IDW Publishing continues expanding its prose publishing activities with a two-month-long “e-singles” promotion featuring all-new stories set in the gleefully gory Zombies Vs. Robots universe. The property was first published in 2006 as a two-issue mini-series from the creative team of artist Ashley Wood and writer/editor Chris Ryall. Helpless to resist ZVR’s rowdy mix of clunky, wise-cracking robots trying to stem the zombie apocalypse (the fault of clumsy scientists), with the remnants of mankind caught in the middle. There have been multiple ZVR miniseries, and in 2010, Sony Pictures optioned the film rights for Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company.
Beginning on January 20, IDW will digitally release one new ZVR prose story each week for eight weeks.
“We’re calling this our ‘8×8’ plan,” explains Jeff Conner, the IDW contributing editor responsible for the ZVR prose line. “Each week, from January 20 to March 9, we’ll debut a new short story torn from the festering jaws of the shambling, clanking world that is Zombies Vs. Robots. And these all-new tales will be a tasty $0.99 each — it’s our New Year’s gift to the brain-eating reading public.”
“Pammi Shaw: Creator of Gods and Also Blogger” is the first 8×8 offering, and comes from the multi-talented actress/writer Brea Grant (Heroes, Dexter, Halloween II). Told via blog entries, her story extends the recent Zombies vs. Robots: Undercity comic book miniseries, which introduced readers to the young blogger from India, and ended with the members of an elite subterranean enclave underneath the Washington Monument being wiped out by ravenous zombies — or so we are led to believe.
“I wanted to put someone in one of the most difficult places possible by ripping away her community, family, and everything she knows, leaving her with her own thoughts,” states Grant, whose writing credits include the IDW comics We Will Bury You and Suicide Girls. “I wanted this person to deal with religion, love, gods and sanity all alone, separated from the raging violence outside. And who better to put in that position than a jaded, flippant teenage blogger named Pammi?”
“We’re quite committed to e-singles,” Conner noted. “They’re such an effective way to present our scintillating shambling dead vs. gun-crazed warbot content. Going exclusively digital with 8×8 was, as we say around IDW, a no-brainer. For sure we’ll be doing more digital-only promotions as the year unfolds.”
Debuting weekly starting on January 20, 2012, the ZVR e-singles will be available on the Kindle, Nook and in iBooks. The full 8×8 schedule is:
Brea Grant – “Pammi Shaw: Creator of Gods and Also Blogger” (1/20/12)
UnderCity’s lone survivor continues her blog and meets (creates?) a digital deity with its own ideas about fighting the zombie apocalypse. Brea Grant is sometimes a writer (We Will Bury You; Suicide Girls), sometimes an actress (Heroes; Dexter; Halloween 2) and all-the-time a nice person. She is currently directing her first film.
Steve Rasnic Tem – “To Denver (with Hiram Battling Zombies)” (1/27/12)
What happens when high-test chronic is tainted with potent zombie blood? Will it be a high to die for? Multiple award-winning author Steve Rasnic Tem has published over 300 short stories in the areas of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. His latest novel is Deadfall Hotel.
Nancy A. Collins – “Angus: Zombie-Versus-Robot Fighter” (2/03/12)
A young man is trained by his scientist father to fight zombies, robot-style. What could go wrong? Nancy A. Collins is the author of numerous novels and short stories, including the best-sellingSunglasses After Dark, and was a writer for DC Comics’ Swamp Thing. She is a recipient of the Bram Stoker and British Fantasy Awards, and has been nominated for the World Fantasy, Eisner & International Horror Guild awards. Left Hand Magic, the newest installment in the acclaimed Golgotham series, is now available.
Nick Mamatas – “Throckmorton’s Bad Day” (2/10/12)
Years before the zombie apocalypse, an enterprising and amoral young college student (later to become “Dr. Throckmorton in the ZVR comics) tests experimental street drugs on the local users. The results will have unforeseen consequences for his future self. Nick Mamatas is the author of several unusual novels, including The Damned Highway with Brian Keene, and The Last Weekend. His short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s SF, Long Island Noir and many other magazines and anthologies.
Amber Benson – “Mademoiselle Consuela and Her Army of One” (2/17/12)
Like a princess locked in a tower, Consuela lives on a secluded island with only her loyal warbot for company. Then the pirates come… Amber Benson is an actor, filmmaker, novelist and amateur occultist who sings in the shower. Best known for her work as Tara Maclay on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, she is also the author of the Calliope Reaper-Jones series and the co-director (with Adam Busch) of the feature film, Drones.
Don Webb – “The Wizards vs. the Bots” (2/24/12)
Can black magic control zombies? What about warbots? Don Webb has 20 published books ranging from the nonfiction occult classic Uncle Setnakt’s Nightbook to the best weird west book, Webb’s Weird Wild West.
Kaaron Warren – “The River of Memory” (3/02/12)
An Amazon goddess thinks she can restore humanity to zombies; a warbot has doubts. Kaaron Warren is an award-winning horror and science-fiction writer based in Australia. She has two short story collections and three novels in print.
Lincoln Crisler — “Kettletop’s Revisionary Plot” (3/09/12)
A distraught scientist travels back in time in a desperate attempt to save his wife and prevent the discovery of the deadly Z Virus. Lincoln Crisler is author, editor and reviewer as well as an active-duty soldier in the United States Army. His books include Magick & Misery and Wild. He is the editor of the dark-superhero anthology Corrupts Absolutely? He has served as a contributing writer for The Horror Library and Shroud Magazine.
Analog media fans needn’t worry that IDW’s new ZVR stories will only be available in e-pub formats. “We aren’t abandoning print in any way,” confirms Conner. “From the beginning we designed the ZVR prose program to have distinct identities for print and digital. So while it’s true that there will never be print incarnations of any of the 8×8 series themselves, we do have a full slate of ZVR collections and novellas in production on the print side; the ‘8×8’ stories will appear there, just in different contexts.”
The first print collection will be This Means War!, set to appear in March, 2012.