Ever wonder how Seattle might have turned out if, say for example, it was inhabited by zombies, werewolves and vampires? Or what if, perhaps, in the late 1800s a virulent gas that turned people into flesh-hungry undead monsters was released in an accident caused by an enormous digging machine? Answers to such ponderings abound as countless authors are turning Seattle into the supernatural capital of the literature world.
Not for the faint-of-heart, Battle of the Network Zombies by Mark Henry tells of a present-day Seattle that is inhabited by ordinary humans (also known as “meat”) and supernatural beings of all sorts. Amanda Feral, flashy fame-seeking zombie, is in a financial crisis. She owes a large sum of money to the reapers—beings who provide medical services for the supernatural, look like young schoolgirls, and are as nasty as hellspawn—and her advertising business is about to go belly up. Oh, she’s also been attacked by an irritable yeti and dumped by her werewolf boyfriend. Other than that, everything is fine.
When Amanda is offered a role on a reality TV show, she sees it as an opportunity to gain clients and revenue for her struggling business. And when the host of the show is apparently murdered, well, what’s a zombie to do? She takes over the show, turning it into a hunt for the murderer! Sure to offend everyone (and I do mean everyone) at some point, this chick-lit-of-the-dead cum whodunit is a fast-paced, flippant journey into the nasty netherworld that lurks beneath the shiny bright sheen of the Emerald City.
In Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, Briar Wilkes’ Seattle is not a happy place. Sixteen years ago the Boneshaker, a colossal machine designed to drill for gold in the frozen Klondike, ran amok below Seattle unleashing a toxic fog which turned people into ravenous undead monstrosities. In an effort to stop the spread of this blight, a massive wall is built around downtown Seattle. Leviticus Blue, the Boneshaker’s creator, is blamed for the disaster.
Now it’s 1880 and Briar, Blue’s widow, and her son Zeke, are simply trying to make ends meet. But her exhausting job at the water purification plant pays little, and her husband’s legacy continues to bring unwanted infamy. When Zeke, longing to clear his father’s name, sneaks into the walled city with little more than a vague notion and a gun he doesn’t know how to use, tragedy seems certain to follow. Flesh-hungry “rotters,” humans of varying ethical persuasions, and an evil inventor (who is eerily similar to Zeke’s allegedly dead father) all wait within the walls. It’s up to Briar to rescue Zeke while keeping herself alive.
This alternate history delivers heroes, demons, cool gadgetry and copious nail-biting in a slick steampunk package. Picture Here Come the Brides being remade as Here Come the Zombies.
Other alternate Seattles worth checking out can be found in the following titles:
- Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series features a supernatural P.I.
- Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark side of the moon from her Dark-Hunter series, filled with vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal investigations, is set in Seattle.
- C.E. Murphy’s Walker Papers series tells of a cop with shamanistic powers who investigates supernatural crimes.
- Jonathan Raban’s Surveillance shows a not-too-distant future where civil liberties are in retreat.
- In Greg Cox’s Welcome to Promise City, a deadly virus in Seattle kills 9,000 and overturns the government.