“The Death and Life of Bob” is 75% pure fun, and 25% horrifying (but all too realistic) social commentary. When Bob comes into work after dying from a heart attack, his coworkers are at first shocked and frightened. But his previous demise also heralds the birth of new relationships and maybe a second chance at life, too. Or is it?
I enjoyed the hell out of this one. If you read only one story out of this anthology (though you’d be nuts to do so!), make it this one.
Prepare yourself for the coming apocalypse and save yourself a copy of Zombies: More Recent Dead before it’s released in September! You can pre-order a copy from Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, IndieBound, or Amazon.
1. The Writing Question: Do you tend to plan your stories before you write them, or do you write and just see what you discover in the process?
The truth is, it’s a little bit of both. I certainly begin with the “nugget” that will become the story, the premise that wants to be explored more fully outside of my head. I usually have a sense of the major movements in the story before I ever begin writing it, and pretty much always an ending in mind. But as I write I sometimes also discover small details or themes I want included.
2. The Zombie Question: What part of the zombie trope do you find yourself most drawn to or most irritated by?
What I find most appealing about the zombie trope is how versatile a metaphor it can be—it can symbolize loss of self, being “swallowed up” by the crowd or society in general, succumbing to baser instincts, etc. In “The Death And Life Of Bob” I tried to put a more positive twist on it by equating it with second chances. There’s almost nothing you can’t do with zombieism as metaphor—vampires and werewolves are both too heavily steeped in sexuality to do a lot else with them (though there are some wonderful exceptions like John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let The Right One In), but zombies are still wide-open.
3. The Random Question: What are you reading currently?
At the moment I’m plowing my way through a particularly fun and quirky story collection by Manuel Gonzalez, called The Miniature Wife. And yes, there is a zombie story in it.
William Jablonsky’s first collection of short fiction, The Indestructible Man: Stories, was published by Livingston Press in April 2005. His second book, novel The Clockwork Man, was released by Medallion Press in September 2010, and republished by Grey Oak (India) in the summer of 2012. His short stories have appeared in many literary journals and magazines, including Asimov’s, Shimmer, Phoebe, and The Florida Review. He teaches at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.