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The New Dead [anthology] by Christopher…
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The New Dead [anthology]

by Christopher Golden (Editor)

Other authors: Kelly Armstrong (Contributor), Aimee Bender (Contributor), Stephen R. Bissette (Contributor), Max Brooks (Contributor), Mike Carey (Contributor)14 more, John Connolly (Contributor), Rick Hautala (Contributor), Joe Hill (Contributor), M. B. Homler (Contributor), Brian Keene (Contributor), Joe R. Lansdale (Contributor), Tim Lebbon (Contributor), David Liss (Contributor), Jonathan Maberry (Contributor), James A. Moore (Contributor), Holly Newstein (Contributor), Derek Nikitas (Contributor), David Wellington (Contributor), Tad Williams (Contributor)

Series: Benny Imura (Prequel, Novella - "Family Business")

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I really liked John Joseph Adams' Living Dead anthologies, which I would describe, by and large, as being on the classier end of the zombie fiction spectrum. I was a little trepidatious about starting this one, though; somehow, I was expecting it to be rather more on the cheesy side. But I was very pleasantly surprised. This anthology is at least as good as either of Adams', and I'm giving it an extra point (or an extra half-star) for being more consistently good. I liked some of these stories better than others, of course, but there's not a real dud in the bunch. Even the ones that weren't quite to my taste, or that had an identifiable flaw or two were really interesting, and left me feeling genuine appreciation for what the author was doing.

I suppose there's arguably one exception to that: Joe R. Lansdale's "Shooting Pool." Which was actually a perfectly decent story, but which contained, as far as I can tell, no zombie-related content whatsoever, as if it had accidentally wandered in from an entirely different anthology. I suspect the author's intent on that one was to write a sort of anti-zombie story, as it features someone who dies and stays very dead. But if that's the idea, well, it's trying to be entirely too clever for its own good.

The standout stories, though, are really good. Joe Hill's "Twittering from the Circus of the Dead" may be the best fictional use of Twitter as a storytelling medium the world will ever see, and David Liss' "What Maisie Knew" is probably the most unrelentingly, memorably horrific thing I've read in ages.

On thing I find interesting about this anthology is that it simultaneously takes a very narrow and a very broad view of the zombie concept. On the narrow side -- that one bafflingly out-of-place entry aside -- these are all very much stories about animate corpses. No 28 Days Later-style rage zombies. Nothing that kinda-sorta metaphorically resembles a zombie if you squint. It's all walking corpses, all the time. (Well, Aimee Bender's bizarre little piece "Among Us" may be a partial exception, as its whole point seems to be that practically everything metaphorically resembles a zombie if you squint. But even that does have a walking corpse in it.)

The scope is also broad, though, in the sense that it includes a lot of different ideas about zombies and does a lot of very different things with them. We've got everything here from mindless monsters to dead bodies with perfectly functional human minds still inside them, including a whole lot of disturbing gray areas in between. We've got plague zombies, science zombies, voodoo zombies, and zombies whose origins nobody knows. There are lots of different settings, lots of surprisingly original details, and lots of different tones and themes. Although there are a couple of themes that do keep cropping up again and again. One is the venerable notion that living humans have the potential to be far worse than any flesh-eating monsters. Another is the seldom-addressed question of how we can feel so keen about the idea of killing zombies when we are so disgusted by the idea of desecrating a corpse.

And, you know, it's interesting. A common (and entirely understandable) opinion about zombies in pop culture right now is that it's just time for them to be over. They're overused to the point of cliche, to the point of meaninglessness. They're not scary anymore, and there's nothing much left to say with them. So why do stories like the ones here not seem at all tired or meaningless or unoriginal to me? It occurs to me that maybe it's only once a subgenre reaches this point of pop cultural oversaturation that writers become completely free to play around with its tropes, to subvert and re-examine them secure in the knowledge that the audience will be able to follow wherever they may go. (Stories that use fairy tale elements are, I think, another good example of this.) And maybe it's not surprising that once you reach that point, the zombie subgenre in particular lends itself well to that kind of attention, if you stop for a moment to think about exactly what a zombie is. Because we're talking about a dead human being, brought back to life with some fundamental component of life or humanity missing. And that, surely, is an idea that has the potential to tap into all kinds of questions that are both philosophically deep and viscerally affecting, questions about life and death, about the human mind and (if it exists) the soul.

