Tag Archives: For those In Peril On The Sea

‘The Outbreak’ – New Post-apocalyptic Survival Thriller From Colin M. Drysdale Out Today

21 Jul

The Outbreak Cover DesignThe Outbreak is the follow-up to the award-winning For Those In Peril On The Sea by Colin M. Drysdale, and is the second book in the For Those In Peril series of novels set in the same post-apocalyptic world. It is now available as a paperback and as a Kindle eBook. A PDF preview of the first three chapters is available here.

Starting in Glasgow, The Outbreak weaves its tale of post-apocalyptic survival into the varied landscapes and cultures of western Scotland, ranging from bustling city streets to remote island communities. It evocatively uses real locations, on both land and at sea, to create atmospheric depictions of the trials faced by those trying to survive as their world falls apart around them.

While The Outbreak follows a new set of characters as they struggle to survive in a world which is rapidly falling to the Haitian Rabies Virus, the characters from the first two books in this series will finally be brought together in the third on in the series when their story lines finally collide (due for publication in the summer of 2015).

While not a true sequel to the first book, The Outbreak is set in the same world and expands the new and unusual take on the traditional take on the post-apocalyptic genre first introduced in by Colin M. Drysdale in his debut novel For Those In Peril On The Sea.

From The Back Of The Book:

He was only in the city to meet an old friend, but within hours of his return, Ben’s running for his life …

As the world watches in horror, Miami falls to the infected, and with it America. Britain seals its borders, hoping to prevent the newly mutated Haitian Rabies Virus reaching its shores, but it’s too late; somewhere in Glasgow is the man who started it all and coursing through his veins is the virus he accidentally created. When he finally turns, the city doesn’t stand a chance.

Minutes later, a small group of survivors find themselves trapped between the ever-increasing hordes of infected and the soldiers seeking to contain them. The roads are barricaded, the skies patrolled, and the only way out is the river which leads from the heart of the city to the safety of the sea.

Join Ben, Tom, Daz, Claire and Sophie as they flee from the infected, first by land, then by sea. Where will they go? How will they survive? Only time will tell.

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‘The Outbreak’: The Follow-Up To ‘For Those In Peril On The Sea’ Available From 21st July 2014

23 May

The Outbreak Cover Design

The Outbreak Cover Design

I received the edited and proof-read copy of my next novel, The Outbreak, from my editor (thanks Gale) earlier this week, and I spent yesterday and this morning going through all her edits (so I can avoid making the same mistakes in the future!) and dealing with her comments. This meant that by the lunchtime today, and after something like 18 months and 14 drafts, I had what is the final version of manuscript. This has now been sent off to create the galley proofs which will be independently read through by four or five people to catch any remaining typos before it will be ready for publication.

This means I’m finally in the home stretch for releasing what will be the second book in the For Those In Peril series, and I can finally announce the publication date, which will be the 21st of July 2014. This will be the date that both the paperback and the Kindle ebook will be released and so will be available for purchase. However, I should have advance copies which I will be sending out to potential reviewers and bookshops around the 21st of June. Once I know the exact date, I’ll be running a competition on this blog to giveaway some signed, advanced copies, so if you are interested in reading this book before its general release, watch this space.

While this book is set in the same post-apocalyptic world as For Those In Peril On The Sea, it features a new set of characters and explores what it’s like to be in a city as the Haitian Rabies Virus rips through it. Temporally, The Outbreak runs in parallel with the first part of For Those In Peril On The Sea and provides a different perspective on what is happening in this fictitious world. While I know many will be champing at the bit to find out what happens next to the characters in the first book, I felt I needed to tell this story before I could do that. This is because the characters in For Those In Peril On The Sea and The Outbreak will come together in the third book when their story lines finally collide.

To give you an idea of what The Outbreak is all about, here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

He was only in the city to meet an old friend, but within hours of his return, Ben’s running for his life …

As the world watches in horror, Miami falls to the infected, and with it America. Britain seals its borders hoping to prevent the newly-mutated Haitian Rabies Virus reaching its shores, but it’s too late. Somewhere in Glasgow is the man who started it all and coursing through his veins is the virus he accidentally created. When he finally turns, the city doesn’t stand a chance.

