The Case for Jack Wallen


NOTE: This originally appeared on the site of the always amazing, Jay Wilburn.

by Jay Wilburn

Jack Wallen is a fixture in the Summer and Winter of Zombie blog tours. He is also a key player in the zombie genre with his I Zombie series and his ongoing stories in other venues as well. You can check out the case for post for him from last summer to read more. This article will talk about what he has going on new since then.

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Wallen does his best to push boundaries in his own creative work and for himself personally. He did something quite amazing with the zombie genre when he pulled several authors into the first Middletown Apocalypse anthology. He gave a basic story premise and characters. He had a starting and ending point for everyone. Each author took that premise and made it their own and in the process they showed the true potential of the zombie genre. He went at it again with Middletown II. Again, he took a shared premise and a shared character sketch. Every author then made it their own. He’s got something special for the genre going with this anthology series. Fans are responding for good reason.

Wallen has expressed that while he was writing the first in his ongoing series I Zombie I, he was still establishing his voice. In a way, that first book was the establishment of that voice that he is much more comfortable with now. As of Winter of Zombie 2016 with his featured book Buy Zombie Buy, he clearly knows who he is what he is seeking to say. As a reader of his series, I can say there is no second guessing in the forward motion of his series. Buy Zombie Buy is a testament of where he has come as a writer and what he is doing to stretch the zombie genre with his style.

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He’s been hinting in his series for a while that a new evolution and turn was coming in his story. It turns out that Buy Zombie Buy is the culmination of that coming shift and the result is exciting for fans of his work. After following his series for several books up to now, it becomes clear that he was following his instincts in this book and his instincts were right on. Everything in the series has been building to this and it is a great payoff. If you have not started his series before, you have a better reason than ever to jump in and trust it is going to a great place.

Outside the zombie genre, Wallen has recently released Punk Ass Punk. This book had an odd evolution. His wife had a pet name for him along the lines of this title. He joked about making it the title of a book. On his podcast, he discussed the fact that there are a million punk genres and there needed to be a punkpunk genre. He began the story thinking it would be time traveling dystopian lit, but it became a crime fiction piece that I think shows some of Wallen’s great skill as a storyteller. Check it out.

Wallen has always been pretty rebellious against every system he has come up against and he approaches writing with that same push. He’s always felt his directive as an artist was to be in a constant state of evolution himself, but also to influence the evolution of the art form and the craft of the written word in which he was engaged. He pushes against the preconceived boundaries of genre and writes what he feels the universe is telling him to write. He believes this approach leads to the best and most important work he is capable of producing and I believe his writing bears witness to this truth.

I hope I have made the case for Jack Wallen. Check out anything he has written, but definitely start his signature I Zombie series and move into Buy Zombie Buy featured in this year’s Winter of Zombie tour.

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