Against all better judgment, I like Z Nation

So, I’ve been watching the Sci Fi Channel’s new show Z Nation,* and I’m actually enjoying it.

I mean, yes, this is from Asylum Studios, which has mostly been making direct-to-video low budget movies.  This show has slightly more budget than their usual crap, but still is low-budget compared to something like the walking dead.

The show is set three years into yet another zombie apocalypse, as a small band of survivors meet a man who is seemingly immune to the zombie virus just outside of New York City.  They take on the task of getting him to the last known surviving lab, in California, when his existing protection dies.

The show has its share of depressing stuff, and also a fair share of corny nonsense and low-budget moments, but it also has something that The Walking Dead doesn’t: it has hope.

The characters on Z Nation aren’t just waiting to die, and scrambling to survive in a world with no hope.  They’ve got a chance at a cure, and even if that doesn’t pan out, they have (so far as I’ve gotten into the episodes) a sense that if they stick together, and do what’s right, they’ll be better off.

Don’t get me wrong, I love The Walking Dead.  But it sometimes gets to me, how little hope they have, in a world where survival is the best they can hope for.  In real life, that group would be dour and horrible to travel with.  I’d much rather travel with the people of Z Nation, who can be badass but also find humor in their situation, who can bond with other human beings and recognize the dangers of the zombies and of other survivors, but also feel hope and happiness even as they’re killing zombies.

And this doesn’t make the show a total lightfest, either–just after my first draft of this went live, I watched my favorite character die.  Stupid zombie shows.

It’s just got more light.  So I’ll keep watching.  And I’ll keep watching TWD, too, but for different reasons.  There’s room in my brain for both kinds of stories.

*I refuse to call it Syfy, and the show isn’t, strictly speaking, new, because it just arrived on Netflix.  I think it began in September 2014.

VP Novel First Draft: DONE

Yep.  I did it.

Not the first novel-length thing I’ve done, but certainly the first that has ANY chance of being seen by other people.  Lots of work remains before that point, however.  I need a revision pass, then beta readers, and then another revision pass.  Then I’ll consider submitting it to agents.

This may not be the novel to get my career started, but I’m going to give it a shot.

I owe thanks to my Viable Paradise instructors, who enkindled in me the confidence to work on this novel with purpose, and not just fart around with it every once in a while, as I did before VP.

I owe thanks to my fellow students of Viable Paradise 17, who have steadfastly encouraged me and commiserated with me over the last year or so.  I realize I have a tendency toward the dramatic, but it is no exaggeration that without their encouragement, I may well have given up the very idea of being a writer over the past year, as I have so many times before.

Let this serve as encouragement to friends and other fellow writers who might be thinking of applying to VP: It’s well worth the money.  All in all, the week at VP cost me about $2000, between airfare, my room cost, and tuition.  And it was worth every single penny, and more beside, because not only did I get a chance to hobnob with people whose writing I’ve adored for years, but I got encouraging advice and critique from editors who are near, if not at, the top of their field, but I met 23 people who will be friends for years to come.

Viable Paradise 19 will be held 18-23 October, 2015.  Applications are accepted until 15 June 2015.  Go to for details.