have

through my sternum. Blood, bone, and muscle all

gone on holiday to Miami. For an entire year. It

merged together in the blink of an eye as my heart

wasn’t the Big C that got me though, and it wasn’t

was shredded by the hollow point round; and then

any of the other smoke related diseases that

it was over. My body flew backwards; I heard the

they’ve preached about over the years. I place the

sharp crack as my spinal column severed under the

blame for my fate squarely on the shoulders of all

strain and then oblivion. Blackness; a complete

those anti-smoking Nazi’s that got smoking

cessation of sight and sound and feeling.

indoors banned.

I remember my resurrection less clearly. There was a grey fog of awareness,

I used to love sitting in a bar after work with a Bud and a cigarette, relaxing and letting the

fragmented images, broken and half formed.

stress of the day wash away wrapped in a wreath of

Snatches of sounds danced in and out of my

smoke. It was my ritual for years until the new

hearing; words, music and screams. I floated in a

legislation got passed and buggered everything up

sea of numbness, a total cessation of feeling;

for me and millions of others. Every day I’d leave

cocooned in a warm haze. Thoughts flew through

the office, loosen my tie and head downtown to

my head, dreams and memories and nightmares

Clancey’s for a couple of hours before hopping a

colliding and falling apart in a frantic, never ending

cab home.

cycle. It took a long time before I realised that the

Six days a week for more years than I can

screams I heard were my own; under the

remember until people started giving a damn about

circumstances I suppose it was inevitable that there

second hand smoke. That screwed it up for me and

would be some pain.

the last bunch of years has never been quite as

Some pain? Bones were shifting, re-aligning

satisfying somehow. Sure, I could go and stand

and knitting. The hole in my chest closed and

outside to spark up, but a cigarette in the pouring

blood, muscle, hair and flesh re-grew. The oxygen

rain just doesn’t hit the spot in the same way. And

starved synapses in my brain began to fire once

how can you enjoy your beer after you’ve been

again sending electrical energy coursing through

freezing your ass off in the cold just to get your

my regenerating grey matter. It stood to reason

nicotine fix?

that I would want to cry out in anguish; I was being

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I guess you could say that I died that night

The day I died was just like any other for me;

re-born and birth is always a painful process.

a whirl of corporate law, meetings, power lunches,

Coming back to life hurt just as much as dying, but

phone calls and filing briefs. I worked on the third

the pain subsided gradually until all that was left

floor of one of the biggest law firms in the state

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and I was pretty good at my job. I wore a thousand

straight away that it was the meteorite shower. It

dollar suit, shirts from Seville, silk ties imported

was a beautiful but somehow eerie sight. I couldn’t

from China and I always looked sharp. I spent the

see properly from where I was standing so I moved

day working my ass off and occasionally flirting

down the block a short distance. There was a dark

with the girls in the secretarial pool over a much

alleyway here that cut between the buildings and I

needed coffee break. I rolled out of the office at

had a clear view of the heavenly splendour. I forgot

eight on that fateful evening, with the warm fall sky

all about my cigarette as I watched the glowing

gleaming above the office blocks around me.

streaks of light blazing across the darkness. I

I said goodnight to the security guards,

guess that’s why I didn’t see the mugger creeping

walked out of the revolving door and lit up a much

up the alley behind me; I heard the sharp click as

needed cigarette. The taste of the tobacco felt

he chambered a round in his gun though.

good and I ignored the frowns of a passing couple

I never got a good look at his face; the alley

as I exhaled. The short walk to Clancey’s was nice

was dark and I was rather preoccupied by the gun

in the evening air and I enjoyed the stroll as I

waving in my face. It was a huge silver cannon with

anticipated downing a cold one. I picked my regular

a barrel that looked like the mouth of the Jersey

seat at the bar and my beer was in front of me

Tunnel. The guy was nervous and he waved the gun

before I’d put down my briefcase. The crisp taste

menacingly in my face as he demanded my wallet

was good and I could feel the stress washing away

and cell phone. I’ve always thought that I’d be

as I sipped slowly at the Bud.

brave if something like this ever happened to me. I

I chatted to a couple of the regulars and

guess I was deluding myself because instead of

settled in to watch the TV as I started my second

wrestling his weapon from the guy’s hand all I felt

beer. I was waiting for the sports to see how the

was terrified. He screamed at me, urging me to

Eagles were doing when the anchorman started

hurry; the problem was that my phone and wallet

talking about the meteor shower. I half listened as

were in my jacket back in the bar.

he went on about how glorious the rare event

I’m not sure if what he did was deliberate or

would look in the evening sky. Who cared about

an accident; I guess he thought I was screwing him

meteor showers when your team stood a chance of

around. One second he’s screaming abuse in my

making it to the play-off that year? It was crawling

face and the next there’s a flash of light and a

on towards ten and I was on my third beer when I

sound like thunder. Something punched me in the

decided to head outside for what turned out to be

chest and I felt myself flying backwards. I don’t

my final fatal cigarette.

