Zookhunting

So, I said that I’d talk. What is Zookland about? First, I’m calling it Zook Country as I market it in the U.S. I’m probably wrong, but somehow Zookland edges too close to both Zombieland, and Zoolander. Neither of these titles raise issues in Germany, but I didn’t want my potential audience thinking that it was a comedy set in Post Apocalyptica, or a story about male supermodels who can’t turn left (Zoolander was funny, IMO, but might it have been better with zombies?).

The world has changed in the last five years as bite delivered metamorphic plague swept the planet. Victims become rabid non-sentient zooks, immensely strong and faster than a normal person can see. They have high body temperatures and energetic metabolisms, and they heal from most injuries as quickly as receive them. Shoot one in the heart, it barely has time to fall down before the heart is operating again, so it gets up and tries to eat you. Zooks have their own form of ESP, which makes them almost impossible to trap or kill with area suppression weapons, especially since they run very close to human enclaves. About the only thing that will kill them is silver, which acts as a catalyst and causes them to burn. Those zooks that survive for eight months metamorphose into non-corporeal ghasten, who live in collectives, can kill with energy discharges, and sometimes create rifts in the fabric of reality. Entire cities have vanished into these rifts. Fully a third of humanity has died, but we are fighting back, and the population is almost stable at approximately the 1976 level.

Jake Chestnut is a Kent, Washington, based zook hunter, one of less than 1% of humanity with the innate ability, ESP, reflexes, and willingness to shoot where the zook will be next. Zook hunters are charged with hunting down and killing plague victims. Battle scarred men and women like Jake have been on the front line with no reprieve for five years, and the survivors have developed an esprit de corps similar to the camaraderie and gallows humor of the WWI officer’s club. Jake and Gary Landon, ex-army, are partners in Seraglio, an independent zook hunting firm. Both of them lost their families to metamorphic plague during the first acknowledged outbreaks. Seraglio works closely with the Gonzaga institute, one of many organizations searching for ways to end metamorphic plague.

While working a contract to clear the zooks from a first of its kind resort community/safe enclave for the very wealthy, the partners uncover a conspiracy to take over the U.S. through corruption and terror techniques developed during experiments on intentionally infected zooks. Somebody in the consortium that hired Seraglio tries to kill them in an orchestrated zook attack. Gary is badly injured, and Jake must build a large zook hunting team overnight in order to complete the contract, seek revenge against their attackers, and find out how zooks are being motivated to attack specific targets. It’s probably the worst possible time to fall in love.

That’s probably enough for now.

Oh, and I’m exhausted because we have six new puppies in the house, and Danika the wonder mother dog is making me sleep next to the whelping box at night, in case of burglars, I guess.

Bill