Notes on… “The Midnight Empire”

The Perennial Miss Wildthyme, edited by the totally awesome Dale Smith, included my short story “The Midnight Empire”. Featuring Iris and Panda in the what I hope was a twist on the zombie / undead genre, I loved this story and the opportunity to write something of longer length.

  • “The Midnight Empire” started way back in the early 2000’s as a proposal for Telos Publishing’s short-lived Doctor Who novella range. Aside from the core idea of “temporal zombies”, the final story bears little resemblance to the original. Besides, the range folded before I had a chance to pitch it. Funny side note: I did pitch a different novella, Visionary, which only exists now in the form of the very nice rejection letter from “Debbie”. I can’t find any notes, outlines, or even remember a little bit of what the story was about. Getting old sucks.
  • The paragraph about “multiversal resets” and the implication of Iris being aware of them was planting seeds for a project I was hoping to pitch but never went anywhere.
  • “Esperanto” is a constructed language that a friend of mine was obsessed with as a kid, and it seemed like the perfect spot to reference it.
  • “Nakht” means “the strong one”.
  • The character “Marco” was modeled on editor Marco Palmieri.
  • I thought Panda leaving Nakht behind would garner some negative reactions. Not a peep. Probably the delivery, which was intended to be ridiculous and funny (at least I like to tell myself that, shhhhh).
  • There is an overarching story in the collection, and thankfully “The Midnight Empire” required little modification to fit into it aside from a requested addition late in the story.
  • The reference to Clara near the end was, 100% honest, not a Doctor Who reference. I think I messed up and wanted it to be a Lost reference by referring to Claire, but, uh, oops?

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