Kyle, Tony and I had a great time tonight at the San Francisco preview of Survival of the Dead (which thankfully allowed me to maintain my unbroken streak of having seen the last four of Romero's zombie films on the big screen). I've now seen the film three times, and while I still have some issues with the acting and CGI effects, it continues to grow on me.
Following the screening, George Romero participated in a brief Q&A. Between the hard hitting journalistic questions (In the event of a zombie outbreak, would you take off in a hot air balloon or head for the tundra?), I was able to sneak in a quick query about his forthcoming novel, The Living Dead.
Unfortunately, despite a July 1, 2010 publication date listed on Amazon, Romero confirmed that he's only about 150 pages into it, and still struggling to find what he wants to say, particularly in today's world where zombies are everywhere - movies, comics, games and soon to be television. He also confirmed that this will not be the aborted web novel (The Death of Death) he started a number of years ago. That was an experiment that Stephen King talked him into - publishing without the need for a publisher. Unfortunately, nobody bought it. (For what it's worth - I did.) So the bad news is we won't have a Romero zombie novel to read this summer. On the bright side, it has not been abandoned, so hopefully we'll eventually see it.
On the movie front, George confirmed he has two more ideas that expand on characters introduced in Diary of the Dead (as Survival does). While Night of the Living Dead is in the public domain, Dawn, Day and Land of the Dead are each owned by different groups (who like the characters in his films, don't get along). Beginning with Diary, Romero owns the characters, and is therefore able to utilize them in future stories. As much as I'd like to see George do more personal films like Martin or Knightriders, I will always welcome additional zombie films from the master.