Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The New Dead, edited by Christopher Golden

(pb; 2010: zombie anthology)

Overall review:

Above average zombie anthology, worth owning - most of the stories are good, at least slightly different than the others.

The only stories I didn't like were: Stephen R. Bissette's "Copper" (a good idea ruined by choppy and overlong writing), Mike Carey's "Second Wind" (too chatty, rambling) and Max Brooks' "Closure, Limited: A Story of World War Z" (Brooks' use of the present tense reads too much like stage directions - it's a failed Night of the Living Dead rehash/mini-play, at best).

Standout stories:

1.) "What Maisie Knew" - David Liss: A man (Walter Molton) purchases and houses a female Reanimate, an illegally resurrected (and preserved) zombie named Maisie, for reasons that aren't entirely beneficent.

A familiar but imaginative concept highlights this solid story.

2.) "In the Dust" - Tim Lebbon: Three survivors of a zombie plague find that a military barricade trapping them in their hometown might not be a bad fate: a good read that adeptly avoids clichés even as it stays genre true, with characters worth caring about.

3.) "Life Sentence" - Kelley Armstrong: Fun creepshow of a morality tale about a dying rich man (Daniel Boyd) whose ruthless bid for a "cure" takes darker-than-expected turns.

4.) "Delice" - Holly Newstein: A voudou priestess gets revenge on a rich deviant couple: mood-effective, all-around excellent story.

5.) "The Wind Cries Mary" - Brian Keene: Wonderful, emotive genre-blender story about a man and his zombie wife. Distinctive work.

6.) "Family Business" - Jonathan Maberry: An angry teenager (Benny Imura) seeks suitable employment in a undead-impacted world, even as his older brother, Tom, tries to guide him toward certain life-changing truths.

Superb, humane and well thought-out slant on the familiar shambler-human drama.

7.) "The Zombie Who Fell From the Sky" - M.B. Homler: Hilarious, satirical story about a sudden plague, poetry and the American military. Fans of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb may especially appreciate this one.

8.) "Among Us" - Aimee Bender: Uneven but off-beat and timely (given how the meat industry packages and sells it product) - "Among Us" is also amusing, in a Douglas Adams way.

9.) "Ghost Trap" - Rick Hautala: A fisherman-diver (Jeff Stewart) discovers an especially unsettling corpse, one that may herald further, familiar tragedies.

Solid, mood-effective, with a great use of title (given its plot-based elements).

10.) "The Storm Door" - Tad Williams: Nathan Nightingale, a paranormal investigator, finds that the returning, corpse-possessing dead he's been hunting are more dangerous than he initially thought.

Good read, notably different slant on the undead theme, especially when contrasted with those seen in this collection.

11.) "Weaponized" - David Wellington: Good, interesting, reads-like-real-life (if zombies were real) tale about the war dead being used to defend our country.

Other stories:

"Lazarus" - John Connolly; "My Dolly" - Derek Nikitas; "Kids and Their Toys" - James A. Moore; "Shooting Pool" - Joe R. Lansdale; "Twittering From The Circus Of The Dead" - Joe Hill.

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