think I even felt the sharp crack as my head

A couple of Clancey’s patrons were finishing

bounced off the sidewalk. The last thing I

cigarettes as I stepped into the warm night air. I

remember as my life slipped away was the streaks

bummed a light as they headed back inside and

of light in the sky. They looked so beautiful that I

found myself alone on the sidewalk. I listened to

thought I could lie there all night and watch them.

the hum of the city as I smoked, enjoying the

But then my vision blurred and they swam out of

cigarette and anticipating catching a cab a little

focus until everything went black

later. I had some lasagne in the refrigerator that would make a quick meal when I got in and then it would be bed; alone as usual. I was looking at the

were open because the blackness persisted. I tried

buildings as I smoked and something drew my eye

to move but everything ached and it felt like I was

up towards the cloudy sky.

swimming through treacle. It seemed to take

There were dozens of faint streams of pale green light shooting across the night. I realised

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It took me a long time to realise that my eyes

forever for me to raise my arm and when I did it bumped into something hard and unyielding. A

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lifetime later I had both my hands pressed against

someone to explain what was going on to me so I

the hard surface. There was something soft

lifted the lid covering my legs and climbed out of

covering it; cloth of some kind and I pushed gently.

the coffin.

I felt something move and I pushed again, harder

I hit the floor hard and lay there for a while

this time. The coffin lid popped open and harsh,

wondering why my body was refusing to work

artificial light flooded my vision.

properly. I was probably medicated or something;

I was shocked to realise that I was lying in a

that would explain the fuzzy feeling in my head

coffin. How the hell had I got here? Was it some

and the lethargy in my limbs. I rolled over, slowly

sort of crazy practical joke? Of course I had no idea

picked myself up and stood, swaying for a long

who would play such a stupid prank on me; Barry

moment. There was an uncomfortable itching

from Finance maybe? It was just like him to pull

sensation in my chest and I scratched at it absently

something crazy like this on me. That was when I

with one hand. I realised that I wasn’t wearing

remembered the gun and getting shot and that was

hospital scrubs; I was fully dressed, but the suit

when the confusion set in, and then the panic. I

wasn’t the one I had been wearing to work. That

blinked and looked around as my surroundings

puzzled me as much as my surroundings.

came slowly into focus.

The room had a single dark wood panelled

I was looking up at a beige coloured ceiling that slowly swam in and out of focus. I stared at it

Whatever drugs they’d pumped me with were

for what seemed like forever before I tried to look

making it tricky to walk and I seemed to be

around and that was when I saw the pale silk

lurching like a drunken bum as I staggered towards

linings on either side. Turning my head was

my goal. Maybe I was hungover? What if I’d had

difficult because my neck felt stiff; I was going to

more to drink than I thought last night and just

need a good massage to get all the kinks out of it.

dreamed the shooting? That seemed to make sense

The office had its own small spa and gym and as I

to me and it would explain the way my head felt

lay there I decided that would be my first call once I

and my body’s complete lack of being able to

figured out where I was. I certainly wasn’t at home,

function properly. Yeah, I’d gotten loaded and

so maybe I was in hospital? That made sense to

dreamed the whole meteorites and mugger thing.

me, after all that’s what happened when you got

Of course that still didn’t explain why I was wearing

shot right? But I didn’t remember getting here and I

different clothes or the whole waking up in a coffin

had no recollection of paramedics of ambulances

thing.

or an ER.

The mild itching from my chest was a

I struggled to sit up; every muscle groaning

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door that could have been oak and I headed for it.

persistent nag as I staggered across the little room.

in protest. It was a slow, painful process that an

I paused and scratched at it again and then pulled

arthritic old man would have done more quickly

at my shirt to see what was irritating it. The

than I could manage. My back popped unpleasantly

buttons seemed too tiny and my fingers didn’t

as I forced myself upright. The loud cracks

want to work properly as I struggled with the shirt.

reminded me unpleasantly of the sound of that

I tugged at it and one of the buttons popped off;

idiot’s gun and I suppressed a shudder at the

this certainly wasn’t one of my shirts and I didn’t

memory. The room was quite small, with a deep

recognise the tie either. The material parted and I

red carpet, a few idyllic paintings were on the walls

looked down at my itching chest only to get

and a large floral display occupied one corner. I

another unpleasant shock. There was a slightly

really was sitting in a coffin that had been placed in

jagged Y-shaped incision carved into my skin; I

the centre of the room on some kind of table. The

could see the point where the three arms met.

first order of business was to get out and find

Thick black stitched held the ugly wound together

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and I knew instantly where I had seen that sort of

unthinkable. In all the years I’d been with the

thing before; it was what happened during an

company I’d always been on time and I wasn’t

autopsy!

going to start letting them down because of a

That was stupid. No way was it an autopsy

hangover. There seemed to be just one thing that I

scar; they only did those on dead people and I

was certain about right at that moment; Barry was a

certainly wasn’t dead. Corpses don’t walk around,

dead man when I got my hands on him.