Or maybe I'm overthinking things. Maybe, y'know, I just like zombies. And, hey, if you like zombies, too, this may be a book for you. If you're looking for B-movie gore-fests or lots of survival horror, you'll probably be disappointed, but if you want some well-written, thoughtful, thought-provoking stories that continue to do interesting things with an idea that still won't die, no matter how many people say it should, you may find it's exactly what you're looking for. ( )
1 vote bragan | Jan 24, 2014 |
In the big three of popular supernatural creatures at the moment, of vampires, werewolves and zombies, zombies are the weirdest. Just what is so fascinating about the walking (and rotting) dead coming to eat the brains of us living humans? For me it is mostly the apocalyptic world they cause for the living humans, and my curiosity about how humans will survive.
In this collection many writers give their take on a zombie tale, and there are some pretty strong ones. There is a story by John Connolly about Lazarus, resurrected by Jesus, but now in a living-dead state that isn't that happy. There is a story (by Tim Lebbon) about the last three survivors in a quarantined city. In 'Life Sentence' by Kelley Armstrong a rich guy is trying to create a zombie virus so he can live forever. And the best story was by Joe Hill, which was nothing more than the twitter-feed of a girl on a boring road-trip, with a stopover that the world should know about.
All in all a pretty decent zombie collection (although not all tales contain zombies). Four out of five stars. ( )
  divinenanny | Nov 12, 2013 |
Hmm... I should probably review this or something, eh? I actually really liked this, but at the moment I find myself having very little to say in a real review. (Or a Becky review, which isn't the same thing.)

Most of the stories were very good, with a couple gems and a few stinkers. Some I just didn't get at all, and one failed to convey why it was part of a zombie anthology in the first place. Shooting Pool, I'm lookin' at you. Otherwise, a really good and varied collection of stories. Some with unique and interesting spins on the genre, which was nice. And just for giggles, because I feel like this review is too short, my status updates for most of the individual stories:

"First story: Lazarus by John Connolly. Really liked this one. Different perspective and really kind of sad. Very short story with short paragraphs and almost bleak writing, but I think it was perfect for the story being told. 5 stars."

"What Maisie Knew: Great story, different and unique. It's hard to know who to sympathize with in this one, and every new revelation in the story kept tripping me up. I'm really enjoying this collection so far! 5 stars"

"Copper: Didn't much care for this story. Too choppy, too repetitive, too vague. I got bored with it really quickly, and didn't really see why it was in this collection. Ended up skimming over 1/2, and then when I saw how it fit, was just... blah. 1 star."

"In The Dust: Another good story, different and intriguing, and a little sad. 4 stars"

"Life Sentence: Pretty good story. A little sparse, but I liked the concept and the two main characters, although for different reasons. Their interaction and relationship was interesting. 3 stars"

"Delice: Good story of voodoo and revenge. I liked it, but would have liked it to be longer, too. The Wind Cries Mary: Another good story, very short, and sad. Would have liked it to be longer, and have a bit more background info, but still good."

"The Zombie Who Fell From The Sky: Did not like this one. I thought the writing was juvenile and the characters and zombies unbelievable and unrealistic. 1 star."

"My Dolly: I think that this story really had potential, but failed because it had no point. The background situation was much more interesting than the actual story in the forefront. Shame. 2 stars."

"Second Wind: I actually liked this story a lot. Interesting perspective on zombies, and also an interesting take on what we are willing to live and die for. 4 stars"

"Ghost Trap: This was a pretty good story. There was nothing really fantastic about it, but it was good. Except for one detail that annoyed me, which was one man hearing another's "screams" underwater. Perhaps ONE scream, but as he'd have no air for a second, that's all he'd get. Details and plausibility are important!"

"The Storm Door: I really liked this one. I think I will have to read more of Tad Williams' stuff. Very interesting and creepy and good! 5 stars"

"Shooting Pool: Umm... Not sure what this had to do with zombies at all, actually. And it wasn't really all that great a story either. 1 star."

"Circus of the Dead: Pretty good, not my favorite Joe Hill story. 3 stars."

Halloween October 2011: #10 ( )
  TheBecks | Apr 1, 2013 |
3.5 brains.

