FictionReview (books or video)

Smothered in Zombies: The Living Dead 2 (a review)

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Cover of The Living Dead

I’m going to put it out there that I love short story collections and I love zombies, so it was pre-ordained that I would love The Living Dead 2 edited by John Joseph Adams, unless all the stories sucked. Since none of the stories sucked, this was an amazing stroke of good luck.

In this volume were 35 stories about various types of zombies (some stretching the definition a bit) from a lot of different perspectives. I will admit that there was one story in the collection I got about three paragraphs into and couldn’t finish – but I challenge you to figure out which one. And it wasn’t because the story sucked. It was another factor entirely.

Thirty five stories, and all of them very, very good. Some of them brilliant. There are smart zombies, moaning zombies, slow Romero-style zombies, zombies that are more metaphor than anything, beautiful zombies, gross zombies, funny zombies, tragic zombies, and of course scary zombies.  A few of the stories even came close to O Henry endings, which is always pleasant.

Now I’m getting the pleasure of the stories all over again as Perpetually Grounded Son (who I had to slap away from the book while I was reading it) is reading it. Since he couldn’t shut up to save his life, after every story he has to stop to discuss it with me. Which is really cool, if you think about it.

I might caution you that if you don’t have a ‘literature discussing’ relationship with your fourteen year old, and if your fourteen year old didn’t cut his teeth on zombie movies and video games, the images in these stories could be very disturbing to your kid. As a forty-mumble year old woman, I found some of the images disturbing. I also found poignant and funny and illuminating images.

These stories are almost entirely first published in this anthology, which means if you want the experience of reading all these luscious zombie stories you’re going to have to find it. Amazon only has a few copies left, so if you don’t snag one, hope that your library has it.I don’t do spoilers in reviews, so I’m not going to give you details. All I can tell you is that I zipped through this really hefty volume in about a day and a half and loved every minute of it.

One final comment: The Living Dead 2 is the second book published by Night Shade Books that I’ve reviewed in the last month (the first being [amazon_link id=”1597801968″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Zombies of Lake Woebegotten[/amazon_link]). They apparently have a remarkable eye for talent, as so far these are among my top five favorite books of the year. They publish horror, science fiction, and fantasy, and I will be looking for more books from their list on my next foray to the library.

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