they don’t breathe and they certainly don’t crave a

After what seemed like an eternity of walking

cigarette the way that I was. It had to be one of

I found myself in a warmly lit reception area. There

those fake things made of rubber that they use in

were more flowers here and sitting behind the

the movies; a prosthetic. That was it exactly and it

reception desk was a middle aged Hispanic guy in a

was the glue that was making my chest itch! I

security uniform. He turned to look at me as I

patted my pockets searching for a cigarette and

staggered into the reception and his eyes widened.

lighter but they were empty. That frustrated me but

I raised my hand in a friendly greeting and smiled.

it crystallised my plan of action. First I was gonna find someone to explain what the hell had

“Hey buddy, where am I?” I said. Or at least that’s what I tried to say. It came

happened to me (Barry was still my prime suspect)

out as mush that sounded more like a moan than

then I was going to bum a smoke, find a coffee and

proper words. The security guard almost fell off his

figure out how to get home.

chair as he scrambled to his feet and crossed

I lurched towards the door again,

himself in an overly dramatic gesture.

weaving like a drunken sailor – how much

Who does that when they see

beer had I had last night? The door had

someone with a hangover? The

a large ornately decorated brass

guy was in a panic and I realised

knob and I reached for it with

that I could actually smell his

fingers that felt like someone

sweat mingled in with the aroma

else’s. I had just as much trouble

of the flowers and his

with the door knob as I had with

deodorant; yuk! As I

my shirt. My hand persisted in not

approached him the guard

working properly and it took me an

scrambled back,

age to grasp and turn the knob. The

placing the

door finally swung open and I

reception desk

staggered into the corridor behind it.

between us.

There was more of the same décor

The guard’s

that the room had contained and any

hand scrambled at

other time I’m sure I would have

his belt and I

found it comforting and relaxing.

realised with a start

There was a sign on one wall, but

that he was going

my eyes swam at the words and refused to focus

for I gun. I put my arms up, trying to reassure him

properly.

but that somehow made him panic even more.

Whatever; I turned right and made my way along the carpeted corridor in what I hoped was the right direction. I needed to be in the office by seven

He kept repeating the same thing over and over under his breath, “Los muertos! Jesús!” I had no idea what that meant and I tried to

and I was worrying about the time. My watch was

tell him that it was okay but my mouth still refused

missing though and I had no idea of how long I had

to form words properly. The guard finally released

been passed out. I couldn’t be late for work, it was

the clip on his holster and he tore the stubby black

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9


gun from his hip. His hands shook as he levelled it

along the sidewalk. My parents lived in a small

at me and I tried to beg him to stop. The guard

apartment in Queens; maybe I should pay them a

closed his eyes, pulled the trigger and that was

visit later? Today was a short day at work, so I’d

when I got shot in the chest for the second time.

have the afternoon free and I’m sure they’d love a

It tickled. I’m not really sure how many volts a taser is meant to produce but I was damn grateful

I reached for my cell to call them and then

that this one seemed to be faulty. The guard

remembered that my damn pockets were empty.

opened his eyes and stared at me in what I could

That screwed things up royally and I wondered

only describe as horror. What was his problem? I

where my cell and wallet were. Damn I hated this!

was the one that should be horrified after the fool

Barry was going to pay for this one big-time, and

had tried to electrocute me! He screamed a curse

not just for the inconvenience but for the sheer

and actually threw the taser at me. Then he turned

stupidity of it all. I couldn’t even hail a cab to get

and bolted for the big double doors that lead to the

me to the office; then again I hadn’t seen any cabs

street. His keys were out and the guards had

since I’d left the funeral parlour. That was weird

opened the door in seconds. Thenhe was running

because New York never slept and the famous

down the sidewalk screaming as if all the hounds in

yellow cabs were always on the streets. Somewhere

Hell were hot on his heels. Some people eh?

in the distance I could hear sirens so I guess

I pushed my way through the doors that the

someone was having a worse night than me. I

guard had just opened and carefully navigated

didn’t find that particularly reassuring as I shuffled

down the short flight of steps onto the sidewalk. It

and staggered along.

was dark outside; the soft, grey endless twilight of

The sky brightened above me while I was

pre-dawn. Off to my right the guard was still

walking and became the dull orange of dawn. The

running down the street and I figured that the guy

clouds were shot with red and faint green like

must have been a running back in college. I looked

something out of a trippy psychedelic cartoon. The

back at the building I had just left and although I

slow burning pangs of hunger were getting

couldn’t make out the sign above the door I

stronger and I found myself thinking more and

recognised the place. It was a funeral parlour a

more about food. I really wanted to eat. Something,

couple of blocks over from my law firm. There was

anything as long as it was a warm and juicy chunk

a nice Italian coffee shop somewhere around here

of meat. My plan of action formulated in my head;

that I had meetings in from time to time. Barry the

Barry first, coffee and a cigarette second, followed

prankster had really pulled out all the stops on this

by food. Lots of food. Actually forget the coffee

one. I wondered who he’d bribed to get me

and nicotine fix, I just wanted to sort out Barry and

smuggled into that casket?

eat something.

The thought of coffee led me onto food and

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visit from me.