Minutes later, a small group of survivors find themselves trapped between the ever-increasing hordes of infected and the soldiers seeking to contain them. The roads are barricaded, the skies patrolled, and the only way out is the river which the leads from the heart of the city to the safety of the sea.

About The Author: In his debut novel, For Those In Peril On The Sea, Colin M. Drysdale focussed on four strangers thrown together by chance on a small boat with no hope of ever returning to land. In this, the second book in the For Those In Peril series, and starting in his native Glasgow, he explores how another group of survivors reacts as their world falls apart around them.

Now this book is finally out of the way, I’m starting to turn my attention to the third book in the series. This has the working title of The Island At The End Of The World, and I’m looking forward to revisiting Rob, CJ and the others from the first book, and seeing what happens to them when they finally reach their intended destination (if you’ve read For Those In Peril On The Sea, you’ll know where I’m meaning). I’m also looking forward to working with the characters from the second book again too. In fact, there’s a couple of the characters from this second book which I’ve really become quite attached to, and I really want to find out what they’re going to do next.

As well as starting work on the third book, the next couple of months will be spent creating a companion website for The Outbreak, doing some publicity and running a few promotions here and there so it will be a busy time. It doesn’t help that I’m also rolling out some merchandise for the For Those In Peril series which will consist of t shirts, hoodies and other clothing based on some custom designs I’ve been creating over the few weeks (the first ‘proofs’ of these designs arrived in the mail today and look great!), but more of that later.


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

‘For Those In Peril On The Sea’ Wins A Gold Medal In The Next Generation Indie Book Awards

8 May

The now award-winning 'For Those In Peril On The Sea';

The now award-winning ‘For Those In Peril On The Sea’

No sooner had I posted yesterday’s article about the importance of book awards for independently published books, inspired by this article on the San Francisco Book Review blog, than I received some rather exciting news. This was that my debut novel, For Those In Peril On The Sea, had been selected as a gold medal winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

I’d entered this competition on a bit of a whim last summer and, having sent my book off, had pretty much forgotten about it. Then out of the blue in February, I got an email saying that they’d lost my entry and could I send a PDF copy as a replacement. I hummed and hawed about this because I’m always wary about sending out unprotected electronic copies of books in case they somehow end up getting posted online, but I decided I’d do it anyway. As it happened, there were a few missed typos in the original first edition I submitted, and it was actually quite good to have the opportunity to send in a new version where these had been corrected.

So, I sent in the new copy, as requested, and promptly forgot about it again, that was until yesterday when I got an email which looked, from the subject, very much like spam. Now, I’ll be the first to say I’m a bit weird because while I usually delete spam straight away, if it looks like it’s some new scam, I’ll open and read it just to see what’s going on. This is in part so that I can deal with the phone calls I occasionally get from my mum asking whether a request from a bank to follow a link and enter her password is real or not. Despite the fact I always tell her never to click on any links in emails supposedly from banks, I still get the phone calls from time to time so I like to keep up with whatever new trick the spammers have started doing.

Anyway, just out of curiosity about the latest scam, I opened what I thought was a spam email to be greeted by the following text:

‘Hello,

‘I am writing with some fabulous news! Your book has been named the Winner in the FIRST NOVEL (Over 80,000 words) category of the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Congratulations!’

I had to read it a couple of times before the news finally sank it, but needless to say I was both amazed and delighted. As someone who grew up being told by their teachers at school (especially my English teachers) that I couldn’t write anything properly, I still bear some of the psychological scars, and it took me a long time to realise that proper writing isn’t about getting the grammar exactly right, or spelling things perfectly, but rather that it’s about being able to craft a compelling story (after all, editors are there to sort out any of the boring bits you might have missed!). Now, many years after I left school, it’s nice to get some recognition for a skill I was always told I lacked, but that I knew was buried somewhere deep inside me. It just took several decades to finally uncover it.

Anyway, I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank all those who helped make For Those In Peril On The Sea the success it has been so far. This includes Stephen, Michele, Gregor, Barry, Jennifer, Emily, my editor Gale Winskill, and of course my long-suffering girlfriend, Sarah, who has to put up with my ongoing zombie obsession on a daily basis, as well as reading through early drafts of all my work and providing editorial advice.

