by May 22nd, 2012-
BLACKOUT (US | UK | AUS), the conclusion to the epic trilogy that began in the Hugo-nominated FEED and the sequel, DEADLINE, is on-sale today! As a special treat, both Seanan and Mira were able to join us on the blog today for a little chat about the final volume of the Newsflesh trilogy.
SEANAN: As part of an effort to strain the fabric of reality even further, eventually allowing our dread lords to work their way through from the dark dimensions beyond, I have agreed to interview Mira Grant, who nominally doesn’t exist. Mira, thanks for agreeing to talk with me today.
MIRA: Like I had a choice? You’re talking to yourself. On a bench. In a public park. Honestly, I’m just hanging out to see how long it takes before someone calls security on you.
SEANAN: Aren’t you…sweet. Okay. Questions time. You wrote the Newsflesh trilogy for Orbit.
MIRA: That’s not a question.
SEANAN: I’m getting there! Newsflesh. Science makes zombies. Zombies eat people. What was the appeal of doing scientific zombies, and what made you think you had something new to say about the walking dead?
MIRA: Everyone has something new to say, about everything. No two people have the same perspective on anything; sometimes the same person won’t even have the same perspective from hour to hour. I wanted to see what would happen if I started explaining zombies. As for the science…I love me some horrifying, disgusting, man-was-not-meant-to-know science. Every meal with me is like high school biology as taught by Herbert West. If I was going to do zombies, I was going to do science zombies.
SEANAN: Okay, so–
MIRA: Science. It works, bitches.
SEANAN: I begin to remember why I don’t let you out in public most of the time. The first book in the Newsflesh trilogy was Feed, which people seemed to like pretty well. It was nominated for a Hugo Award–something none of my books have managed yet.
SEANAN: Yes. The second book, Deadline, was also nominated for a Hugo.
MIRA: Are you going somewhere with this?
SEANAN: Are you nervous about the third book? Blackout comes out later this month. It’s got some pretty big shoes to fill.
MIRA: Look, just because you’re twitchy all the time, that doesn’t mean I have to be. I mean, yes, of course I’m nervous. I’m always nervous when I have a book coming out. And yes, this one does have some pretty big shoes to fill, being the last in the trilogy and all. Still, I think it’s some of my best work. I love where it all ends. I am so, so excited to share that with the rest of the world.
SEANAN: But it’s not really the ending, is it? I heard something about novellas…
MIRA: Yes! There will be Newsflesh-universe novellas. The first of them, “San Diego 2014,” will be out later this year. None of them feature the Masons. I’m really and truly done with that part of the world, as of Blackout. But the nice thing about a setting like this one is that it’s so much bigger on the inside.
SEANAN: Doctor Who reference, nice. See, we’re not so different after all.
MIRA: Bite me, princess.
SEANAN: No. Moving right along, what can you tell me about the influences on the Newsflesh trilogy? Lots of people have pointed out shout-outs to other media; TV shows, zombie movies, even some cartoons and video games. What are they missing?
MIRA: I am a media omnivore. I read almost constantly, and when I’m not reading, I’m probably listening to music or watching something. I think the biggest influences on the Newsflesh world were probably George Romero, The West Wing, Transmetropolitan, and The Hot Zone, which was really the book that made me realize that other people wanted to read about viruses as much as I wanted to write about them. Vaguely anti-social interests suddenly relevant!
SEANAN: What references do you think people are most likely to get?
MIRA: All Shaun’s passwords, and a lot of the site security keys, are based very explicitly on specific horror movies. Kinda hard to miss.
SEANAN: What references do you think people are least likely to get?
MIRA: There’s a nod to The Care Bear Movie in Blackout. Nobody’s going to find it, but it’s there.
SEANAN: Ooooookay, you’re weird. Do you not consider all these references to be a little, well, in-jokey?
MIRA: Not if they’re not necessary to enjoy the story as a whole. The world we live in is a constant see of references, in-jokes, and subtle shibboleth. No one gets every possible joke the world throws at them. It’s like product placement. I drink Diet Dr Pepper, I use only Micron technical drawing pens, I prefer Dell laptops, I collect Monster High dolls. No one pays me to like these things. They’re just part of the normal background radiation of life. Trying to strip all the in-jokes and brand names doesn’t make something universal, it makes it unbelievable.
SEANAN: You collect dolls.
MIRA: Shut up. So do you.
SEANAN: Yeah, but I’m the good twin.
MIRA: Have you seen these dolls?
SEANAN: Um, moving on. You seem to know a lot about the end of the world as we know it. Do you feel fine?
MIRA: No. I’m frequently annoyed by what seems like willful ignorance of long-term impact because we’re focused on short-term gain. And the lack of modern respect for basic health and quarantine procedures makes me want to scream. But I reassure myself with the knowledge that I will survive to see the dead walk again, starving for the flesh and the souls of the living. I plan on getting popcorn and a sniper rifle, and enjoying the view through my scope.
SEANAN: You are a scary, scary woman.
MIRA: I view haunted houses as a form of therapy.
SEANAN: So this may be a silly question, since you’re scaring the crap out of me, but why Mira Grant? Why did I need you?
MIRA: Oh, sweetie. My sweet little Halloweentown Disney Princess feeding cookies to the monster in your closet. Why did you need me? Because no one was ever going to believe you had this in you.
SEANAN: I thought it was a matter of distinguishing the hard science and gore of your books from the magic and pop culture humor of mine. Sort of the whole Disney/Touchstone divide.
MIRA: Yeah, that, too.
SEANAN: Thanks for talking with me today. I think park security is on their way over, so it’s probably time to end this interview.
MIRA: And here I was so enjoying your company.
Ready for more fun? Head on over to Facebook and read FED – an alternate ending to FEED. Not a Facebook user? Don’t worry, you won’t have to wait too much longer. FED will be available to everyone tomorrow.