The city was coming to life around me but

reminded me of the soft growl in my stomach. I

there was something off about it that it took me a

could smell bagels cooking somewhere on the early

while to figure out. Everything seemed so subdued,

morning air. Normally the idea of a warm bagel

so quiet. There weren’t as many cars as I would

from a deli would have been an ideal breakfast but

have expected and the few people I saw gave me a

I fancied something else. I wanted bacon or

wide berth. Maybe they thought I was some drunk

possibly burgers. The idea of all that warm juicy

staggering home after a night on the tiles?

meat had me licking my lips in anticipation. I was

Whatever; I didn’t really care about what was going

pretty sure that right about now I’d murder a nice

on in people’s heads. What was going on in their

steak, rare and sweet and so damn tasty. That got

heads? I kept coming back to that thought as it

me thinking about my Mom’s cooking as I weaved

circled my mind like a vulture seeking a carcass. I

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did care about what was in their heads, I really did.

was a tension in the air that emanated from my

Thoughts, memories, hopes, dreams, joys and

fellow passenger; I could almost smell what they

sorrows; it was fascinating, almost intoxicating. Oh

were feeling. I wondered what was worrying them?

yes indeed.

Perhaps it had been my “Good morning” as they got

I wanted to explore what was in those heads

on? That had come out of my unresponsive mouth

in the worst possible way. Examine each one in

as an embarrassing moan and I had lapsed into

turn and drink in the memories, savouring every

silence for the ride. What were they thinking? What

last moment of their lives. That would feel so good.

was going on in those deliciously sweet heads? I

To be able to drown myself on what was in those

would have loved the time to explore their minds

heads, to gorge myself until I was contented, that

but I had other, pressing matters to attend to.

would be heaven. I shook myself at the idea; how

I lumbered out of the elevator when it

weird could I get when I had a hangover? My poor

reached Finance to the obvious relief of me fellow

brain was definitely fried from the booze and I’m

passengers. I gave them a stink-eye as the doors

sure that tingle from the taser couldn’t have helped

closed behind me. Finance was a huge open area

me too much. I rounded a corner and staggered on

divided into cubicles and I found Barry the

towards my goal; only two more blocks and then

prankster easily His balding head was easy to spot

Barry was going to get a nasty surprise off me.

amongst the litter of cubicles and I made my slow way towards him. Barry was surprised to see me

It took me an eternity to reach the law

when he turned around. He sat there with his

offices where I had spent so many hours of my life

mouth opening and closing like a fish gasping on

over the years. The sidewalks had become busier

land.

as I walked and a few people had bumped and

“Oh my god!” he said.

jostled me as I stagger on my quest. A few shot me

I glared long and hard at the chubby, self

worried looks and scurried away as if I were some evil looking beast who had escaped from the local

confessed fool. Barry staggered to his feet as I struggled to

penitentiary. I flashed a smile at one lady, a friendly

tell him what was on my mind. The hunger was a

gesture that left her hurrying in the opposite

roaring distraction now, my words refused to form

direction after she turned tail and bolted. People in

properly. I felt like a baby trying to speak for the

New York could be so damn strange at times, but I

first time.

guess it takes all sorts to make up the world. I breathed a happy sigh of relief as I made my way into the law firm’s lobby and nodded a

“It’s impossible. You’re dead! Your funeral’s next week.” Barry said. What was the idiot babbling about? Funeral?

greeting to the security guard. He looked surprised

How could I be dead if I was walking around? Barry

to see me as I walked past and waved a friendly

was taking the prank just a bit too far for my liking.

greeting to Jenny the receptionist. The pretty

What was he thinking? What was going through that

blonde looked like she’d been hit over the head

fat, juicy head of his? I reached for the fool and my

with a baseball bat. She watched me with a

hand clamped around his throat. He gasped and I

dumbstruck expression plastered on her face as I

could feel the steady thump of his rapid pulse

headed for the elevators. I clumsily thumbed the

under my fingers. The blood was coursing through

call button, missing it on my first attempt and

his chubby, well fed body. I leaned towards him

waited patiently for the elevator to arrive.

and licked my lips in anticipation. This was going

I rode the elevator up to Finance with four

to be good, the perfect payback for his nasty little

other people. The journey seemed to take forever

prank. I pulled him closer and breathed in the

and the atmosphere in the elevator felt odd. There

sweet, sweet scent of blood and flesh. The words

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11


finally came as I lunged for his face and told Barry the prankster just exactly what I needed to fill the About the story

burning hunger in my stomach. “Brains!”

Dead! Started life as a loose idea; you get stories told from a vampire or werewolf’s point of view so why not from a zombies? I’m sure zombies have feelings too, buried somewhere under that overwhelming craving for fresh brains. This is my

About the author

first story to feature a “modern” zombie; I wrote

I am a writer, make-up artist, artist, actor,

about traditional ones in Gandalf.

anime fiend, X-Box junkie and government

For the record my own personal favourite zombie

endorsed secret agent ninja assassin - one of these

story is Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. It’s an

may be false...

awesome comic and if you love zombies then you

I have three children and live in Staffordshire

really should read it.

with my crazy dog Theo.

