From Z-Burbia to Dead Mech to Fighting Iron: The Progression Of The Jake Bible Fiction Apocalypse
A long time ago, in an office far, far away, a novel called Dead Mech was begun…
Okay, it was 2008, so not that log ago. And the office is in downtown Asheville, or was, which is only a ten minute drive from my house. I was being hyperbolic with that opening sentence. I was going for an attention grabber. Did it grab ya? Did it grab your attention?
So, a strange thing has happened to my fiction. At least to a good many of my novels published by Severed Press. Without ever truly planning it, I have created a universe that stretches from the first Z-Burbia novel to one of my latest scifi novels, Fighting Iron. How? Well, keep reading and I will tell you how it all came together.
When I first wrote Z-Burbia, I expected it to be a completely separate world from the zombie apocalypse that is already history in Dead Mech. Z-Burbia was a series that should never have been able to fit with the narrative presented in Dead Mech. From what was told in DM, the zombies came about in totally different ways. The histories didn’t match.
Except I noticed a nice nugget of storytelling that allowed them to match. Or specifically allowed them not to match and yet fight together perfectly. You see, the prologue in DM makes it very clear that history has been tampered with. That the “truth” is relative and solely controlled by those that tell it. What should be a solid background to how the zombie apocalypse happened, quickly becomes propaganda when the reader realizes that maybe, just maybe, what they have been told isn’t exactly how it went down.
I also noticed I had a way to incorporate that misdirection in the Z-Burbia series. By the third book, it becomes very apparent that the survivors in Asheville, NC are part of something way bigger than their little mountain valley. It becomes obvious that major players are moving pieces on a board that the Stanfords and everyone else didn’t even know they were on.
Bam, continuity achieved!
How does this fit with Fighting Iron, which is a far-future mech western that doesn’t have a zombie in sight? Well, I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’m not going to go into detail. What I am going to do is talk a little about the element that binds everything together then give y’all a handy-dandy list of the novels in their chronological order.
What is the element that binds them? The Stronghold. Some of you may have noticed that already, but for others that are hopping in here and there, it may not be so obvious. The Stronghold is mentioned in the Z-Burbia novels, and becomes a major part of the characters’ journey by the end of Estate of the Dead. It is also a pretty important factor in the Apex Trilogy (Dead Mech, The Americans, Metal & Ash). And don’t get me started on Dead Team Alpha! Those two novels are nothing but the Stronghold!
A sanctuary, a place where military ethos becomes the foundation for the survivors’ new society, the Stronghold stands as the thread that runs through all of the novels. It may not be mentioned in Fighting Iron, but there are plenty more of those novels to come, so be patient. It will show up eventually.
Once I realized that I could tie everything together by using a specific place, it suddenly opened up the entire geography of the long narrative. I realized there were so many stories that could be told, about all kinds of different subjects, if I just moved the timeline along. Want to change what the landscape looks like? Just add a couple hundred years and viola! Need to tweak the history of something? Add another massive continental war! The victors control how history is remembered and maybe those victors aren’t exactly being honest. Feel like switching up the genre completely? Add a few more hundred years and take out the zombies (maybe)!
Time and the Stronghold. Those are my secrets to how a good portion of my novels became part of one long timeline. What is that timeline? I’m glad you asked! Below you will find a list of the novels, from first to last, and how they all fit together. The absolute great thing is that a reader can hop in at any point and not get lost. Want to start with DTA instead of DM? go for it! Only want to read Z-Burbia? No problem! Each series stands on its own yet is easily connected to the others. It’s been kind of fun to write and watch it all unfold.
So check out the timeline and if you have missed some of these gems then maybe grab one up and dive in. It’s almost like you are a genre archeologist. Almost. Okay, maybe not. Oh, shut up and read the timeline.
Books 1-6- The story of the Stanford family and their fellow survivors as they deal with the recent zombie apocalypse.
Books 7-?- The story of Elsbeth and her “sisters” and how they handle life out in the wasteland while the Stronghold is being built.
Dead Team Alpha series:
Books 1 & 2- A hundred years after what happens in Z-Burbia. The Stronghold is built and thrives as a culture and sanctuary that is structured like a military organization. There might be a major connection with a certain character from the Z-Burbia books.
The Apex Trilogy:
Dead Mech– Hundreds of years after Dead Team Alpha, where society has rebuilt itself with the help of fifty-foot tall battle mechs. Still a ton of zombies. A ton. And some of them are in the mechs! Bam!
The Americans– Sidequel to Dead Mech. It tells the story of what is happening in the rest of the world, not just North America. Still, there be zombies, but they are not your Romero zombies!
Metal & Ash– The coming together of the storylines of Dead Mech and The Americans. Epic conclusion to the trilogy.
Fighting Iron– Hundreds of years after the Apex Trilogy, Fighting Iron is all about the mechs. Are there zombies? Mmmmm, maybe. But they may not show up for a couple books in this series. Like I said, this is all about the mechs. And it’s a western! I kid you not, people, it is a full on, totally awesome western!
Other possible series? Yes. There is a lot of time where people are in the Stronghold itself. That needs to be told. There is also a huge gap between the Apex Trilogy and Fighting Iron. I don’t just mean the Bloody Conflict, but how civilization got to the point of basically going back to cowboys and ranchers, land barons and outlaws. All that good stuff. I have plans. You’ll see.
There it is, y’all. The timeline from Z-Burbia to Fighting Iron. Now, how does this relate to my other novels? It doesn’t. I could probably tie in Salvage Merc One since that takes place thousands and thousands of years later, but no need to go there.
Hope this helps. If you have questions, well, read some of the novels you haven’t read and see if they answer those questions. If not, then I guess I better get back to writing so all is revealed!
Posted on April 4, 2016, in Novels, What's Up.... and tagged apocalypse, fiction, genre, horror, Jake Bible, mech, science fiction, scifi, undead, writing, zombie, zombies. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.