Take Five with Peter Clines, Author, ‘Ex-Patriots’


Peter Clines is the contributor for this week’s Take Five, a regular series where we ask authors and editors to share five facts about their latest books. Clines is the author of Ex-Patriots, available now:

It’s been two years since the plague of ex-humans decimated mankind. Two years since the superheroes St. George, Cerberus, Zzzap, and Stealth gathered Los Angeles’s survivors behind the walls of their fortress, the Mount.

Since then, the heroes have been fighting to give the Mount’s citizens hope, and something like a real life. But now supplies are growing scarce, the zombies are pressing in . . . and the heroes are wondering how much longer they can hold out.

Then hope arrives in the form of a surviving US Army battalion–and not just any battalion. The men and women of the Army’s Project Krypton survived the outbreak because they are super-soldiers, created before mankind’s fall to be better, stronger, faster than normal humans–and their secure base in Arizona beckons as a much needed refuge for the beleaguered heroes and their charges.

But a dark secret lies at the heart of Project Krypton, and those behind it wield an awesome and terrifying power.

Peter Clines:

1) In any good zombie story, eventually the military shows up. In almost all of them, though, the military element we’re shown is either deserters or they’ve gone crazy in one way or another. In Ex-Patriots, I wanted to give the Army some respect and show that most of the people in the American military wouldn’t go AWOL at the first sign of trouble. So the military here are actually the good guys, trying to do the right thing to the best of their abilities and training.

2) I used Bruce Springsteen’s “Radio Nowhere” as a joke early in the story. If anyone knows the lyrics to the song, it’s even funnier in context. Well, I think it is, anyway…

3) I tried to keep the source of most of the heroes’ powers a bit vague and more in the style of classic superhero origin stories (which are often a bit cheesy). That being said, Ex-Patriots has a huge hint at how Zzzap got his powers (and his name) but to date I don’t think anyone’s figured it out. Or if they have, they haven’t mentioned it to me.

4) Dr. Sorensen, the mad scientist behind Project Krypton, is a small homage to Professor Sorensen, the mad scientist in the classic Doctor Who story “Planet of Evil.”

5) When I wrote Ex-Patriots, I was in the lucky position of knowing I was guaranteed a third book. So a few threads are left hanging and a few things were set up. Most folks probably won’t even realize some things were setups until they read Ex-Communication.