It took me about 75 minutes to write a short story for Fifty Shades of Decay. It’s not because I’m a mutant whose superpower is wordsmithing huge volumes of work in nanoseconds. It’s because I was already thinking about how sexual relations would change during a zombie apocalypse.
Yeah, I’m weird that way.
If a survivor had a relatively secure location, would they abandon it for something that was vague, such as a large group of folks who had been through hell and picked up lots of firearms on the way back? Toss in the fast type of zombies instead of shamblers, and you’d have a lot to consider.
Sex is a powerful motivator, and I was weighing the battle between a sexual drive versus hiding out just trying not to get eaten by the old nosy lady who lived down the hall. Eventually it would come to a head (sorry), and someone would have to make a decision on the spot. If the zombie apocalypse happened today, I’d be glad I’m a grey-haired old coot instead of an attractive woman. With the breakdown of civilization, women would have a doubly-tough time fighting off both living and undead predators. As we’ve seen in the Walking Dead, men sure can be dumb-asses, and we will become one at the most inopportune time. Good thing women are smart enough to realize the dangers and make sure they aim carefully for a headshot from their AK-47.
My protagonist is a flawed person holed up in a Brooklyn brownstone. He’s reflecting on what he’s going to do. He has enough water and food to last a good while, but is it worth the effort? I wanted him to recall how he acted like a jerk to his old girlfriend and to come to terms with what he did before the world fell apart.
I also wanted his girlfriend to come back and give him a bit of his own medicine.
I’m a fan of strong women in fiction who are not dudes with boobs. Strong women are sexy as hell, and capable of handling almost any situation coming along without getting caught up in muscle-flexing, testosterone-spewing drivel. I find that the tough women are the ones who look beyond saving their own asses at the expense of others.
Thankfully, I was able to make my “zombie” more like an alpha female, and through her actions remind the protagonist that there’s a bit more to a relationship besides getting notches on bedposts.
I was surprised and humbled when the editors chose my story to open the anthology to set the tone. Not bad for 75 minutes of writing time and many hours of unplanned planning.
Guy Anthony De Marco is a nocturnal Bram Stoker Award® nominated speculative fiction author living in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Guy is a member of SFWA, IAMTW, SFPA, HWA, ASCAP, RMFW, NCW, and hopes to collect the rest of the alphabet one day.
Additional information can be found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Anthony_De_Marco and GuyAnthonyDeMarco.com, or at numerous conventions throughout the year, where he appears on dozens of panels.
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