So I’m wrangling with the first of my own projects (as opposed to the day job projects, which I don’t choose, but are chosen for me) that’s set in contemporary America. Los Angeles in particular. And you wouldn’t think it, but there’s a lot of weird obstacles when you’re doing that, that I haven’t had to deal with, set in fantastic or futuristic settings, as I’d done previously.
I guess the big issue is that this project is really about contemporary society, through the lens of some distinctly genre stuff that’s going on. But when I start lining up the events/things/places/people that really resonate with people right now, I’m reminded of that first five or ten minutes of IRON MAN where Tony Stark makes jokes about MAXIM models and MySpace pages and all those things just stick out to me. That’s to me, mind you. I guess that my kids hear those names as just another old joke like the ones in THE SIMPSONS that I throw out asides about, something to explain why that reference is funny. Was kinda hoping that it wouldn’t turn into that in just six years after I’d finished whatever this actually became. Even worse is the fact that this is something that’s been chewing on my brains for several years now.
A long enough time to see the window of opportunity for the genre label for this thing (yes, zombies) open and close. Granted, it’s not actually zombies, but you could see ’em from there, at least in the first book. Then there’s the whole issue of zombies having become a cultural thing that everyone and their sister won’t shut up about now. Kinda feel like I need to acknowledge that reality, but man, there’s nothing worse than bringing up another cultural product as a reference point in the middle of your own work. The comparison becomes inevitable and toxic, so I’ll have to figure out some sleight of hand for that one.