Review: Extreme Zombies

Extreme ZombiesExtreme Zombies by Paula Guran
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Paula Guran, I am now a fan of the anthology as a thing. Truly, the compilation is greater than the sum of its parts. In this case, my individual reviews for each included story averaged just shy of 3 stars and yet this anthology gets more than that for the diversity it embraces, and for introducing many new authors to me. Going into this collection, I was only aware of George R.R. Martin [from the Games of Thrones series which I’ve yet to read] and John Shirley [from his inclusion in the last Paula Guran edited collection I read: After the End: Recent Apocalypses with his excellent short story, “Isolation Point, California”].

Whereas Apocalypse stories tend to focus on society and survivalism, Zombie stories claw at the very definition of humanity. Issues of savagery, gluttony, cannibalism, necrophilia, depravity, psychological terror, horror, and even torture arise frequently. They question the definitions of life and death. Religious issues are raised from the demonic Obeah possession to the resurrection of the body with or without its soul from Christian dogma. Different types of zombies raise different questions. Some are alive and living a nightmare under the control of another person, or a virus, or a drug. Some are mere mindless meat-suits re-animated. Some are monsters, a true bastardization of humanity with varying degrees of their former personalities. They may be lethargic, erotic, or predatory; regardless, they turn the mirror back on ourselves.

My favorite included stories were penned by George R.R. Martin and David A. Riley. I’ve taken the time to review ALL of the included stories, however. In descending star order:

Martin, George R. R.–“Meathouse Man”
Riley, David A.–“Romero’s Children”

Bullington, Jesse–“Charlie’s Hole”
Collins, Nancy A.–“At First Only Darkness”
Goodfellow, Cody–“We Will Rebuild”
Hull, Harper–“An Unfortunate Incident at the Slaughterhouse”
Leeder, Murray J.D.–“The Traumatized Generation”
Moody, David–“Home”

Hoffman, Nina Kiriki–“Zombies for Jesus”
Keene, Brian–“Captive Hearts”
Massey, Elizabeth–“Abed”
Navarro, Yvonne–“For the Good of All”
Roche, Thomas S.–“Viva Las Vegas”
Shirley, John–“Aftertaste”
Wellington, David–“Chuy and the Fish”

Etchison, Dennis–“The Blood Kiss”
Kilpatrick, Nancy–“Going Down”
Lansdale, Joe R.–“On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks”
Laws, Robin D.–“Susan”
Lee, Edward–“Makak”
Partridge, Norman–“In Beauty, Like the Night”
Valentinelli, Monica–“Tomorrow’s Precious Lambs”
Waggoner, Tim–“Provider”

Hodge, Brian–“Dead Giveaway”
Schow, David J.–“Jerry’s Kids Meet Wormboy”
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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