Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"The Living Dead": Title Post

Title: "The Living Dead"
Editor: John Joseph Adams
Pages: 500
Publisher: Nightshade Books

Anthologies are these entities on their own that create a certain suicide notion in a reviewer, because as reviewers we strive to convey the maximum impact and experience from a story and an anthology is a rich and powerful arrangement of stories. The usual question is “How the heck am I going to do justice to all the authors’ work?” and the answer for me is “You won’t review the anthology as a whole, but story by story”. I am not sure whether any reviewer has done this, but readers be prepared for the longest review that may stretch into months. The target this time is “The Living Dead”, the 500 page mammoth anthology of zombie fiction, edited by the anthology guru John Joseph Adams, whose hands have compiled “Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse” and “Seeds of Change”.

Now let’s move on to the topic at hand aka Zombies with the necessary capital Z. As the press release in September and the Introduction to the anthology stated the zombie has been the center of attention for quite awhile. From ancient to up till now, the resurrected corpse has been a fantasy, spinning in the human for quite awhile, until Romero raised their existence to a cult. Zombies have crossed over from mythology and found an empire in popular culture with movies, video games, comic books, novels, badges, posters, cups, other merchandise and not to mention the Halloween costumes. But what exactly attract us to the zombies, why do we insist to get high on adrenaline by watching zombies?

My opinion is focused on two points. One, the zombie is a twisted metaphor and reassurance that life after death doesn’t just simply go away, it can stay and it can return. What happens after we are dead has given birth to many theories on the afterlife. The zombie states it simply, in order for people to return to their bodies, even though like a monster, they must have been somewhere to come back. Plain and simple. Second, the zombie is the purest form of fear for me. Other monsters in culture have been showed as complex and a complex system of characteristics, where the human aspects linger. Zombies on the other hand are just an unstoppable force that cannot be reasoned with, that does not register fear towards its weakness and has one goal in its existence, namely to devour. According to authors featured in the anthology zombies are our own worst enemy, the clearest version of human society turned into a mass with no individuality and with only one purpose that drives them: consumption.

Here is how the review will take place. This is the list of all the 34 stories featured in the anthology and as I move from story to story. I will link the story to the main post and the story’s title in the main post to the actual review, so that they can remain connected to one another. Hopefully the experiment will benefit the publisher as much the readers.

1. This Year’s Class Picture — Dan Simmons
2. Some Zombie Contingency Plans — Kelly Link
3. Death and Suffrage — Dale Bailey
4. Ghost Dance — Sherman Alexie
5. Blossom — David J. Schow
6. The Third Dead Body — Nina Kiriki Hoffman
7. The Dead — Michael Swanwick
8. The Dead Kid — Darrell Schweitzer
9. Malthusian’s Zombie — Jeffrey Ford
10. Beautiful Stuff — Susan Palwick
11. Sex, Death and Starshine — Clive Barker
12. Stockholm Syndrome — David Tallerman
13. Bobby Conroy Comes Back from the Dead — Joe Hill

14. Those Who Seek Forgiveness — Laurell K. Hamilton
15. In Beauty, Like the Night — Norman Partridge
16. Prairie — Brian Evenson
17. Everything Is Better with Zombies — Hannah Wolf Bowen
18. Home Delivery — Stephen King

19. Less Than Zombie — Douglas E. Winter
20. Sparks Fly Upward — Lisa Morton
21. Meathouse Man — George R. R. Martin
22. Deadman’s Road — Joe R. Lansdale
23. The Skull-Faced Boy — David Barr Kirtley

24. The Age of Sorrow — Nancy Kilpatrick
25. Bitter Grounds — Neil Gaiman
26. She’s Taking Her Tits to the Grave — Catherine Cheek
27. Dead Like Me — Adam-Troy Castro
28. Zora and the Zombie — Andy Duncan

29. Calcutta, Lord of Nerves — Poppy Z. Brite
30. Followed — Will McIntosh
31. The Song the Zombie Sang — Harlan Ellison® and Robert Silverberg

32. Passion Play — Nancy Holder
33. Almost the Last Story by Almost the Last Man — Scott Edelman
34. How the Day Runs Down — John Langan

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