While his wife, Ava, is out of town, Dr. Thomas Schutten is off for a week to take care of their eighteen month old son, James, and to enjoy the last few days of carnival, and then… something misunderstood and mysterious… and his world changes, almost overnight, into a dangerous place. Information services stop, society begins to pull itself apart, and Dr. Tom does the only thing he knows to do; he follows his own emergency plan and flees with James to the nearby Benedictine monastery, where he and his wife serve as oblates. They have agreed upon the Abbey as their meeting place in emergency circumstances. Now, without word, without news, with only hope… he waits.
Ora et Labora et Zombies is an epistolary novel, told through letters. In this case they are Tom’s letters, written to Ava while he waits for her to join him and their son at the Abbey. All that stands between them is time and uncertainty… and zombies?
There is a genre in fiction and film generally labelled “post-apocalyptic,” which deals with the survival of characters in the aftermath of some globally destructive event, the word “apocalypse” in pop culture having become shorthand for the end of the world. Apolcalypse, however, from the Greek verb “to uncover, to reveal”, is the name of the final book of the Bible, which is not necessarily about the destruction of the world, but about the revealed nature of God’s relationship to man. In this regard, Ora et Labora et Zombies is not a post-apocalyptic book so much as it is an Apocalyptic book. This is a subtle but important distinction. OeLeZ is not about survival in the face of despair but rather about love, borne of community and beset by evil. It is, at its core, a book about Faith.
Ora et Labora et Zombies is comprised of seventy-two handwritten Letters of between 4-6 pages, reproduced on specially watermarked stationery with a hand-printed serigraph cover sheet. Each Letter will be published individually, as a weekly serial, and distributed to readers through the mail. This idiosyncratic method of publication aims to celebrate and prolong the disappearing experience of receiving letters in the mailbox, and also to create in the reader a sense of anticipation, of waiting as the dramatis personae must wait to discover what is happening.