12

www.sfbuzz.com


Interview With James Moran – Writer of Cockneys Vs Zombies James Moran is a screenwriter with an extensive portfolio. In addition to writing the movies Severance, Cockneys Vs Zombies and Tower Block; his name can often be seen on the TV after scripting episodes of Doctor Who, Torchwood, Spooks, Primeval and Crusoe SFBuzz: Writer of episodes of

came out, but it all went

Spooks, Doctor Who and

horribly wrong. Just at that

James Moran: Not at all, the

Primeval. I believe you reached

time, I started getting TV work,

difficult part is not letting it be

your break in writing in a un

so I focused on that for a while.

TOO funny and silly. When

conventional way.

I worked on a lot of UK TV

you're doing a horror comedy,

shows, for about 2 years I was

it's very easy to get carried away

James Moran: I won a short

doing that and not much else.

with the jokes, the trick is to

film script competition that the

After that I spent some time

balance it out so that the scares

UK Sci Fi Channel were running

trying to get my own TV series

are properly scary, around the

- they made my script into a

off the ground, but it's a very

jokes. Although Cockneys

short film, released it in

slow process, and means you

wasn't ever meant to be a scary

cinemas with several summer

disappear off the radar for while

movie, at all, so I just had to

movies. But it wasn't really a

- I was working, writing a lot,

make sure that despite the

"break", more of a validation,

but being in development takes

humour, the characters felt like

proof that I could write

ages. I had decided to avoid

real people, nice people you'd

something people might want

movies for a while, after a few

want to root for. And never to

to see. After that, I had to make

bad experiences in a row with

make fun of Cockneys

my own way, I wrote some

dodgy producers. The guys

themselves, because that's lazy

scripts and sent them to an

behind Cockneys convinced me

and simplistic.

agency. The agent took me on,

to work on it, and promised

and I spent a year writing

they would protect me during

Severance, and figuring out how

the process - which they did, I

SFBuzz: Are we ever likely to

to structure a movie.

had a fantastic time all the way

see the exploits of Ray fighting

through it. And then, Tower

Nazis in WWII?

Block got picked up at the same SFBuzz: After our first feature

time, so suddenly I had two

James Moran: I'd love to see

SEVERENCE how come we had

movies out within two months,

that, I'd really like to do some

to wait so long for your horror

after a 6 year gap.

comics exploring the side

feature follow up COCKNEYS VS

stories of the movie, so

ZOMBIES?

hopefully that will happen one SFBuzz: How hard is it to blend

day. That's top of my list, as

James Moran: I had a movie in

ZOMBIE horror with a good

well as seeing what happens to

development after Severance

helping of comedy?

the other people in the bank.

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13


It'd probably have to be a

them.

comic, the adventures of Young

SFBuzz: Should Zombies be

Ray, so there's more chance of

Shufflers (Romero-esq) or

it happening.

Runners (28 Days Later)?

SFBuzz: Have you a survival plan for the Zombie

James Moran: We talked about

Apocalypse?

SFBuzz: I believe we don't have

this before I typed my first word

to wait long for more Zombies

in Cockneys - I was determined

James Moran: Yes, I wrote

from the Moran stable. I see

that they should be shufflers,

about it on my blog in detail,

Silent Night of the Living Dead

and the director was too. We

way too much detail for

is possibly to reach us by the

discussed it for a while,

someone to be thinking about,

end of this year. What can you

wondering if people wanted to

someone should probably keep

tell us about this?

see the more modern take - but

an eye on me. Basically, it's this:

once I'd come up with the

as soon as you see ANY hints

James Moran: It's still early

pensioners and the walking

that the apocalypse is about to

days for that, the script is all

frame, there was only one

start, kill all your neighbours.

written, we just need to get the

possible way to go, thankfully.

They'll only go crazy or get

rest of the financing and key

Shufflers are the best. Having

bitten or betray you, so save

cast and crew in place. If all

said that, I do like several

yourself some time and hassle.

goes well, then we hope to be

running zombie movies. The

Take all their stuff, stock up

shooting as soon as possible.

zombies in Silent Night are

from the local shops, barricade

But it takes time to sort out the

shufflers too. So clearly I favour

yourself in, make holes in the

financial side of

walls so you can use

every movie,

their houses too, then

sadly. This one

sit tight, get drunk,

is also a horror

stay drunk, and wait.

comedy, we're

Don't answer the door.

pitching it as

Kill anyone who comes

Gremlins meets

near you. If the army

Fulci - shuffling

fix everything, you can

zombies in a

wait it out. If they

small town at

don't, at least you'll be

Christmas. And

drunk.

lots of gore.

