Creeping Hemlock Press successfully launched their zombie-themed line of novels, Print Is Dead, with three good ‘n gory books (Pray to Stay Dead, World in Red and Scavengers) earlier this year, and now comes word that they've got one more ready to stagger out of the gates before 2011 is in the ground. While each of the previous books has put its own twist on the "rules" of the living dead, this one promises to offer the biggest departure from the sub-genre's norms thus far.
Reanimated Americans, by Martin Mundt, imagines a world in which the dead get up and….loiter. Stand around. Take up space. What they don't do is chase people, or munch them, or do much of anything besides stink up the place, leaving a confused populace to try and figure out what exactly to do with them.
The government's reaction is to turn these new kinds of citizens into a number. They open up a Zombie Division of the Census Bureau, and many hundreds of Americans, including one Jett Ahrens, land the cushy job of counting the walking dead. Only Jett's partner appears to be more than a little crazy, and there's a "serial re-killer" going around lighting animated corpses on fire, and there's the Red Death Gang, which is turning the corpses into twisted works of art…oh, and there's the little matter of the secret Jett has tucked away in a storage unit.
Reanimated Americans is scheduled for a December 20 release, but there's one little problem – the book needs a cover. Naturally, Creeping Hemlock Press wants a zombie on the cover…and this is where you come in. If you'd like to be the book's cover boy (or ghoul), you have until November 15 to enter The Zombie Census by sending the publisher a DMV/photo ID-style picture of yourself as a zombie. Use makeup, use Photoshop, or use both - but please don't use a zombie app – they want to see more creativity than that. The Grand Prize winner will be chosen by author John Skipp and will appear in some form on the cover of the book. Other prizes include signed copies of the new book and signed copies of the other Print Is Dead titles.
Here are the official rules, straight from Creeping Hemlock Press: "One photo per person, so send us your best (worst) mug. Photos should be in jpg format and should be at least 1200x1800 pixels with a maximum file size of 5mb. We're looking for simple zombie mug shots against a blank or single-color background—nothing pornographic. No feasting zombies. No photos of actual dead bodies (because at least one of you was thinking about doing that). Email photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name (and the name of the photographer if credit is desired) in the body of the email. Submission implies acceptance of these terms: The winning photo and two runners-up become exclusive intellectual property of Creeping Hemlock Productions, LLC. In the case of non-winning/non-placing submissions, Creeping Hemlock Productions, LLC is granted the right so use images for promotional purposes only and all other rights (e.g. reproduction and sale) remain with the author."
Blu Gilliand is a freelance writer of fiction and nonfiction. He covers horror fiction at his blog, October Country (http://theoctobercountry.wordpress.com), and contributes interviews to the Horror World website (www.horrorworld.org). Follow him on Twitter at @BluGilliand.