Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: Zombiesque

Ed. Stephen L. Antczak, James C. Bassett & Martin H. Greeberg, 2011, DAW Books

DAW have always done a fine job of tapping into emerging and resurgent trends in speculative fiction with their anthologies, as evidenced by recent collections of space opera, steampunk and Lovecraftian short fiction. Zombiesque is certainly no exception, being an anthology not merely of zomfic, but of tales told specifically from the zombies' point-of-view, which is just now becoming a popular trope within the subgenre.

The sixteen original tales comprising Zombiesque are all, without exception, highly entertaining, and run the full range of cross-genres from humour, to horror, to romance, drama, and everything in between. Of particular note, for me, were Nancy Collins' 'At First Only Darkness', which really does take the reader inside the head of a creature driven only by hunger; Tim Waggoner's 'Do No Harm', which uniquely posits the sort of society zombies might evolve in the relative absence of humanity; Richard Lee Byers' 'Zombie Camp', in which holidaymakers actually pay to briefly experience 'life' as zombies; Jim C. Hines' 'In the Line of Duty', in which intelligent zombies are successfully (kinda) integrated into the field of Special Ops; Del Stone Jr's 'Zero', which draws emotive parallels between zombies and the homeless; S. Boyd Taylor's 'A Distant Sound of Hammers', which hideously depicts the ultimate fate of those who survive the inevitable zombie uprising; and Laszlo Xalieri's 'The Confession', a terrifyingly creepy and gruesome piece of fiction that will have you checking the locks tonight...

In short, Zombiesque is a rather brilliant little anthology showcasing some brilliant authors, some of whom will be familiar to fans of the genre, others not. This is definitely a publication to be read and cherished by zomfans of all stripes, and is available to Australian readers through Penguin Australia.

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