For those of you who are interested to see what happens next in the world of For Those In Peril On The Sea, the follow-up book (The Outbreak) is scheduled to be published towards the end of July of this year. While it follows a new cast of characters, it builds the overall story so that the people in both books can finally be brought together in the third book in the series. I’ll post more about this in a few weeks time, including how you can have the opportunity to win a preview copy so you can read it before anyone else gets the chance, once I have a definite publication date.


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

‘For Those In Peril On The Sea’ Selected As Finalist In The Horror Genre For Foreword’s ‘Book Of The Year Award’

13 Mar

Some of you will remember that when it was first published, For Those In Peril On The Sea was selected as a finalist in the Winter 2013 Foreword Firsts book competition for first time novelists run by Foreword Review.

Well, For Those In Peril On The Sea has now also been selected as a finalist in the horror genre for the even more prestigious Foreword’s 2013 Book of the Year Award.

This award is for books not published by the ‘big six’ publishing houses, and aims to recognise excellence in independent publishing. As always, it’s good to see the zombie genre represented within the finalists for the horror genre.

The winners within each genre, and overall across all books entered will be announced sometime in May, with a celebration of the winners taking take place during the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas on Friday, June 27 at 6 p.m., with awards in over 60 categories, cash prizes for the best in fiction and nonfiction, and widespread recognition.


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more.

To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here. To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

The Difficult Second Book – Part II

31 Aug

Last November I posted an article about the difficulties of writing your second book. That was when I was just starting it. Now, 9 months later, and about 6 months behind my intended schedule, I’ve finally finished the first draft and passed it on to the Lady With The Big Red Pen (a.k.a. my long-suffering girlfriend) to go through with a fine-toothed comb, picking up the problems, pointing out where the plot doesn’t really work, marking where the characters are a bit flat and the dialogue doesn’t really work.

There’s two times in the writing a book when I find getting some outside editing advice is most vital. The first is right at the end, just before submission or publication to catch all those little grammatical errors and typos, and is fairly obvious, but the second is less so. This is when the first draft has been completed. This is because this is the time when it’s easiest to fix any problems with the plots and characters; and there will always be problems with these aspects of a book in the first draft. If you don’t get these sorted early, you may find yourself having to throw away chunks of text you’ve spent hours honing to perfection simply because you’ve got rid of a specific plot line or character and they are no longer needed and that’s just soul-destroying. It’s so much better if you can shake all the problems with the plot and characters when the text is, quite frankly, still a bit of a mess (and this is true of all first drafts).

So, I’ve printed out all 86,184 words which make up my first draft and will wait with bated breath while my girlfriend reads it, red pen in hand. I know there’ll be some bits she likes, and I know there’ll bits she won’t. I’m okay with that because these will often be the very bits I struggled with myself and that I know don’t really work, and she’ll be able to tell me where I’ve gone wrong and what I need to do to fix it. In many cases, the problems and solutions will be obvious the moment she points them out, but without her input I’d have difficultly spotting them because I’m too close to the book – after all it is my baby.

Once her thoughts are in, it will be on with the next stage, because finishing the first draft isn’t the end, it’s not even the beginning of the end, it’s only the end of the beginning. This bit will be the editing, where I’ll start tightening up the plot lines and clipping away at the extraneous descriptions; new set pieces will be added where the first draft is a bit slow and events mentioned in passing will be expanded to fill out the story line; dialogue will be pruned and polished; characters will be fleshed out and made more real (some may even get a sex change if that’s what’s needed to make them work). At some stage the title might even get changed because I’m not too sure I like the working title I’ve given it so far (which is, incidentally, On The Edge Of The World). By then my 86,000 words will probably have grown somewhere closer to 100,000 and it will be time to move onto the next stage: running it passed my handful of specially-selected readers to get their thoughts, before the final session of editing and re-writing.

So, all in all, there’s still a long way to go, but with the first draft now, after many months longer than I intended, out of the way, I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere with this second book. There’s still bits I’m not entirely happy with, but there are others where I feel it’s coming together nicely. I can finally see that I have something which I think will work and which will be a worthy follow-up to For Those In Peril On The Sea. Happy days!


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

The Science Behind The Infected From ‘For Those In Peril On The Sea’

5 Aug

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an article outlining the rules of the world where my book For Those In Peril On The Sea is set. In this article, I want to consider the real science behind the violent and cannibalistic humans I refer to as the infected which inhabit this world. You might think that the infected are purely fictional but they aren’t. Instead, their existence is based on three key premises for the virus which creates them, all of which are more or less consistent with modern scientific knowledge.

