I’ve received a few early submissions for the Zombies in the Agora project; they have been very well-written, but they lack the requisite historical detail. One seemed very much to me like an existing fantasy tale that had some of the fantasy elements sanitized, replaced by non-specific historical references.
That’s not what I’m looking for. That sort of tale will be returned with a polite “thanks-but-no-thanks”, regardless of the level of polish reflected in the prose.
So, what DO I want? Can I toss out some examples? Of course. I want Steven Pressfield’s GATES OF FIRE . . . with zombies. I want Steven Saylor’s ROMAN BLOOD . . . with zombies. I want Mika Waltari’s THE EGYPTIAN . . . with zombies. In other words: top-notch historical prose, with culture and time period evident from the first paragraph, that’s been married with a single speculative concept: the dead walk once more. HOW you get the dead to rise is up to you, but I’m not interested in tales with D&D-style necromancy or sorcery, overt visits from the gods, or standard fantasy tropes like world-conquering necromancers. Give me the folklore of the walking dead: Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian; from the far Orient or from our Native American ancestors. Give me something akin to David Drake’s “The Mantichore” or “Black Iron” (set in the appropriate time-frame for this anthology). Do that and I will love you forever.