I'm just going to cheat and copy my status updates here for the individual stories. All in all, it's a pretty good collection. More good stories that turds, which is a good thing to find in an anthology.

"Lazerus" was cool & intriguing. (3 stars).
"What Maisie Knew" kicked serious ass. (5 stars).
"Copper" ehh, not so much. (1 star).
"In the Dust" - very cool. I love a good aftermath story. (4 stars).
"Life Sentence" - creepy and well told abuse of power story. (3.5 stars).
"Delice" - meh. I'm glad this was short. (2 stars).
"The Wind Cries Mary" - very cool. I wish it was longer. Heh.. (4 stars).
"Family Business" - Pretty awesome novella. I'll have to read the Benny Imura books. (5 stars).
"The Zombie Who Fell From the Sky" - meh. Not so great. OK story with weird, jarring narrative. (2 stars).
"My Dolly" - meh x2. Kind of a wtf? story that did nothing to help me want to keep reading this book. (1.5 stars).
"Second Wind" - I thought it was going to be 'meh' too at first, but I liked how it turned out. (3 stars).
"Closure, Limited" - I was looking forward to this as I liked World War Z. Started alright but ended abruptly and I must have missed something important. Meh... (2.5 stars).
"Among Us" - definitely 'meh'. Ramblings and disconnected little things. Thankfully short. (1 star).
"Ghost Trap" - a pretty good one. I'd like to see more about "the plague". (4 stars).
"The Storm Door" - creepy and engaging story. Tad Williams never disappoints. (4 stars).
"Kids and Their Toys" - wow. That was the most disturbing one in the book so far. Creep-fest. At least Lord of the Flies didn't have zombies to worry about. (5 stars).
"Shooting Pool" - Well. I did find myself engaged and I liked the way it was written. But it had a lot of build up and didn't really go anywhere. Oh, and where are the freakin' zombies? This one would be better suited for Redneck: An Anthology of the Inbred. (3 stars for story, 1 star for being in the wrong anthology).
"Weaponized" - pretty enjoyable though unrealistic story here. Future technology includes a camera disguised as sunblock? Yeah, right. (3-ish stars. Solid 3 without the fucking sunblock camera).
"Twittering From the Circus of the Dead" - closing with Joe Hill. Loved this one. OMGOMGOM (4.5 stars).

Slight editing there (mostly adding stars). I'll bump the overall rating to 4 stars since there were more good ones than bad. ( )
  Texas_Reaver | Mar 31, 2013 |
A nice collection of Zombie short stories... what I liked was it wasn't your typical Zombie stories.. they were told from 'atypical' points of view or had different than the norm storylines. Usually there are a few 'clunkers' in a collection like this... this one they were all enjoyable and solid stories... and there were quite a few that were excellent. If you're a zombie/PA fan this is a must read IMO ( )
  ft_ball_fn | Jun 20, 2012 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Golden, ChristopherEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Armstrong, KellyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bender, AimeeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bissette, Stephen R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brooks, MaxContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carey, MikeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Connolly, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hautala, RickContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hill, JoeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Homler, M. B.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keene, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lansdale, Joe R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lebbon, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Liss, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maberry, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, James A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Newstein, HollyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nikitas, DerekContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wellington, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, TadContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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He wakes in darkness, constricted by bonds.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Collects these stories
"Lazarus" by John Connolly
"What Maisie Knew" by David Liss
"Copper" by Stephen R. Bissette
"In the Dust" by Tim Lebbon
"Life Sentence" by Kelley Armstrong
"Delice" by Holly Newstein
"The Wind Cries Mary" by Brian Keene
"Family Business" by Johnathan Maberry
"The Zombie Who Fell from the Sky" by M. B. Homler
"My Dolly" by Derek Nikitas
"Second Wind" by Mike Carey
"Closure, Limited" by Max Brooks
"Among Us" by Aimee Bender
"Ghost Trap" by Rick Hautala
"The Storm Door" by Tad Williams
"Kids and Their Toys" by James A. Moore
"Shooting Pool" by Joe R. Lansdale
"Weaponized" by David Wellington
"Twittering from the Circus of the Dead" by Joe Hill
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Nineteen short tales celebrate the adventures of the living dead, in an anthology that includes David Liss's "What Maisie Knew," Aimee Bender's "Among Us" and Max Brooks's "Closure, Limited."

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