I just turned in a novella to Kelly Lockhart titled “Up On the Roof,” for an anthology he’s editing based on John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising series. For those of you not familiar with the series, it’s John’s take on the zombie apocalypse theme. What I did in my story was depict how people might survive a zombie apocalypse in my neighborhood, using characters modeled (loosely—there’s no direct one-to-one relationship) on my own neighbors and people I encounter regularly whenever I go out of the house.

The characters, as is true of the part of the country where I live (which is northwest Indiana), are predominantly working class and racially mixed. So my characters are industrial workers, some retired and some active, a waitress and a restaurant manager, a cop and his daughter, a security guard at a casino and his wife who works in a factory making cardboard containers, etc. They are armed in the way in which blue collar civilians in the US usually are, but they are not survivalists or gun nuts and while some of them have military experience they are not a military unit of any kind.

Their survival depends partly on weapons but mostly on being smart and decisive—and being willing to help others. Insofar as I have a beef with apocalypse stories, it’s that they tend to grossly underestimate the survival value of being cooperative and behaving decently to people and tend to grossly overestimate the extent to which a dog-eat-dog mindset would really help you very much in a real catastrophe. I should make clear, by the way, that that’s not a criticism of John Ringo’s novels in the series. John’s actually very good on this subject, which is part of the reason I enjoyed the series.

John Scalzi is also writing a story for the anthology. I’m not sure who else is. Sarah Hoyt started to, but I gather that her story wound up being so long that they’re probably going to publish it as a separate volume.

And now I’m hurrying back to work on The Gods of Sagittarius since I’ll be seeing my co-author Mike Resnick in a few days at Worldcon and he’ll start crabbing at me how come I haven’t finished the damn book yet… (he crabs pretty well, too)