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
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.