The first of these is the disease we call rabies or hydrophobia. While rabies is not a common disease in many western countries, in other parts of the world it is still widespread and kills around 50,000 people each year. Until a vaccine was created in 1885, rabies was pretty much one hundred percent fatal. While a small number of people were reported to have survived before the introduction of the vaccine, these remain unsubstantiated. Since the invention of a vaccine, if someone thinks they have been bitten by a rabid animal and receives it before they start to show any symptoms it is usually sufficient to ward it off. However, if the first symptoms have started to appear (meaning the virus has reached the brain), then the disease remains fatal in almost all cases. Most of those who have survived have been given an intensive treatment known as the Milwaukee Protocol. This protocol requires a dedicated medical team, and involves putting the person into a chemically-induced coma while they are given anti-viral drugs. This treatment is still experimental, and only six people have been cured with it.

Rabies itself is a pretty terrible and terrifying disease, especially in the final stages. People with it thrash around in anger and rage, trying to attack anyone who comes near them. Such patients have to be restrained to prevent them injuring themselves or those around them. The virus that causes it spreads almost exclusively through bites. This is because it can be found in large amounts in saliva, which is produced in vast quantities, causing those infected to froth at the mouth. When a rabid animal bites someone and breaks the skin, saliva gets into the wound and takes the infection with it, so passing it on. Unlike most infections, rabies does not travel through the blood-stream. Instead, it slowly and inexorable makes its way along the peripheral nerves towards the brain. Once there, it gradually spreads until it has taken over. The rate of spread along the nerves is very measured and time between being bitten and the infection reaching the brain is dictated by the distance between wound and the head, meaning the further the original bite is from the head, the longer it will take to develop symptoms. As yet there have been no confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission, but it is theoretically possible. The most likely reason that such transmissions do not occur more frequently may be due to the fact that human teeth are poorly adapted for biting through the skin of others.

The second premise behind the Haitian Rabies Virus (as the disease is called in For Those In Peril On The Sea) is a technology known as small interfering RNA, or siRNA. Since it was only invented in the late 1990s, this is a relatively new technique in the tool kit of molecular biologists. Yet, it is one which holds a lot of potential. The siRNA approach involves creating a short piece of RNA that has been specifically designed to attach itself to a DNA sequence in an organism’s genome. When this happens, that specific stretch of DNA can no longer be read by the body’s own mechanisms and so any genes that it is a part of cannot be expressed. While this is primarily used to work out the function of specific genes, it is also thought to potentially have therapeutic effects. In particular, it is thought that it could be used to create vaccines for viral diseases that are otherwise untreatable. This is because it can be used to ‘knock out’ key genes within the virus. This has been shown to work in a ‘proof of concept’ trial that created a post-exposure vaccine that has been shown to cure 100% of non-human primates infected with the most lethal strain of the Ebola virus. However, possible therapeutic uses of siRNA are hindered by a number of potential problems. In particular, siRNA can sometimes attach itself to the wrong sections of DNA, so silencing non-target genes and this can have unintended consequences.

The final premise is the role of drug trials in the development of new pharmaceuticals. All drugs must be shown to be effective against a specific disease or condition, and also to have sufficiently few, minor, or at least acceptable side effects before they will be granted a licence. While these are meant to be done in carefully-controlled trials, there are regular charges and rumours of drug trials not being conducted properly. Worse, it has been alleged that western pharmaceutical companies have conducted illegal trials in areas such as India or Africa, often using untested drugs on people who have not or cannot provide their full consent.

Even when drug trials are set up and run properly and legally, things can go unexpectedly, and horribly, wrong. In particular, in phase one trials, the first on humans, drugs that worked perfectly well in animal models can be found to have very different, and sometimes potentially fatal, effects. In one well-known case, six people who received a new drug designed to modulate the immune system experienced catastrophic and systematic organ failure caused by an immune response known as a cytokine storm. While the men eventually recovered, it is likely all suffered permanent damage to their bodies.

