by Jay Wilburn
I have spoken at length about my respect for the Middletown anthology series that is the brain child of Jack Wallen. He had the idea of establishing a story premise. It was not a shared world, but rather was a shared premise. The town, a character, the outbreak, the starting point, and the ending point were given to a group of established zombie authors. The result was something amazing. Each story proved to be a unique creation even within these parameters which proved the great, untapped potential in the genre. Wallen managed to elevate the zombie genre in this first anthology in a way that had not really been done before. It gave something special to the readers and it demanded something more out of the genre by proving that more was possible.
So now comes Middletown II. Again, we are looking at a shared premise rather than a shared universe. It is a concept sequel rather than a direct sequel. Readers of the first anthology can enjoy it, but so can a zombie fan picking this one up first. The premise is that this is the building in Midtown New York City where the virus which was accidentally released in Middletown, Indiana was developed. As they try to hide the evidence, the virus is accidentally released in the building. There are shared characters including the CEO and others. Where that story goes and what those characters become is up to each writer. Again, Wallen sets out to prove that so much more is possible in what would normally be thought of as the “same old zombie story” told many different ways.
This second anthology in the Middletown series will be coming out later this year as the last few stories are completed. It promises great things just like the first anthology delivered. Fans responded and many copies were read as word of Middletown spread through the community of genre fans. I predict Middletown II will not leave fans disappointed. Keep an eye out for this great anthology to come soon. Check out the first Middletown Apocalypse anthology while you are waiting.