Thursday 11 March 2010

ZOMBIE: An Anthology of the Undead edited by Christopher Golden

The 21st century has brought an explosion of interest in zombie stories. George A. Romero may have spawned the last century's 'modern' zombie story with Night of the Living Dead, but four decades have passed since then. So what accounts for the current zombie craze? That is the question that the contributors to Zombie were asked to ruminate upon while writing the stories in this volume. Do we turn to tales of intimacy with death to deal with its constant presence in our media and our lives? Do zombie stories provide a way to process our feelings about the horrors of war and torture? Or is it merely that death is the final frontier available to us in this new millennium, and we cannot help but explore?

Stoker-award-winning author Christopher Golden has assembled an all-original anthology of zombie stories from an eclectic array of today's hottest writers: this is a wildly diverse and entertaining collection - the Last Word on the Undead.

Let me start with this: I'm a huge zombie fan. I love all-things zombie. So, as soon as I saw the cover for this book online, I knew it was a book that I desperately wanted to read. Don't you just love that creepy, cool, and gross cover? It certainly captures the essence of this wonderful collection of stories.

LAZARUS by John Connolly is a zombie short of biblical proportions. It's a quick, well-written, and totally engrossing tale that I found to be a nice nibble-bite introduction for this very cool anthology.

WHAT MAISIE KNEW by David Liss: Wow, what an amazingly haunting story! This is the tale of a man who keeps a secret reanimate stashed away. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it's not. But it is a page-turner. I hung on every word and didn't want it to end. But when I got to the end, OMG... what an amazing way to end it. I should've seen it coming. The hints were there--amongst all that gross, intense awesomeness.

I LOVED it! Utterly brilliant.

COPPER by Stephen R. Bissette is a fragmented story told through the eyes of a very confused man. As the story progresses, he reveals enough for the reader to put the story together. But what actually happens isn't something I expected.

IN THE DUST by Tim Lebbon: Here's another amazing story. Toby, Jamie and Bindy are trapped inside their town. High fences keep them inside their dying town as the military and scientists keep an eye on them, to make sure they can keep the plague contained, as well as figure out how it started. Of course, they hate being trapped inside. After all, they haven't done anything wrong.

What I loved the most about this story--asides from the excellent writing and storytelling--was that their entrapment ends up being their salvation. Another brilliant tale!

LIFE SENTENCE by Kelley Armstrong is an awesome addition! I love Kelley's Otherworld series, and it was great to see that this story is set in the same world. I love how she does that. Anyway, this story's about a very powerful but sick man who is trying to cheat death and will do whatever it takes to do it. Another story with twists, turns, and an ending that satisfied my wicked side.

DELICE by Holly Newstein: Happens to be another delightful tale. I knew there had to be a voodoo zombi in this anthology and this one didn't disappoint. It's a revenge story. Even if that revenge is taken by someone else, but on behalf of tortured slaves.

THE WIND CRIES MARY by Brian Keene is a short and wonderful story with a twist ending. I enjoyed how quick, yet sharp it was. It captured the emotion of a powerful love that defied death. Great story.

FAMILY BUSINESS by Jonathan Maberry is an outstanding, well-written, and very sad story about a young boy and his older brother. A brother who people say is a killer in a world where zombies live outside the fences surrounding the town. When it's time for Benny to find his own job, he finds he has no other option but to go out with his brother to learn the business, and finds out the truth. A truth that leads to a very sad ending. This story made me cry. I loved it!

THE ZOMBIE WHO FELL FROM THE SKY by M.B. Homler: A hilarious tale that weaves an intricate tale where everything that happens is connected. Of course, you don't realise that at the beginning, but by the time you're reading the last word you just can't help but stare at the page in amazement. A story that starts with a zombie falling from the sky and getting stuck on the town's spire turns into one loser's struggle to survive with a chihuahua by his side. I did a lot of LOLing with this one.

MY DOLLY by Derek Nikitas. I don't know what to say about this one. I enjoyed the writing and couldn't wait to see where it was going... but in the end, I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. It was pretty average, to be honest.

SECOND WIND by Mike Carey: Oh, I loved this one! Nick's tale was an awesome adventure, and a totally different look at the zombie genre. Who would think to become a zombie by choice? And go through everything he does. I loved that in the end, he might be totally alone, but manages to hold onto some of his humanity.

CLOSURE, LTD by Max Brooks: I don't know if it's because I haven't read any stories in the World War Z world, but I just couldn't get into this one. The writing style kept jolting me out of the story. :/ Maybe the novel's better. I don't know.

AMONG US by Aimee Bender isn't really a story, but a collection of observations, really. I didn't enjoy this one. I'm glad it was short, because I was getting ready to skip ahead. :(

GHOST TRAP by Rick Hautala is a very interesting tale about a man who thinks he's helping to rescue someone he finds beneath the water, but actually turns into a nightmare. A nightmare that the residents of this town were positive had been buried beneath the water years ago. I particularly enjoyed that a zombie outbreak had already happened in the past, and had been cleaned up. Awesomely gruesome ending.

THE STORM DOOR by Tad Williams is another one that made it onto my favourite list. Instantly. I got caught up in the story as soon as I started it. What an amazing tale Tad manages to weave with this character, which I was hoping we'd get to read more stories about. But, um, I don't think so... not after what happens. Still, brilliant!

KIDS AND THEIR TOYS by James A. Moore: This is another excellent story. It's actually quite horrific. It's gross, and I found myself feeling sorry for the poor zombie that this group of boys find and decide to torture. And the ending, I'm still thinking about it. Poor Jack. :(

SHOOTING POOL by Joe R. Lansdale: Uh, next story.

WEAPONIZED by David Wellington is a story set in the near future, when the army has found a new solution to save lives and money on the frontline. A journalist initially sent to investigate one thing, winds up stumbling on these new soldiers--zombies. I'm usually not a fan of war stories, but I really enjoyed this one!

TWITTERING FROM THE CIRCUS OF THE DEAD by Joe Hill: While I enjoyed the uniqueness of this... story. Can I really call it a story? lol. I think it's great in a way that all of us who love to spend time on Twitter can appreciate. It was a fun, quick read.

Zombie: An Anthology of the Undead offers a fantastic mix of zombie stories that will satisfy any zombie lover. I think this is one of the best anthologies I've ever read, simply because I absolutely LOVED so many of the stories. There were only a handful that didn't satisfy my zombie itch, but that didn't matter because the other fourteen did! And that's an amazing accomplishment.

I think Christopher Golden did a great job at selecting and editing this gem of a book. This one's a definite keeper. I know I'll be picking it up again to re-read a bunch of these stories. :)

Zombie: An Anthology of the Undead, March 2010, ISBN 978-074-995293-8, Piatkus Fiction Paperback


Anonymous said...

Yolanda...I'm delighted that you enjoyed THE NEW DEAD. Nice to know that "Family Business" brought a tear to your eye. (It did that to me while writing it!).

-Jonathan Maberry

Yolanda Sfetsos said...

Hi Jonathan! Thanks for stopping by. :) You're very welcome. I loved this anthology, and your story was AWESOME.

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