An anthology of zombie inspired short stories by some of today’s best authors including Max Brooks, Jonathan Mayberry, Kelley Armstrong, and David Liss with editing done by Christopher Golden.
I do not think I have ever before enjoyed a horror anthology as much as I enjoyed this one. Now, I am a little bias when it comes to zombies, there’s no doubt about that, and you can’t really blame me for having a special affinity with my brother and sister undead, but this is still one of the best collection of zombie short stories I have ever read. I’ve had to have checked out dozens of different zombie anthologies at this point in my life. In fact, I’d be surprised if I hadn’t gotten at the very least close to a hundred different ones by now (I’m kind of an old zombie though), and this still is easily one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading through.
The stories presented inside this collection are amazingly well done and very well thought out. It’s been quite some time since I have seen this much talent presented inside one book, let alone one full of nothing but stories based on the undead. Every story seemed like it was drawing me deeper and deeper into a zombie realm where I was thrown back and forth between discomfort and security. I would laugh and then I would want to cry. I’d feel okay with something right before I would get upset and angry. These stories brought out a varied array of emotions. That should speak volumes on its own. A true test of any author is the emotional response he or she can illicit from the reader and the authors here really know how to bring out the emotional responses. The way those response are brought out in such a way as to keep you from ever getting settled into just one speaks volumes about how well edited this collection was as well. You will constantly bounce back and forth in how feel as you go from one story to the next, never able to get fully comfortable as you go. I thought that added so much more to the collection and made it very difficult to put down. I would easily read this thing a few more times just to relive some of the amazing stories presented within.
Let me give you a short sampling of the things you will be reading in here. In Lazarus you will get to hear the biblical story of Jesus raising his friend from the dead from Lazarus’ point of view. In What Maize Knew you will get to see a world in which the dead are used for manual labor and a man who wants to keep a specific one a secret. In Family Business a brother teaches his younger siblings the trade of hunting the undead in a world where that is most of what’s left, and in Kids and Their Toys you get to see what happens when a few kids get their own zombie play thing to do with as they please. This is of course only a very short sampling of the myriad amount of stories you will find in this collection.
There were only two stories I didn’t much care for and I’ll let you make up your own mind about that. I don’t want to spoil too much, and after all you may not dislike them as much as I did so there’s no point in me setting up a negative expectation for you. Not to mention they weren’t that bad, just not favorites of mine. Still in a book with 19 stories, not liking two is pretty damn good either way.
This is one I would definitely go out and pick up right away. Regardless of whether or not there are going to be a few stories that a reader may not care for, this collection is chock full of so many stories that any zombie fan is bound to find something they like.
The Undead Review
Published By: St. Martin’s Griffin
Edited By: Christopher Golden