In For Those In Peril On The Sea, these three premises are combined to create the perfect storm. An siRNA-based vaccine is created against the rabies virus which is meant to weaken it to the point where the normal human immune response can clear it from the body (this is effectively the basis for the Milwaukee Protocol where anti-viral drugs aim to boost the immune system to the point where it can eliminate the virus). This vaccine is found to work well in animal trials, but in the rush to get the drug to market, so that it can be monetised, someone in the company developing it decides to run a phase one trial not in the confines of a western hospital, but in an illegal trial in a developing county (in this case Haiti). This means that when the vaccine starts to show unexpected effects, there’s no way to control it.

The scenario behind these unexpected effects is that the strain of the rabies virus found in Haiti is subtly different from the one the vaccine has been tested on in the lab. The slightly different gene sequence means that the siRNA vaccine latches onto the wrong part of the virus’s genome. When the virus attempts to deal with this attack by re-organising its genome, it results in a series of mutations. This causes the virus to dramatically speed up the time it takes to reach and infect peoples’ brains, taking minutes or hours rather than the days or weeks that would be the case with the real rabies virus. This is achieved by the mutated virus being able to carried in the blood and being able to pass through the blood-brain barrier to take over the brain rather than having to crawl slowly along nerves. The mutations also makes the virus less lethal, so it no longer kills people, but no less ferocious in its effects on their brains. This means people infected with it are left in the crazed and violent pre-terminal phase of rabies for the rest of their lives.

Therefore, while I hoped that this scenario never comes to pass, from a scientific perspective it remains feasible, at least in principle.

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This article first appeared on http://www.forthoseinperil.net/The_Science_Bit.htm.


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

The Rules For The Post-Apocalyptic World Of ‘For Those In Peril On The Sea’

24 Jul

I read a blog post by another author (Kaine Andrews) recently where he specifically posted the rules for the fictional world of his book, and I liked the idea so I thought I’d do the same for the post-apocalyptic world of For Those In Peril On The Sea. So without further ado, these are the basic rules under which it operates:

1. In general, the world of For Those In Peril On The Sea is the real world, only with a mutant virus in it that creates the infected (zombie-like humans infected with the virus). As a result, all usual rule of the real world apply. This means if somethings is physically impossible in the real world, it’s also impossible in the world of For Those In Peril On The Sea, so no leaping tall buildings in a single bound or being able to pop off perfect head shots when you’ve never even held a gun before. Really the main differences are the specific rules for the virus and the infected. These dictate important issues relating to how the virus spreads, the course of the infection, what the infected are and are not capable of, and how they can be killed, and are provided below.

2. The mutated rabies virus which creates the infected is passed from person to person through bodily fluids. This includes things like blood and saliva. It can only be passed if the skin is broken and some bodily fluid from an infected get onto it. It cannot be passed on by swallowing bodily fluids (it would be destroyed by stomach acid – unless a person had something like an ulcer which could let it into the bloodstream before this happened), nor can be passed on through contact with mucosal linings of the body (this means things like breathing it in, or it getting in your eyes), unless this is already damaged (such as might be the case for the nasal passages of regular users of drugs such as cocaine). While the most usual route of infection is from a bite, there are other possibilities. If the infected have bodily fluids on their hands or under their nails, something as simple as a scratch which breaks the skin would be enough. Similarly, if a person has an existing open wound and bodily fluids from an infected get into it, this would be enough to pass the infection on. Finally, like many viruses, the Haitian rabies virus (HRV) is capable of surviving for some time outside of the body. Therefore, it is possible that the infection could be passed on if a person cuts themselves on something that has dried bodily fluids on it, such as a machete that has been used to kill an infected.

3. Unlike the real rabies virus, the HRV version in this world only affects humans. It cannot infect any other animals, and cannot be passed on by them.

4. When someone is infected, there is a period between then and when they will turn. This period can vary in length from a few seconds to up to twenty-four hours. There is no survival, unturned, after infection for more than this time. Most people infected will turn within the first few minutes. This latency rate (the gap between becoming infected and showing symptoms – or in this case turning into an infected) is determined by an interplay between three factors: how much of the virus a person was exposed to; where on the body the person was infected; the strength of the person’s own immune response. A person exposed to a large viral load (i.e. through a lot of body fluid getting into a wound), that is wounded on the head, neck or torso and that has a poor immune response (e.g. a child or an elderly person) will turn almost immediately. A person exposed to a small viral load (e.g. just a few drops of bodily fluids), on a peripheral part of their body (e.g. fingers or toes) and that has a good immune response (e.g. a young, healthy adult) would have the best chance of surviving the full twenty-four hours.

