About ‘On The Third Day’

Posted: January 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I spent a lot of time at university studying the middle ages. Between that and the period’s long tradition as the fantasy baseline, a tradition going back at least to Tolkien, it’s inevitable that I turn to that period a lot when writing. But that’s not where this story comes from.

A few years ago I saw a painting in the National Gallery in London, taking the theme of judgement day, a common feature of medieval painting, and giving it a modern context. Here were the dead rising from the tomb in a quiet, twentieth century English village, ready to be judged. It drew my attention to the contrast between modern and medieval takes on the rising dead. To our ancestors, this would happen when God came calling them to him. It was a time of judgement, but it was a good thing, a godly. For us, it’s usually the zombie apocalypse, a story of horror and desperation. Similar image, very different meaning.

That’s where ‘On The Third Day’ came from. From taking the contrast I felt looking at that painting and flipping it around. Because if you’re comforted by the thought of the walking dead, then you’re really not ready for the zombies.

As a small aside, Mulbarton is a real village in Norfolk, near where I grew up. I have no desire to see it consumed by the walking dead, it’s just a name that for me conjures up the image of a country village. To the best of my knowledge, it’s never been attacked by zombies. Yet.

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