or, The White Zombie
Moby-Dork is an apocalyptic, hypertextual retelling of Melville's undying 19th-century whaling epic, Moby-Dick.
Years after The Collapse, a lone survivor calling himself iZhmael recounts the horrific tragedy of the convoy Plymouth. Chucho, Starbucks, Neo, Chief, Pippin, Buttplug and the rest of a diverse crew of American roughnecks struggle to coexist while rounding up hordes of the living dead for DeComp, a massive industrial plant that pulverizes and renders bodies into methane to power the lives of a shadowy, privileged few. But the captain goes by the auspicious name Custer, and his obsession with destroying a single, preternaturally white zombie will lead this crew of desperately lonely men beyond all hope of reconciliation—and into a bloodbath of epic proportion.
Where Moby-Dick's Ahab and Ishmael obsessively hunted and deconstructed whales in the tragic allegory of an industrial America then on the rise, Moby-Dork's Custer and iZhmael obsessively pursue and futilely dismantle the omnipresent zombies of the same American empire already collapsing under the weight of its own original sins.
Author Shane Castle is an assistant professor of writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage and a senior affiliate editor of Alaska Quarterly Review. His course list includes an honors seminar called Zombology 101: An Interdisciplinary Investigation of the Undead, and his short fiction has appeared in venues including Black Warrior Review, Indiana Review, West Branch, Salamander, Columbia Journal, North Dakota Quarterly, Iron Horse Literary Review, and online with McSweeney's and Electric Literature.
Zombies multiply, each new iteration recognizable as zombie but somehow uniquely its own. In keeping with the protean nature of the zombie, Moby-Dork is open to replication and adaptation. Anyone who wants to adapt the text—to strip away, build upon, gut, smoosh, mash-up, rip apart, stitch back together—is welcome to do so. I simply require that it is done under the terms of this Creative Commons license. If you use it in your own project, please let me know.
Many thanks to the following people for generous outlays of time, effort, and camaraderie throughout the process: Bryan Fierro and Shahid Haque for supportive words; Dave Onofrychuck, for long conversations about dystopian fiction and insights about the narrative; Don Rearden, for close readings, discussions about the project's morbid themes, and enthusiasm for the project that often sustained my own; and of course to Sam Lavin, my best friend and wife, who knows how closely I guard my more exuberant (she says crazy) side, and without whose regular exhortations to stop holding back, this exuberant (crazy) project probably might have remained a note-to-self that read, "Fanboys are to zombies what Ishmael was to whales...."