Interview: Tankbread // Paul Mannering



Book: Tankbread

Author: Paul Mannering

Publisher: Permuted Press

Tagline: When there’s no more room in Summer Bay…the dead will rise!


Note: I was lucky enough to catch up to Paul on set in Bulgaria, where he was the second ‘zombie’ supervisor on ‘Cargo Loading District of the Dead 2: Deadlier Cargo’. The interview took place between shots. Definitely not by e-mail.

Note 2: There may be some spoilers, but nothing that goes past page 100 of the book.

Note 3: The 50 books Paul mentions at the end are just a small sample of the 49,000 he has actually written. The guy’s a machine.


Oli: Your main twist on the zombie genre is the idea of ‘Tankbread’ [cloned humans used as zombie food]. Please tell me you didn’t get inspiration from ‘The Island’?

Paul Mannering: One of the inspirations for the concept of Tankbread came from an old 2000AD comic. In the Future Shock series – back in the 1980’s. There was a story about an industry where comatose cloned bodies were grown for organ transplants. A caretaker – whose job was to feed these things baby food, had no interest in them as beings until one day – one squeezed his hand. He then concluded they were conscious and self aware – the story ended with him dousing the entire warehouse of clones in gasoline and burning the place down.

The story started with a vision that popped into my head one day, of the (at the time) “World’s Ugliest Dog” (a very elderly chihuaha) and a weird mental image of this dog cooked in some kind of orange glaze.

With that, came the opening line about the Asian across the table. The story just evolved from those key ideas.

Oli: No one is safe in this book. At one point, a baby is torn out of its mother’s womb and ripped to pieces by zombie teeth. Did you ever think of not slaughtering babies?

Paul: No. I wanted Tankbread to push boundaries of visceral horror. I wanted a story that made people uncomfortable.

Oddly enough I have had more angry responses over the use of the term ‘retard’ than I have about the violence against women, men and infants. Continue reading