Pandemic! Zombie Plagues and Titanic

We’re excited to have Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon, authors of Deck Z: The Titanic, guest posting on the blog this week. Their fast-paced thriller imagines the historical events of the fateful Titanic voyage through the lens of zombie mayhem. Read on for their post, and let us know what you fear more: zombies or cruise ships for a chance to win a copy of the book. One winner will be randomly selected on October 30. Open to US residents only.

One of the challenges of populating an actual event (like the sinking of the RMS Titanic) with fantastical creatures (like zombies) is creating a reality in which both history and fantasy can plausibly exist. As we discovered while researching Deck Z: The Titanic, history provided just such a scenario.

Zombies, after all, are victims of a disease, a monster virus that’s spread when the infected take a bite of healthy human flesh.

Was there an actual monstrous virus making the rounds in 1912? Unfortunately, there was—a major bubonic plague pandemic swept through China in the years leading up to Titanic’s launch, ultimately killing more than 12 million people. A look at the plague’s unfortunate victims—terrible oozing sores, bleeding wounds, blackened rashes on the nose, lips and fingers—would look eerily familiar to viewers of today’s zombie movies.

To make matters worse, there were multiple strains of the plague, making development of treatments and cures difficult. For example, in 1910-1911, an especially contagious version was taking its toll on Manchuria. It’s here where Deck Z’s scientist Theodor Weiss discovers that the plague virus might not be done mutating.

The monsters in Deck Z: The Titanic are victims of just such a deviation. And as anyone who’s been on an airplane with a coughing passenger can tell you, enclosed spaces with no place to escape make excellent breeding grounds for sickness.

Of course, when the infected are intent on spreading the disease, as you’ll read in Deck Z: The Titanic, the situation goes from bad to unimaginably worse faster than you can say “unsinkable.”

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