|The TL/DR Synopsis||Synopsis: A new horror short fiction collection, Stille! Untoten!, includes my story “Les Poupeés Gris.”
Links to: The book and the previous volume in the series.
Some time ago I saw a call for submissions for a short story collection to be entitled Raus! Untoten!
The project had a sweet kind of pulp magazine appeal: Nazis and zombies together in one story. As I noted in a previous post (“What Could Be Worse Than The Undead?“), this combination isn’t entirely novel:
That particular crossover isn’t new of course. From older movies like 1977’s Shock Waves to newer ones like 2009’s Dead Snow to games like Call of Duty: World at War – Zombies, zombies and Nazis have crossed paths before, with decidedly mixed results.
That said, it seemed to me that the publishers were looking for stuff that was a cut above. Your story could have all the trashy appeal of an old issue of Weird Tales, but in terms of quality you wanted to aim somewhere around the Paris Review.
I’m a fan of pulp magazines (as well as stuff that isn’t really pulp but that has a similar lineage and ambiance, like EC horror comics), so the proposal had a natural appeal for me.
I wrote a story called “Les Poupeés Gris,” about the interruption of the D-Day invasion by French zombies bent on killing soldiers on both sides, resulting in a serious alteration of the history from the end of the Second World War right up to the present day.
I finished writing the story on June 6, 2013, which was the 69th anniversary of the landings at Normandy. The story itself ends on June 6, 2014, a date which just passed a few months ago, the 70th anniversary of the invasion–but of course it concludes on that day in an alternate history.
In that 2014, the Allies never re-took continental Europe, France remains an administrative zone of the Third Reich, and a modernized version of the USSR is led by a man with a bright smile, a Twitter feed, and a Dutch wife, who is still plotting the belated defeat of the Axis powers.In the world of the story, independent zombie traditions from Africa and Europe met in colonial Haiti when it was under French rule, forming a new, potent mix. But the original European zombie persists. In France it’s called a poupeé gris–a grey puppet–referencing its ghoulish skin tone and the fact that, like a puppet, it’s an artificial person created and controlled by a human being. It is these poupeés gris who stand between the 21st century Soviet Union and the defeat of its long-time German rival.
The publishers decided to make Raus! Untoten! a multi-volume series, and “Les Poupeés Gris” was accepted for the second volume. On Halloween 2013 volume one was released. Just a couple of days ago volume two, called Stille! Untoten!, finally became available, and “Les Poupeés Gris” is the story that opens the book.
To get your copy, in paperback or e-book format, click your preferred link below. Buy one now, before I eat your brain!