corner corner Zombies: The Recent Dead

3 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, October 16, 2011

8 out of 10

I first found this book in audio format via, and enjoyed it so much I wanted a text copy; got this one from ABEbooks. It's a collection of recent zombie-themed stories, with a variety of styles and tones, from a hilarious dark-humor story of drug addicts who've learned that they can evade the zombie hordes by staying wasted to the chilling account of a zombie apocalypse from the viewpoint of a frightened young boy...

I won't include any outright spoilers, but some of the stories might be more fun if you don't know anything about them at all, so read on only if you don't mind losing a surprise or two.

So: the book opens with a "preshamble" by Paula Guran, with some interesting comments on the zombie phenomenon, followed by David J. Schow's introduction which goes into more detail. And a further "deaditorial note" by Guran, which ends with a reference to editorial comments that appear following the author bios on each story, and the advice: "ignore them, enjoy them, hate them, debate them - just don't read them before you read the story!". Since the bios are at the end of each story it should be pretty easy to avoid inadvertent spoilers, but it was nice of them to mention it anyway.

OK, the stories. These are the ones that impressed me most:

"Twisted" by Kevin Veale, which I mistook for a Joe R. Lansdale story, as it has some similarities in over-the-top violence and general weirdness; this is a compliment, by the way. This one's about a pair of wanderers, the Horse and Dogwood, Minister for Lateral Problem-Solving, who've deduced that they can avoid being detected by the zombie hordes if they stay thoroughly drunk or high, an interesting concept in itself; it plays out in a wonderfully gonzo way.

"The Things He Said" by Michael Marshall Smith is a chilling little tale, from the viewpoint of a man who's survived the zombies by retiring into a remote forest location - and whose methods of survival are... um, well, I can't say much more without giving too much away. But the story's a creepy gem.

"Naming of Parts" by Tim Lebbon is told from the point of view of a young boy, as a zombie plague kicks in. At first he doesn't know what's going on - "something tried to break into the house", with scratching at window-latches and such; that's scary enough, but things escalate, and as he and his parents try to find a place of safety it gets darker and darker.

"Dating Secrets of the Dead" by David Prill is a light-hearted - mostly - take on zombies, with a kind of Gahan Wilson feel to it (if only he could have illustrated this one!).

"Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed" by Steve Duffy is set on board a small fishing boat that winds up in an "accursed" part of the ocean - without going into detail here, I'll just say that there are some scenes that truly freaked me out! [I also liked this story because the editorial comments after the story refer to Forensic Taphonomy, a what-happens-to-bodies-after-death book that I enjoyed myself {grin}.]

"The Great Wall" by Max Brooks is set in the world of his World War Z, episodic accounts of different ways of dealing with a global zombie apocalypse. This story, as per the title, is set near the Great Wall of China, and is both frightening in its implications and rather heart-warming with its accounts of resilience and sacrifice.

"Obsequy" by David J. Schow could be thought of as a "cozy" look at a zombie apocalypse; instead of an emphasis on global destruction, it focuses on personal concerns when the inhabitants of the local cemetery start coming home again.

"Deadman's Road" by Joe R. Lansdale has an Old West setting, with the taciturn Reverend Jebediah Rains encountering a walking corpse - though in this case it's not a zombie plague so much as a hoodoo man with a very special talent. [And bees...]

"Bitter Grounds" by Neil Gaiman is another of the "quiet" stories - no hordes of ravening brain-eaters here. Sometimes this kind of tale can be even more disturbing, as it seems so close to home in many respects... It opens with the narrator doing a favor for a stranger, and then - well, then things get stranger and stranger.

"Glorietta" by Gary A. Braunbeck is, of all things, a Christmas story: "The first questions are always the same, as are the responses: Mom? Dad? Sis? Do you recognize me this year?" A bittersweet little story, something of a quiet backwater in the middle of a catastrophe.

"Dead Man's Land" by David Wellington has as its premise the survival of humanity via communities centered on the big box stores - WalMart, Home Depot, etc. - as armed camps, relying on a handful of individuals who are willing to travel between these locations to pass messages and, in this case, take the daughter of one Manager to be the bride of another, cementing an alliance. The narrator here is a woman who makes a living as a roving messenger/bounty hunter, and who is very tough indeed. I liked the details of the way this state of affairs unfolded, a mix of global-zombie-apocalypse and some very different ways in which humankind chooses to cope with it.

"Disarmed and Dangerous" by Tim Waggoner takes a fantasy spin on things; here, the zombie is the main character, a detective who's been consigned to an afterworld that looks a lot like a very busy city in a film noir. Humor, violence, and mean streets in this one.

"Selected Scenes from the End of the World" by Brian Keene - this is a set of three short-short stories, each with a view of individuals coping (well or badly) with the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. Chilling and (in a way) heart-warming, with a larger world sketched deftly.

"The Last Supper" by Scott Edelman is about what might happen when only zombies remain, with no live people to prey on. It goes in a very different direction than I expected it to, and is one I will remember.

The (few) stories in the book that I didn't mention were enjoyable as well, just not to the same level as these, but they include a variety of styles and concepts, so some of the ones that wound up lower on my list might be at the top of yours. All in all a very, very good collection!  

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 yrs ago (2/29/2012 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA


I'm sending this book to BCer hyphen8 in Hawaii as part of the prize for the 2011 Chills & Spills release challenge; congratulations, and I hope you enjoy the book!

*** Released as part of the 2012 Chills & Spills release challenge. *** 

Journal Entry 3 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Saturday, March 17, 2012

This book has not been rated.

Thank you Gory - your generous box of books arrived today and it was full of good stuff! I'm going to try to read this one before AKSarah's zombie box arrives so I can share it with someone else. 

Journal Entry 4 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Sunday, June 17, 2012

This book has not been rated.

There sure is a lot of good zombie fiction out there right now, and this book is an excellent sampling of it. I'll be keeping my eyes open for more work by some of the authors I discovered by way of this collection. 

Journal Entry 5 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Sunday, June 17, 2012

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 yrs ago (6/18/2012 UTC) at Honolulu, Hawaii USA


Off to see the world via AKSarah's Bookbox of the Living Dead

Journal Entry 6 by AKSarah at Fairbanks, Alaska USA on Thursday, July 12, 2012

This book has not been rated.

Received back in my Bookbox of the Living Dead! 

Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.