Thank you to James Moran for permission to use Owen Billcliffe's photo above (photographer on CvsZ) The photo shows Jame's in a zombie cameo that was cut from the final film, being dispatched by Andy (played by Harry Treadaway)

14

www.sfbuzz.com


The Alternate Start To The Cornetto Trilogy As we write this, the finale of the Cornetto Trilogy

In 2002, riding high on the success of Spaced,

is entering its final stages. The World’s End is the

Wright and Pegg went to LA to meet with the

third (well, third and a half if you count ‘Paul’)

studios. They had a script ready, a self styled

movie in the unofficial trilogy of genre

‘zomromcom’ about a feckless young Englishman

fiction/comedy/blisteringly funny, smart and

who finds himself forced to step up again and

frequently touching dissections of the male geek

again as the cosy world he’s built himself is literally

psyche trilogy that Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg

eaten away by the zombie apocalypse. The buzz on

started with Shaun of the Dead. The first two

the script was huge, Spaced had closed out as a

movies, Shaun and Hot Fuzz, are fiercely smart love

vast critical success and its cult status was

letters to and parodies of zombie movies and cop

achieved and the whole movie could be filmed, in

movies respectively and The World’s End is…well…

London, for a modest budget.

here’s the thing. We don’t know. There’ve been conflicting reports ranging from zombies and a musical number to Simon Pegg claiming the movie isn’t actually about the end of the world at all. What we do know is that, decades after they first

There was just one problem; no studio would finance it shooting there. Pegg and Wright took meeting after meeting, all positive and all, in the end, boiling down to one request;

attempted it at college, a group of friends try and

‘Can you set it in LA?’

complete an epic pub crawl as…something, begins

The pressure on the two was almost indescrible;

to happen out in the world. We know Wright is

they were, at this stage, two UK comedy writers

directing, know Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are

without a tremendous amount of work behind them

front and center and we know that this time they’re

and they’d been handed the brass ring; a shot at

being joined by a supporting cast including Martin

Hollywood. To turn this down would spell career

Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine and David

suicide but to compromise the script’s inherent

Bailey, who I fervently hope, is making his peace

Britishness could mean the exact same thing. In

with spending the next few years being asked if

interview years later, Wright admitted they’d kicked

he’s going to be playing William Hartnell playing

around rewriting it for a female lead and calling it

the 1st Doctor again soon. We also know it will

Dawn of the Dead, but it had never gone anywhere

involve a flavor of Cornetto ice cream, because, in

and, for a while, it seemed Wright and Pegg would

each of the previous movies, the ice cream has

do the same.

appeared. All the signs point to The World’s End being a perfect capstone to two of the smartest, most interesting geek culture movies of the last

But what if Shaun wasn’t the first movie? What if the trilogy had taken us down a different path. Like the man says, come with us now on a journey through time and space as we explain how, one universe, Edgar Wright’s first Cornetto movie was

Island of Lost Scripts

untested as big screen scriptwriters. So why not take the initial script out of their hands

twenty years.

both very different and weirdly familiar…

Until they came up with an idea; they were untried,

altogether? The plan they presented was simple; give us carte blanche access to everything you have in devel0pment hell, we’ll pick a script, pitch it and if you like it, then that’s what we’ll push ahead on. Then, if it’s successful, Shaun would be next on the list. Universal agreed, and Wright and Pegg picked an undeveloped script from 1987 by SHORT CIRCUIT

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15


writers S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock entitled

though something huge was moving beneath the

“Tremors”.

surface, pass the rock on each side and head to

The RomMonCom was born. (Romantic Comedy, with Monsters)

town. Unknown to the hapless duo the desert is crawling with giant underground monsters called Graboids. And they’ve found the town… Walking to Walter Chang’s the next morning to buy

The Script

a Cornetto, Val finds out from Walter about the

Tremors is set in the Desert town of Perfection

disappearance of the doctor building his house on

Valley and follows the misfortunes of two British ex

the other side of the valley. Curious, but hung over,

pats with one time big ideas trying to make their

he’s stumbles home. He’s barely through the door

way in the world.

when there’s a scream, high pitched and squeaky,

Valentine (Val) McKee (Simon Pegg) came to the US on a gap year and never went back. His work as a handy man in Perfection Valley means he knows, and is liked by, very nearly everyone but also means he has no reason to move on. The fact he lives, and works, with best mate Earl Bassett, also an ex pat and handyman but more the ‘logistical

which is revealed to be Earl. He’s hiding by the back porch, watching their tool shed. The shed subsided in the night as a Graboid passed beneath it and now the creature, screaming in pain, is trying to tear itself free. The fact it takes a while for them to realize this leads to one of the best exchanges in the movie:

side of things’ (And Perfection’s one and only drug

Val: Is it still out there?

dealer) doesn’t help either. The pair live on the

[Earl checks, revealing a graboid

outskirts of town, have all the beer, money and

appearing at the window]

food they know what to do with and can drink for

Earl: Yeah. What you think we should

free at Chang’s as long as they unblock the toilets

do?

regularly. Life is good.

Val: Have a sit down?

