Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cimmerian sighting: The Living Dead zombie anthology a feast for the brain

When I ordered the new John Joseph Adams zombie anthology The Living Dead, I was hoping for stories of zombie carnage on a large scale, a-la Max Brooks’ terrific World War Z and George Romero’s classic “living dead” films. As I read one story after the next, however, it soon became evident that all-out zombie war was (mostly) not the focus of this book.

Some disappointment naturally ensued. When the book arrived with its cover shot of a horde of shambling undead, zombie wars and tales of gun-porn survival were what I thought I was getting. I liken the experience to purchasing a book entitled “heroic fantasy” with a barbarian on the cover, and opening it to find that, instead of warriors and wizards, it’s mostly about everyday, modern people involved in acts of bravery, sans battle-axes.

In short, sometimes all you want is a little zombie mayhem. I was hoping that The Living Dead would afford me the opportunity to just turn my brain off and enjoy.

But once I got past my initial disappointment, The Living Dead turned out to be a very good collection of horror stories. On a scientific scale of 1-5 stars, I’d give it a solid 3 ½, a very good score for an anthology, given that any collection of short stories is going to contain a few duds. And upon further reflection, The Living Dead does have its fair share of carnage and zombie apocalypse, albeit not as much as I was hoping for.

To read the rest of this post, visit The Cimmerian Web site.


Anonymous said...

the story of dead coming from the grave o vote for a candidatereminds me of Homecoming... one episode by Joe Dante of Masters of horror series in which soldiers dead in Irak back to life to vote for an antiwar candidate... is it the same story...?
by the way... what's the reason or this zombie related fiction invasion...? something related with the 11s tragedy or what...?

Brian Murphy said...

Hi Francisco, that sounds like a different story, though a similar concept. "Homecoming" also sounds about as subtle as a brick thrown through your window. The blatant use of fiction as a political hammer does not sit well with me.

Not sure about the zombie fiction invasion and its larger significance. I don't think you can really pin it down to 9/11--I'm thinking of a post 9/11 film like 28 Days Later, while, though not technically a zombie film, was produced in the UK. I just think that there's so much you can do with zombies. Plus, apocalypse is fun.