In 2017 zombie fans across the globe lost an icon with the tragic passing of George A. Romero and now one of his final works is about to see the light of the day. Romero was working on a novel titled ‘The Living Dead‘ when he died, and now it has been completed by Daniel Kraus. The book is set to be released on June 9th, 2020, and the cover and a synopsis were shared thanks to Bloody-Disgusting, and an excerpt can be read by zombie fans everywhere which Entertainment Weekly was able to reveal!
First up, here is the lengthy synopsis for the upcoming novel which will help to follow what we’re reading in the excerpt:
On October 24th, John Doe rises from the dead. Assistant Medical Examiner Luis Acocella and his assistant Charlene Rutkowksi are vivisecting him when it happens, and so begins a global nightmare beyond comprehension.
Greer Morgan is a teenager living in a trailer park, and when the dead begin their assault, the true natures of her neighbors are revealed. Chuck Chaplin is a pretty-boy cable-news anchor, and the plague brings sudden purpose to his empty life.
Karl Nishimura is the helmsman of the U.S.S. Vindicator, a nuclear submarine, and he battles against a complete zombie takeover of his city upon the sea. And meanwhile, a mysterious woman named Etta Hoffmann records the progress of the epidemic from a bunker in D.C., as well as the broken dreams and stubborn hopes of a nation not ready to give up.
Spread across three separate time periods and combining Romero’s biting social commentary with Kraus’s gift for the beautiful and grotesque, the book rockets forward as the zombie plague explodes, endures, and finally, in a shocking final act, begins to radically change.
As to the excerpt, it is going to take a bit longer to read and seems to focus on the section that will have to do with the U.S.S. Vindicator:
Hustle was expected aboard a carrier, even demanded, but never had Jenny moved so fast, dancing over the rounded partitions at the bases of the watertight doors and clutching pipes to swing around corners. Hazily she noted this as proof of mastery, but felt no pride. She’d left Father Bill, who, despite the way he’d clutched her knee, was a frail, unarmed old man, while she was a fit fighter pilot with a pistol. But the Psych had shown up, and he was young and strong. Meanwhile, all that silence from the flight deck? The flight deck was where she had expertise and might truly help.
She did not kid herself. The guilt that had built all night, without the analgesic of sleep, had swelled like a goiter. Her bolting failures pushed her from the chapel, past the fan rooms, up the ladder, and along the avionics shop. Here might be a chance to right wrongs, to help people instead of put them at risk.
The chamber adjacent to the deckhandler room was aswarm with sailors, some rushing for the deck, some retreating from it with stunned faces. Jenny pinballed off their bodies, her flight suit buffering impacts, and burst outside. The rain hit her like a net; it caught and tangled her, and by the time she regained her balance, she was soaked, her curly hair pounded as straight as the flight helmet she’d left in the chapel, never to be seen again.
It was another sign of how thoroughly she knew every inch of her quarter-mile-long workplace that, when she booted something aside, she knew it wasn’t supposed to be there. She watched the object spin and come to rest.
A man’s head, sheared from its neck like a ham.
Jenny kept moving. To stop might be to never move again, so she focused not on the rainwater pooling in the head’s mouth and eye sockets, but on her brown shoes, the shoes she deserved—she had to convince herself of that, and fast. She looked up and took in a chaos unknown to even the most apocalyptic of training videos. Was the rain was to blame? Were the clouds pregnant with Russian or North Korean toxins? The candy-colored jerseys and float coats were scrambled, far from their usual positions. There was only one reason for that: an FOD walk.
For a few seconds, she convinced herself it was true, that she was again witnessing her favorite ritual. The debris here, however, was far more significant. A slot seal from one of the catapults, ripped free like loose intestine. A refueling cable lay unattached, like an aorta snipped from its ventricle. Glass from the Datum Lights lay in colored shatters, bad news for landing pilots. A bomb cart of three AMRAAM missiles was just sitting there in the open, unsecured, a violation beyond belief.
Then there was the other debris. The decapitated head. A boot sprouting half a man’s calf. A fire helmet filled with a stew of blood, skull, and brain. The deck was wet, as it often was, but not just with water, oil, and jet fuel. There were puddles of red liquid everywhere; white-eyed sailors stomped right through them.
The asphalt trembled as ship whistles blasted: man overboard. Jenny looked around, wet hair whipping her cheeks, and saw two deck crew gesturing toward the water. The whistles blasted again, six more times: man overboard. Turning, Jenny saw a sailor hurling a ChemLight after a fallen comrade. Then again, and again, six whistles, six whistles: man overboard, man overboard—dear God, men were throwing themselves off the boat.
Jenny had seen fights like this in Detroit, hand-to-hand, fist to flesh. This was Navy versus Navy, the cracking open of the simmering animosity beneath every military unit, if not every gathering in America. No U.S. military machine was more protected than an aircraft carrier, Jenny knew, but she also knew those protections faced outward. Here was the carrier’s Achilles’ heel, an attack from inside.
Father Bill’s description of golems echoed through her bones.
“One day, golems would turn on Their creators, learn how to build more of their own kind, and use their overwhelming numbers to cleanse the Earth of evil.”
Jenny grunted away her fear and charged into the rain. Again her hand touched the butt of her pistol only to draw away. There were missiles here, external fuel tanks, scattering sailors—too dangerous. That must be why she heard no other pilots firing. The only other armed souls aboard were the small contingent of Marines, but who knew where they were. There were plenty of weapons locked and guarded in the ship’s magazine, of course, but Jenny had no clue how quickly those arms could be mobilized—especially if the eyes of those guarding them had gone white.
As to why Romero was making this as a novel instead of a film, co-author Karus had previously shared, “It’s a massively scaled story, a real epic, the kind no one ever gave him the budget for in film. In a book, of course, there is no budget, and in his pages, you can feel his joy of being able, at last, to do every single thing he wanted.”
Are you excited to be able to finally read ‘The Living Dead’? From the description and brief excerpt do you think there is any chance that we could see this one day created as a major motion picture? Share your thoughts in the comments below!