Life is also complicated. Val has been dating Rhonda, a geologist surveying the valley for the last six months. Now, she’s a few weeks off finishing and heading back to Berkeley. She’s asked Val to come with her. He hasn’t said yes yet. Things are getting awkward. They’re not helped by the fact Earl, whilst utterly charming, is also a foul-mouthed loser:

Finally realizing they have to do something they start pelting the beast with cans of beer. Val: Don’t throw that, its imported The Graboid breaks free and the pair kill it using various power tools (Wright would later say in interview this scene is crammed full of references to classic ’80s video nasties. Fans also note the S-

Earl: Can I get… any of you c***s… a

MART ‘Employee of the Month’ shirt Earl is wearing

drink?

for much of the movie.) However, walking back

Matters come to a head when, on Rhonda’s last night in town, Val suggests they eat at Chang’s. With Earl. Again. Rhonda leaves him and a griefstricken Val is taken out into the desert by Earl to play house music, blow stuff up and get drunker. The two men pass out on a rock and the camera

along its trail they notice other creatures heading for town. The only reason they were able to kill the one beneath the shed was because it was trapped. Perfection is in a lot of trouble. They need a plan. They get: Earl: Chang’s?

tracks up as we see vast wakes in the sand, as Val: CHANG’S.

16

www.sfbuzz.com


What follows proved to be another fan favorite

the trailer, trapping them. Seeing them on the

sequence, starting with Val saving the town pogo

verge of being over-run, Earl leaps from the trailer

record holder (Played by young Ariana Richards)

and runs off, the vibrations of his footsteps

from a Graboid, taking in Val and Rhonda’s (sort of)

drawing the Graboids away. Val and Rhonda get the

reconciliation, the revelation that the bookish,

charges but the largest Graboid they’ve yet seen

polite Rhonda can out swear Earl and Val, Rhonda,

tears through the shed and a lit charge is dropped

Earl, Chang and the other townsfolk killing a

into the box of unlit ones. Val grabs a handful, as

Graboid with pickaxes to the tune of the Queen

Rhonda punches the Graboid’s mouth tentacles out

song “Don’t Stop Me Now” on the Jukebox in

of the way and they run out of the shed just as it

Chang’s before they retreated to the roof.

blows up. Trapped on a rocky outcrop, with a cliff to one side, another Graboid swarming the trailer

The movie takes a dark turn as, despite Val

and Earl presumed dead, all seems lost. In a

heroically leading one Graboid away on foot, several townsfolk, including Chang, are killed and Val, coming to his senses and realizing they need to leave, retrieves the radio from Chang’s and calls

surprisingly dark twist, they reconcile and talk about asking Burt to kill them at range, leading to Val’s memorable line;

local survivalist Burt Gummer. With his ultra heavy-

VAL: I don’t think I have it in me to

duty tractor, and the trailer that Val and Earl were

lose my job, my house, my best friend

going to turn into a swimming pool hitched up,

and ask the local gun nut to kill my

Burt comes and gets the survivors and leads them

girlfriend and I in the same day.

out to his compound, showing them his gun vault, which Earl responds to with the now classic line:

RHONDA: Who says I’m your girlfriend?

EARL: By the power of Grayskull…

Val’s had enough. He kisses her, grabs the charges

They recuperate and Burt assures them the Graboids can’t get in right before one smashes the wall of his gun vault because Earl couldn’t be bothered to close the gate behind them. Everyone bar Burt, his wife, Val, Rhonda and Earl are killed and Val finally loses it at his oldest friend, screaming at him about how unreliable he is.

and sprints out towards the cliff, yelling and screaming. The others watch, horror struck as the Graboids all turn and head straight for Val. Standing at the very edge of the cliff, he lights and throws all the carges behind the Graboids, the sound and vibration enraging them and driving them even faster towards him. Val, clearly terrified,

The survivors realize they need to get out of the

holds his ground and at the last possible second

valley to get help. The only way to do this is by

leaps aside as the Graboids smash through the cliff

riding the tractor out across eight klicks of pure

beneath him and…sail into thin air and crash to the

sand, but, as Rhonda notes that on the way they’ll

ground hundreds of feet below, dying instantly.

pass the geological survey station she was working at and can use the charges she has left to defend themselves. The survivors gear up, in a scene which riffs on the arming up scene in Predator (And would later itself be riffed on in Slither), and they head out. The Graboids attack almost instantly and just as they reach Rhonda’s, the Graboids tear a wheel off

With Val about to join them, dangling over the cliff edge. Rhonda runs to save him and hauls him back onto solid ground, just as a Graboid scream echoes nearby. The survivors, bloody and tattered, turn to face the new attack and find… Earl…with a pet Graboid. EARL (LOOKING AT EVERYONE’S AMAZEMENT): ….What?

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17


Embracing his friend, Val asks how he’s alive and

show and his own, great grandfather in the hugely

Earl explains he threw everything out of his pockets

entertaining Steampunk prequel, Tremors IV. That

as he ran off, including his stash. Which the

movie was directed by Greg Mottola, who would go

Graboid ate. And which appears to have calmed it

on to work with Pegg and Frost on Paul.

down. The screen fades out on him talking to Burt about tourists coming to Perfection, and Val and Rhonda kissing.

