An anthology of the Undead
Edited by Christopher Golden
What a great read. From John Connolly writing a short sharp zombie-take on Lazarus and Brian Keene twisting a short zombie tale into a romantic tome with The Wind Cries Mary, this is a collection to die for. Yeah, bad pun, but great book. Notable for an unusual style is Twittering from the Circus of the Dead by Joe Hill and Stephen R. Bissette’s Copper.
While it is not unimaginable to sit down and read a 500 page novel about the living dead, it is so much more fun to have an anthology collection like this one. Being able to read a short story or two in one day about zombies means the reader does not have to invest in the more time consuming novel for thrills.
I have discovered so much enjoyment in this anthology it encourages me to go and seek out some more work by authors whose work I have particularly enjoyed. If we look at it practically it is fair to say we are well into a time when a good long read is such an investment that one desires more at the end. Perhaps this is why so many books come out as part of a series these days. It is not a new thing, there have always been series’ of books in my lifetime that take the same characters on another long journey, or further along the same quest and that is great.
Having a sample slice of a writer’s output, enough for a taste of their style, has always been a good way to discover new work you respond well with. Certainly some writers are better at the short story than they are at the novel, and I guess that is a chance you take whenever you seek out their more protracted work after enjoying something smaller; some writers have yet to produce their novel as you read one of their short stories, but this anthology is different. It seems everyone included has at the very least produced a novel as a co-author if not a string of titles in the fantasy or horror genre.
I recommend it highly if you have a hankering for something a little pungent and threatening. Maybe it is not the best bedside book, unless you love your own nightmares, I am quite fond of something a bit spooky in those hours when I have woken and can not for the life of me get back to sleep. So even though I have read it from cover to cover and feel I have gorged well and truly, it will remain near my bedside because another thing about short stories that I really appreciate is you can easily read them again. In fact sometimes it is completely necessary to read a good short again and again on the basis that you enjoy the turns and twists, the style is really hitting the mark with you or you are trapped in a freakish loop of wanting to be afraid again and again. With Zombie I am sure to dip in and out many more times before it is offered up as a share book, sacrificed to a friend who also wants to read gore and horror. Top stuff.