A couple weeks ago, THE NEW FLESH sat down with Brian Barnett, author of the new book 'State of the Dark', to discuss an interesting way to eliminate ignorance, brains-on-a-stick, and a fear of Corey Haim's 80's hair. This is what we found out...
- - - - - BEGIN TRANSMISSION - - - - -TNF: You are trapped in a room made entirely of brick with no windows or doors. All you have in the room with you is a book of matches, a broken television set, a pair of toenail clippers, and a fistful of feathers. How do you plan to get out?
BB: Well, thanks to my vast knowledge of improvised weapons thanks to watching MacGyver and Barney reruns, I would simply build a makeshift hydraulic drill and just burrow through the wall.
If, of course, the matches were wet (see, you didn’t think that I planned for that, did you?), then I would merely build a crude version of a teleportation device that would remove the bricks one by one and then rearrange them until the bricks formed a narrow pathway. Then I would disrespect whoever trapped me in the room by trampling all over his former feeble obstruction. Really? Are all the questions going to be this simple?
TNF: BOOM! Zombie Apocalypse is here! What three items do you toss in your pack?
BB: Okay, since I’ve been planning this for a long time, I thought it would be rather simple. But since you’ve given me the option to carry two additional things aside from what I was planning to carry originally – the zombies will not have a chance against me.
1: I’ll pack my cell phone, which would be loaded with phone numbers of all my crash-dummy friends. Together we would band together and mow a wide path through the shambling hoards that get in our way. Because, you see, crash dummies can live without food or water, and thanks to their fleshless bodies, they would draw little attention from the zombies.
2: I’ll pack a brain on a stick. Yes, almost any brain should do. Once the car runs out of fuel due to the lack of operational gas stations, I will need a mode of transportation. I think if I am able to string a group of semi-able-bodied zombies together, I can use them as a team of sled dogs, of sorts. I’ll merely strap them to the front of my car and dangle the brain stick ahead of them. Of course since all zombies travel at a relatively slow pace, I don’t have to worry about any attacks from the rear or sides. Even if they get close, my loyal crash-dummies will fend them off with their hard plastic limbs. Of course even if we do wreck, my crash-dummy friends will be just fine. Assuming I get injured, they will be able to lend me any false limbs that I may need.
3: Jimbo. Jimbo will be the name of my sawed-off shotgun. It will be engraved on the barrel so that it will be the last thing those grimy zombie fingers will grasp onto. You cannot go through and survive a zombie apocalypse without some awesome shotgun to zombie head action. Seriously, that’s what it’s all about folks. Otherwise you’re just kidding yourself. If you don’t explode a few decaying heads, other survivors will just laugh at you. Nobody wants to be laughed at in a zombie apocalypse.
TNF: Of the stories in your upcoming book, 'State of the Dark', which is your favorite and why?
BB: That’s tough. But I guess Dia de Los Muertos. That story just sort of flowed out of me. It’s very short and I wrote it as I listened to the song that inspired it – “Mucho Reverbo” by the Wet-Tones. It’s a great song and I saw the imagery of the story perfectly because of it.
TNF: Draw a picture of the coolest weapon not yet invented and explain its functions.
BB: This is an idea that I’ve been kicking around for a while:
The whole idea behind it is that it would end ignorance. Someone who is truly ignorant to the core pushes it and they simply disappear. Ignorance leads to hatred and most of the world’s ills. Perhaps a fool-proof plan to bring an end to ignorant people is the way to go? That’s my idea anyway. Only a truly ignorant person would want to push an ominous red button that beckons him or her to push it, right?
TNF: were you traumatized by any horror stories/movies as a child? Let's discuss...
BB: Yes! I remember being absolutely terrified of the movie adaptation of Dean Koontz’s Watchers. I have vivid memories of two different scenes that still come very easily to me. One scene is where a female police officer is lying dead with her eyes hanging out of her head. And the other a scene where a kid’s bloody pair of glasses are on a trail in the woods after he is killed off-screen. Now, I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I saw it, I just remember that I was really young. I kept telling my dad that I wasn’t afraid of the movie even though I was thoroughly terrified. Plus Cory Haim had a terrible case of 80s hair in that movie. That never helps anything. Now whenever I watch it, it doesn’t scare me. However I still have that foreboding hint of fear that creeps up, reminding me of how much it did scare me when I was little.
As far as stories are concerned, I’d have to say Chickamauga by Ambrose Bierce. That was the first real gut-wrenching story that I ever read. It is a story set in the Civil War about a young boy who is playing soldier. He falls asleep in the woods, not noticing that enemy soldiers have passed through the woods near his house. I won’t spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t read it, but I warn you that the ending will tear you apart inside.
TNF: What five words best describe your new book, 'State of the Dark'?
Brian Barnett lives with his wife, Stephanie, and son, Michael, in Frankfort, Kentucky.
To date, he has published over fifty stories since he began publishing in November 2008. He has been accepted by over twenty-five publications, online and in print, including several anthologies.
He was co-editor of the anthology “Toe Tags: 21 Spine-Tingling Tales from the Best New Authors of Horror” with William Pauley III.
For up-to-date news on Brian: http://
Assuming if all goes according to plan, State of the Dark should be available for purchase in early March, perhaps the first week. I’m currently rewriting a middle-school aged novella titled “Graveyard Scavenger Hunt”. I hope to shop it around to some agents as soon as I feel that it is ready. I have a few stories coming out in various anthologies in the next few months. I am writing a brand new novella revolving around a prohibition era detective who suddenly finds that the world is not as “normal” as he once thought it was.
For any updates on any of my projects, you may visit my blog. I update it whenever I have any new news: http://
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