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Zombie Apocalypse!
created by Stephen Jones
Robinson, 480 pages

Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones is the winner of multiple World Fantasy Awards, the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Awards, British Fantasy Awards and a Hugo Award nominee. A full-time columnist, television producer/director and genre movie publicist and consultant, Stephen Jones is also one of Britain's most acclaimed anthologists of horror and dark fantasy. He has edited and written more than 100 books, including: Shadows Over Innsmouth; Exorcisms and Ecstasies, a Karl Edward Wagner collection; and Clive Barker's A-Z of Horror. He is co-editor of a number of series including Best New Horror, Dark Terrors and Dark Voices. He lives in London, England.

Stephen Jones Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 21
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 20
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 19
SF Site Review: H.P. Lovecraft In Britain
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #18
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Monsters
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #17
SF Site Review: Shadows Over Innsmouth
SF Site Review: Dark Terrors 5
SF Site Review: White of the Moon
SF Site Review: Dark of the Night

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox

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Zombie Apocalypse! Zombies are big right now. Like, really, crazy big. True zombie fanatics have been around for decades, watching and re-watching George Romero films and adorning themselves with fake blood, torn clothes and shambling around while crying "brains" at Halloween. But in recent years zombies have really gone mainstream ranging from humorous independent films like Fido, to a big-budget comedy parody in Zombieland, video game franchises (and movies) like Resident Evil and critically acclaimed works such as The Walking Dead (both its comic book and AMC versions). And, unfortunately, that has led to a lot of zombie garbage being retched into the media as well.

Luckily, Stephen Jones' Zombie Apocalypse! is not among this garbage. The cleverly designed collection of short stories, strung together as journal entries, police reports, emails, texts, medical records and classified documents, tells of a near future London that, over the course of about a month, goes from being a country trying to celebrate its history in a failing economy, to ground zero of a massive zombie outbreak.

Compiled of no less than 37 short stories, the book is a phenomenal undertaking. The backbone story features the excavation of an old church. This leads to the discovery of a crypt sealed since the days of the bubonic plague by an eccentric, if not crazed, architect who believed interning a body for a certain length of time would bring it back to life to carry the souls of the dead. Jones' tale does get a little muddled here as the initial idea behind the resurrection seems mystical, but then it appears the fleas from the bubonic days are reanimating the corpses… but then it gets even fuzzier as a simple scratch may pass it on the plague, or even touching the bile-like blood of the deceased might do it.

The account takes its time (ALMOST too much) to really get going, peppering the early pages with hints and the usual non-believers and eye-rollers. But when it does hit, it's full zombie carnage. Unlike Max Brooks's World War Z which, although retold through a series of personal accounts, seems to talk with one voice, each entry in Zombie Apocalypse! has a very unique style. Since so many writers were employed to pen the stories and as each entry is supposedly from a journal recollection or internet post, this works well. However this does lead to some annoying discrepancies, from the infection's origins to how the zombies act. Some are mindless, some go for brains, some retain memories of their past and even intelligence and some are carnivorous animals just devouring flesh.

The early recountings are confined to a specific area in London. The best zombie stories will parody current political and social issues and the first part of the book does that eloquently, giving the reader a very British feel and flavor. But the story does lag a little when the plague goes global. When stories from other countries come into play it almost seems forced, as if the book loses a little of its way.

As a whole, Zombie Apocalypse! is a great read for any zombie fan. Of particular note are the story "Minutes of Meeting" and the copy of the actual communication sent out to emergency services. The ending has a very interesting and poignant twist, leading the reader to see that those who do manage to survive Zombie Apocalypse! will be living in a very brave and very flesh-hungry new world.

Copyright © 2011 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been Star Trek characters, the Riddler in a Batman stunt show and holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University. He has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories while acting on stage, screen and television. He can sometimes be seen giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood and playing Norman Bates.


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