Buy The End Has Come, edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey

Buy The End Has Come, edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey

In collaboration with editors John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey, A Dribble of Ink is proud to introduce a series of interviews with the authors of The End Has Come, the final volume in the The Apocalypse Triptych. Following on The End is Nigh, and The End Is Here, The End Has Come contains 23 stories about life after the apocalypse.

Interview with David Wellington about “Agent Neutralized”

(Interview by Jude Griffin)

What was the seed for “Agent Neutralized” How does it relate to your book “Positive”?

The novel takes place twenty years after the end of the world, after the “Crisis.” The three stories I’ve contributed to the Apocalypse Triptych add some context to the novel. They set up a minor plot point in the book, and originally it was all supposed to be a kind of in-joke. As I started writing them, though, I found that the character of Whitman had his own tragic arc, and I just wanted to tell more of his story. I felt like I owed him that.

Why are zombies so compelling for us as a society? Why now especially?

You know, I’ve heard a lot of theories and I’ve come up with several of my own but these days I think the zombie is just a blank slate. It’s a monster you can project just about any fear onto—anxieties about what terrorism has done to society, anxieties about consumerism, the simplest fear of all, which is fear of other people. I don’t know if they really are specifically compelling to this time period. If you go back and look for them, there have been zombie movies made every year since 1968, when Night of the Living Dead came out. Zombies are just that versatile.

The Bob details were the most heart-wrenching for me–did you walk a line about showing too much suffering, being too graphic?

I walk that line with everything I write. You want people to feel the horror, you want them to get that dread. There comes a point though where it becomes overwhelming, and then it isn’t entertaining anymore. If you push a horror story too far I think it just ends up being sad. The reader stops identifying with the character and just feels pity for them, and that’s a tough emotion to work with as a writer. Especially when the character is a child, you run a real risk of coming off like you’re the monster yourself. Like everything in writing, it’s a question of choices.

Which post-apocalyptic story/ies left the greatest impression on you?

I grew up obsessed with the idea of nuclear war. It might seem absurd to younger readers now but there was a time when it seemed inevitable, that we had created this thing, this world-ending machine, and that we just weren’t going to be able to stop ourselves from pressing the red button. I pored over many a tome of nuclear catastrophe as a child, like On the Beach and Alas, Babylon, and of course (as this story clearly shows) the Mad Max movies. The funny thing was back then our apocalypse fiction served to make it look like maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Sure, the crops would all fail and life would be hard, but you got to wear crazy clothes and roar around the desert in dune buggies covered in spikes and baby doll heads. There is a very strange kind of nostalgia for old armageddons, sort of the dark twin for the nostalgia we all feel now for the naïvely optimistic futures of old science fiction.

Any projects/news you want to tell us about?

By the time you read this, will be wrapping up—a writing contest I ran in the style of a reality show. That was an enormous amount of fun, and I’m hoping to make it a yearly thing. Of course, we’ve already talked about Positive, but I hope everyone will check it out—if you liked my stories in the Triptych, I can pretty much guarantee that Positive will be right up your street!


About David Wellington

David Wellington is the author of the Monster Island trilogy of zombie novels, the 13 Bullets series of vampire books, and most recently the Jim Chapel thrillers Chimera and The Hydra Protocol.“Agent Unknown” (The End is Nigh) and “Agent Isolated” are prequels to Positive, his forthcoming zombie epic. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

About the anthology

Famine. Death. War. Pestilence. These are the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse, of the End of the World. In science fiction, the end is triggered by less figurative means: nuclear holocaust, biological warfare/pandemic, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm.

But before any catastrophe, there are people who see it coming. During, there are heroes who fight against it. And after, there are the survivors who persevere and try to rebuild.

Edited by acclaimed anthologist John Joseph Adams and bestselling author Hugh Howey, The Apocalypse Triptych is a series of three anthologies of apocalyptic fiction. The End Is Nigh focuses on life before the apocalypse. The End is Now turns its attention to life during the apocalypse. And The End Has Come focuses on life after the apocalypse.

Buy the book

The End Has Come is available as a trade paperback or eBook.