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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 09.26.10] post apocalyptic zombies news book



Year: 2008
Publisher: Nightshade Books
Authors: Various
Amazon link: link
Rating: 8 out of 10

[Editor's note: Night Shade Books mailed me both of John Joseph Adams' Living Dead anthologies and since it would take me way too long to get thoughts up if I waited to read every story I wanted to plug their awesomeness early and maybe ad to the post later. Therefore, what follows is more of a mini-review]

Each coming in at almost double the size of his last anthology, the post-apocalypticly inclined Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse, writer/editor John Joseph Adams has released two truly massive tomes of zombie fiction onto the unsuspecting public. I say "unsuspecting" because, like me, I'm sure a lot of people out there have no real inkling as to what a popular subject the undead are to so many lauded writers. Just a quick glance at the list of authors included in these veritable holy grails of Zombie short fiction is enough to make your head decay. Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Clive Barker, George R.R. Martin, Max Brooks, John Skipp, Kelly Link, Harlan Ellison, are only the tip of the iceberg and some of the best stories even come from people I've never heard of.

That's not to say that ALL the stories were really my cup of coffee mind you but, for the sake of enticing you to actually pick up and read what is essentially the most comprehensive zombie anthologies on the market right now, I'll attempt to focus on some stories that were really compelling.


We've always known that zombies are a prolific metaphor. They can be used to point out all kinds of humanity's ills from our own fear of death, rampant consumerism, mob mentality militarism, to just plain old modern ennui. But, what if the dead just rose to cast their vote as is put forth in Dale Bailey's story "Death and Suffrage?" What would the world be like if, after the initial terror of the undead's arrival, zombies became just another commodity to be bought and traded on the stock market as is tackled in Micheal Swanwick's "The Dead"? Again and again the writers in this anthology manage to reinvent the Zombie mythos and morph it into something that's both timely and thoughtful.

In this regard Adam's has chosen his inclusions wisely (though I'll admit the majority of the tales tend to tread a little heavily on the cerebral end of the zombie spectrum at times). In fact, in an odd twist, one of the most memorable stories in the set, Kelly Link's "Some Zombie Contingency Plans" , doesn't even feature a zombie.

Long story short? Whether you look for brains behind you zombie fiction, or you just like zombies eating brains, you'll be hard pressed to find a better set of contemporary zombie fiction. Period. Now onto Marc Paoletti's "Category Five"!

For more on the sets visit Night Shade Books or Amazon.

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DBW (7 years ago) Reply

I think the collection sucks, at least so far. I am about halfway through.

I was hoping it would have stores in the night of living dead/ world war Z style and instead it has stories about zombies voting, or zombies coming back from the dead to tell people to enjoy their lives.

wack ass book, I'm glad I took it out from the library instead of buying it

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citizen zombie (7 years ago) Reply

Yeah, as AO says above they tend to be a tad cerebral.

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Anonymous (7 years ago) Reply

yeah....Books that do something other than exactly what we expect are bad. How many Night of the living dead stories can there be before that gets worn out....geez

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donc48 (7 years ago) Reply

I think this is one of the major issues with the Zombie Fiction print or film. If you try to go out of the box people go WTF? If you try and stay true to the standard Zombie story line it gets repetitive. Shawn Of The Dead took the standard Zombie story line and took it in a fresh comic direction. 28 days later is another fresh evolution the Zombie genre if it keep evolving in a positive direction I think it will be fine. Evolution always had it’s dead ends this book is one of them.

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Shocbomb (7 years ago) Reply

DBW - That does sound horrible man, When I buy my Zed books I want the stories to be about Survivors held up in underground military. shelters boareded up houses and there strugle agasint the flash eating zombie hordes that are waiting right outside. I want to hear storeis about ER rooms overran with bite victims in the first days of the epidemic, I want to hear Generals and military leaders going back and fourth at each others throat on if they should use nukes on urban centers in the U.S to stem the tide of the undead, etc, I don't buy Zombie stories to hear the shit listed above. very disapointed to hear this Dam !!!

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DBW (7 years ago) Reply

I guess its technically about "zoimbies" but it's just not what I am looking for

If you read the first paragraph in the back it mentions world war z and dawn of the dead.

There is story where, zombies are reanimated and are obsessed with playing with shiny things, and the main zombie's message is enjoy life.

I don't understand what is "cerebral" about that?


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