5. Once someone is dead, they remain dead. This means there’s no re-animation of corpses in this world. In this sense, the infected are not true zombies, just zombie-like creatures; this means that if a person is injured badly enough by infected attacking them, they will die through the usual processes of shock and blood loss and most people attacked by infected will die rather than become infected. There are exceptions to this though. If someone is attacked by a single infected, they have a chance of fighting it off. Similarly, if there are infected attacking a large crowd, they may go into an attack frenzy, meaning that they get distracted by all the people running around them. This can mean that attacks on individual people are short and non-fatal as the infected is drawn to other people running away before it finishes any one attack. This attack frenzy is the main way that a lot of people can become infected at once, and can create hordes or swarms of infected in a very short space of time which can over-run all before them.

6. The infected are just humans with a disease. This means that they can only be capable of what the human body is capable of. However, since they are single-minded in their pursuit of the uninfected and don’t feel pain or empathy they can operate at the maximum capacity of the human body. This means that they can run faster and appear stronger than you might think a human might be capable of, much in the way that an athlete on steroids would, but these abilities are not super-human.

7. As stated in rule 6, the infected are just humans with a disease. This means that they will be killed by anything that would kill a human (a shot to the head, being stabbed in the heart, being run over by a car, drowning in water etc). However, since they don’t feel any pain, they might not be slowed by less lethal injuries that would have normal people rolling around screaming (so don’t try kicking a male infected in the groin in a bid to get away, he won’t notice – even if you do it hard enough to do certain things serious damage!).

8. With rabies comes a fear of water, that’s why one of its other names is hydrophobia. In the world of For Those In Peril On The Sea, this is less of a fear and more of a reluctance to enter water unless they know it is shallow enough to easily get through (i.e. nothing deeper than a couple of feet at the very most) and if they can sense that some uninfected human are near that they are compelled to attack.

9. The infected retain no consciousness, they are simply operating on innate instincts. This means they can’t work out how to get round any obstacle which requires any kind of thought. For example, to get through a door, they can push it open (if it swings that way) or break through it, but they can’t work out how to turn a handle to open it, or indeed work out if they need to pull rather than push. They can scramble over things, but they can’t climb. Similarly, while they can run (an innate human instinct), they can’t swim (a learned behaviour).

10. If infected fall into the water, they will usually drown because they cannot swim (see rule 9). This makes the water much safer than land. However, this is not always the case. If an infected falls into the water but finds something that floats that it can grab onto, it can survive for long periods of time. Similarly, if they are in a life raft or on a floating object, they can survive. The same applies if they are wearing a flotation device of some kind, like a buoyancy aid. Such infected as known as drifters and form a major threat to those living on water in the world of For Those In Peril On The Sea.

11. When uninfected humans are not near, infected people enter a form of stasis which uses very little energy. This means that they can survive for very long periods on very little food. Like a cold-blooded animal, one meal might be enough to see them through many months. However, they cannot survive on no food and will eventually starve to death if they don’t eat. Infected primarily like to eat non-infected humans, even if they have been long dead. They will also catch and kill animals like cats, dogs and birds if they are really in need of food. Whether they will attack and eat each other rather than die from starvation is not clear (i.e. I haven’t decided on this yet!), and it might be that some infected become cannibalistic on their own kind to survive times when there is nothing else to eat.

12. Infected sense uninfected humans through their usual senses, however the range of these is somewhat diminished. Eye sight seems limited to detecting movements and distances of up to 500 yards, but no further. Noise it detectable over a similar range. Smell would operate over a few tens of feet and means that they can tell if uninfected people are within structures such as buildings or cars. This means that you can avoid encounters with infected by keeping sufficiently far away from them. Of course, this isn’t always possible.

So these are the basic rules for the post-apocalyptic world of For Those In Peril On The Sea, and how my particular ‘zombies’ operate within it. They are a relatively simple set of rules but, taken together, I think they make an interesting world to set tales of human survival after the collapse of civilisation, and particularly one based around survival on boats because of the reluctance of the infected to enter water, their inability to swim and the existence of drifters.


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.