Spaced fans, still smarting from the confirmation of there being no third series, were split. Many were extremely fond of the movie but many others

It fades up on ad for a brand new Perfection Game

decried it as the three having sold out. Two of the

Reserve, with Burt as the Head Warden. We see

most vocal criticisms were that they should have

footage of the military coming into town and

made the film in the UK and that Burt Gummer,

securing the Graboids, find out Burt refused to let

Michael Gross’ character, was just a beefed up

the carcasses off his land until he was given an

version of Mike, Frost’s character on Spaced.

extensive grant and how Rhonda now divides her

Wright answered the first criticism both with Shaun

time between University of Texas, where she

of the Dead, which he directed to huge acclaim

lectures about Graboids, and town, where she

immediately after Tremors, and answered the

helps run the reserve along with Earl and Charlie

second when the DVD of the movie was released. A

the Graboid, still permanently high. Val for his

deleted scene sees Burt asks Val and Earl whether

part? Is married to Rhonda and taking classes at U

they know his nephew Mike, who lives in the UK.

of T. He’s training to become a zoologist but in the

Earl opens his mouth to speak and Val cuts him

meantime, he’s still fixing toilets. Just to keep his

off. It also caught some criticism over the

hand in…

perceived homosexual nature of Val and Earl’s relationship:

Reception and Sequels The movie opened modestly, was critically

Val: [about Earl] He’s not my

acclaimed in the genre press for the unusual step

boyfriend!

of being a monster movie set almost entirely

Earl: [handing beer to Val] It might be

during the day and continues to enjoy a long life on

a bit warm, the cooler’s off.

DVD and On Demand services. No less than three

Val: Thanks, babe. [winks]

sequels and a short-lived TV show were produced, none of which involved Wright, Pegg and Frost in any way. This wasn’t out of any sense of falling out, after all the studio were extremely pleased with the

This was also answered by Wright turning the right

results, but rather a sense of them having

wing criticisms of the movie into a marketing tool,

‘graduated’. Interestingly though, the franchise

arranging for a two day film festival at the Alamo

would remain a regular stopping off point for

Drafthouse, alternating movies dealing with

English screen writers cutting their teeth in

homosexuality and buddy action movies. The

Hollywood, with both Harold Overman and Toby

festival is still running today, and Wright is viewed

Whithouse writing sequels. Also, the Spaced

as a friend of both the cinema and the city.

connection remained a close one, with Jessica Hyne starring as a colleague of Rhonda’s in the sequel and Michael Smiley appearing as both the new head of the Game Reserve in Tremors III and the TV

18

Next Steps -Wright parlayed his success into not only Shaun of

www.sfbuzz.com


the Dead but a permanent ‘talent exchange’

Daily Show.

arrangement with the US. This led to him essentially splitting his career between the US and the UK, culminating in the confirmation of his AntMan movie at ComicCon in 2012. Rumours persist that Wright is front runner to take over control of the Marvel Movie universe when Joss Whedon steps away but those have yet to be confirmed. The possibility of him directing an episode of Doctor Who however, refuses to go away and Wright seems likely to go behind the camera there for Season 8 in 2014. - Pegg, despite the doubts of some elements of British fandom, became a movie star in his own

-The Cornetto trilogy became, in the end, two. The UK trilogy consisting of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End concludes this year but the US version has remained frustratingly incomplete with only Tremors (Red), and Paul (Green) completed and controversy surrounding Paul’s status as a Cornetto movie given the fact it was directed by Mottola. However, in the last few months it’s been confirmed that Wright has chosen another script from the vaults; an abandoned 1980s action comedy called Police Academy.

right in the US, appearing in the Mission:Impossible

It seems that the American blue Cornetto is finally

and Star Trek reboot series. He also narrowly

on the way. Even better, Wright and Pegg have

missed out on a stint on Doctor Who, and, at time

confirmed this is the long-rumored crossover

of writing, is one of the last few actors in

movie. Sergeant Nicholas Angel is going to

contention for the lead role in Doctor Strange.

America. And he’s bringing his ice cream with him.

-Frost also made it big in the wake of Tremors, not only through working with Wright and Pegg but as a regular fixture on US TV. His laconic, deadpan

Written By Alasdair Stuart and Brian Edwards.

approach on screen and his fierce love of cooking off made him a personality in his own right leading

This style of 'What If' stories will become a regular

to him being invited to appear on shows as diverse

feature of Sfbuzz.com

as Man Vs Food, Dancing With The Stars and The

Some Words On The Future Of SFBuzz Magazine We hope that you have enjoyed this sampler of SFBuzz Magazine. We hope you can support us through spreading the word. We are currently running an online fund raising campaign via Indiegogo.com. This is due to run until the 5th June 2013. We hope you can support this with a pledge. We have some great perks. If you cannot give at this time please tweet, facebook or otherwise spread the word. We plan to bring you a monthly magazine, in full colour PDF or plain text for ebooks. The target is no less that four short stories and more articles, interviews and great artwork from talented industry professionals. We welcome your feedback. Please see www.SFbuzz.com to get in touch, or learn how to submit your articles and stories.

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19

SFBuzz Magazine Issue Alpha April 2013  

The Alternate Science Fiction Monthly Our mission is to create a monthly Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine, available online for tablets,...