Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland

On Sale Now

October 4, 2016

The Beginning

Since this is the first installment, let me tell you a little about how Spill Zone came to be.

In 2004, a Ukrainian photojournalist named Elena Filatova (aka KiddofSpeed) blogged an account of her illicit motorcycle journeys through the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the area blighted by history’s worst nuclear accident. Her photos and writing were elegiac and apocalyptic, evoking the otherworldliness of the forsaken city of Pripyat. But once the posts went viral, certain discrepancies were noted, and Filatova admitted that her accounts were “more poetry than reality.”

In short, she might have taken a tour bus. You see, it’s pretty easy to get into the Exclusion Zone these days.

But the poetic version stuck with me—a woman on a motorcycle, a camera, an empty and dangerous world.

I’ve always been a sucker for tales about exploring broken, abandoned terrain. As a kid I was an “urban explorer,” though we didn’t have that term back then. I spelunked the buildings at my upstate New York college, and I’ve explored abandoned sites in and around NYC since. There’s nothing quite like the silent loneliness of a place that has been abandoned, restricted, and left to ruin. In these spaces, the usual rules don’t apply. It feels as if the laws of physics don’t either.

So what if they really were a slice of another world?

That’s what Spill Zone is about. The ways that disasters, canny or uncanny, change the spaces that they take place in. And the ways that we survivors become explorers of those ruined spaces, picking them apart with memories, stories, and art.

My heroine, Addison Merritt, isn’t just taking strange photographs. She’s rebuilding after the fall.

Working with me to make the world inside the Spill Zone alien and unsettling are artist Alex Puvilland (Templar, Prince of Persia) and colorist Hilary Sycamore (Battling Boy, The Shade). They’ve created a world that’s both alien and beautiful, and characters and settings that look like they belong in the hardscrabble upstate Zone towns that some downstaters still call “Tawana Brawley country.”

They’ve captured the feeling I first got from a line in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (S1E12), when Buffy sees a room of people killed by vampires: “When I walked in there, it . . . it wasn’t our world anymore. They made it theirs. And they had fun.”

We’ll be updating every Wednesday with six or so pages, and the finished book will be for sale in May 2017. I hope you come back for the rest.

Comments

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image of commenter, https://kaceykahn.wordpress.com/
https://kaceykahn.wordpress.com/
2 months ago

You could certainly see your skills within the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren't afraid to mention how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

image of commenter, Ian M
Ian M
3 months ago

If you are wondering "is Spill Zone worth reading?". The answer is YES!

image of commenter, Ioana
Ioana
7 months ago

Roadside picnic was on my mind too, and the movie The Stalker that Tarkovski made using that short story. Good job ????????????

image of commenter, Forest Rhodes
Forest Rhodes
8 months ago

Is this comic influenced by the short story Roadside Picnic? It was written by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky in 1971.

image of commenter, Poe Ducker
Poe Ducker
8 months ago

Back in the 50s, there was the Kyshtym disaster https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyshtym_disaster in which tons of radioactive waste in a storage tank exploded & contaminated the Eastern Urals in Russia. The USSR hushed up the accident & evacuated the area contaminated by radiation. The disaster gave rise to the Soviet SF movie STALKER https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalker_(1979_film).

image of commenter, Steffen
Steffen
9 months ago

It was great reading about KiddofSpeed's exploits back in the day. Your story reminds me about the decline of Detroit.

image of commenter, John Gillespie
John Gillespie
9 months ago

Found this on Boing Boing and really enjoyed the first install! Terrific!

image of commenter, daveSMASH
daveSMASH
9 months ago

Heard about this from Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction. Can't believe I missed it's announcement. Between the concept itself and that feeling Willow had in that episode of Buffy, I'm very excited.

image of commenter, Ruth Blailock
Ruth Blailock
9 months ago

Must...read...moooore!!!

image of commenter, Charles Potomac
Charles Potomac
9 months ago

Look forward to the next update! Pre-orering the book on Amazon, Great work. Really enjoyed what I read!

image of commenter, Larry MacDougall
Larry MacDougall
9 months ago

Only 6 pages in but it looks great so far. Will come back later for a proper read. Thanks !

image of commenter, Greg
Greg
9 months ago

Wow! What a great start to the story! Found this on Boing Boing, looking forward to the next installment.