Tag Archives: zombies

The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology by Christopher Golden

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The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology by Christopher Golden

Golden, Christopher. The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010. ISBN 978-0312559717 400 pp. $

****

This strong collection centered on the reanimated begins with a take on the story of Lazurus, casting him as a zombie, and concludes with a tale using Twitter as a plot device–a girl on a forced family vacation posts frequent disdainful updates about the road trip and how much she hates her mom. The family detours to see a circus act, and thinks the special effects are so realistic! until they realize it’s a zombie circus! This was a fabulous story, but the 140 character posts (complete with proper punctuation) don’t utilize any chat speak, so come off an inauthentic, though, the voice is a good attempt. With a true Twitter feed, the story would be posted most to least recent. It’s possible the ending would have been given away by doing this (an editors note to flip to the final page and read BACK could have taken care of this), but it made the story not ring as true. A feed at http://twitter.com/tyme2waste is a pretty clever
marketing tool.

Several stories in between are concerned with the return of soldiers. One is experimental and repetitive and hard to get through. Two have wonderfully inventive premises, one casting zombies as servants, another as science experiments. Two stories in particular really stood out to me: one, titled Family Business, is about two brothers; Tommy, the elder is a zombie hunter, and his younger brother Benny, who has just turned 15, is reluctant to join him, and explores a variety of jobs generated through necessity after a zombie invasion, and finally goes on a ride along with his brother, and finds it enlightening. This was a wonderful story on so many levels–easy to relate to characters, highly readable, teen protagonist, creativity and humor, well written.

Golden has assembled an impressive array of writers to deliver sexy, profane, gory, and thought provokingly macabre stories, cleverly arranged, and well edited. Move over, vampires and werewolves–ZOMG ZOMBIES! are the new hawtness.

Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament by S.G. Browne

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Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament by S.G. Browne

Browne, S.G. Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament. Crown, 2009. ISBN  978-0767930611. pp. $

*****

In this self-proclaimed “zom-rom-com” the undead are the sympathetic characters. Victims of trauma are unexpectedly and unexplainably becoming “reanimated.” The zombies, all at different stages of acceptance, ability and decomposition, are outcasts of society. Their second class citizen treatment ranges from harassment (assault and limb-stealing) to SPCA imprisonment for curfew violations, with termination imminent if a human family member, or Breather, doesn’t bail them out.

Some cope by meeting in AA-styled group sessions. In Undead Anonymous, Andy develops a crush on the lovely Rita (a suicide victim) and meets several unique and interesting individuals, including the charismatic Ray, a self-sufficient zombie who refuses to be disenfranchised and rallies the others for equal rights for the reanimated.

This very funny satire manages to not take itself too seriously without getting campy. Browne deftly balances humor with pathos, and gore with romance. The vivid writing flows, delivering a satisfying pace and many amusing scenes. Characterizations are strong, and the voice steady throughout. My one criticism is that there is a hair of predictability to the story, but the ending still didn’t play out exactly as I thought.

The opening draws the reader in immediately: Andy comes to in his parents kitchen, suspecting he has just killed them. From there, Browne delivers a backstory that relates what life is like as a zombie that one could analogize to being a minority, gay, or even, a teen–others tend to make snap judgments about members of these communities and may be intolerant to varying degrees.