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The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology
edited by Christopher Golden
St. Martin's Griffin, 384 pages

The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology
Christopher Golden
Christopher Golden was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family. His original novels have been published in fourteen languages in countries around the world. He has written books for teens and young adults, including the thriller series Body of Evidence, honored by the New York Public Library and chosen as one of YALSA's Best Books for Young Readers. With Thomas E. Sniegoski, he is the co-author of the dark fantasy series The Menagerie as well as the young readers fantasy series OutCast and the comic book miniseries Talent, both of which were recently acquired by Universal Pictures. Working with actress/writer/director Amber Benson, he co-created and co-wrote Ghosts of Albion, an original animated supernatural drama for BBC online, from which they created the book series of the same name.

Christopher Golden Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Justice League of America: Exterminators
SF Site Review: British Invasion
SF Site Review: Mind the Gap

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Mario Guslandi

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In his Introduction to the volume, editor Christopher Golden acknowledges the fact that while the fascination with vampires is understandable, that's hardly the case with zombies. Agreed. So the fact that he set out to assemble an anthology of zombie stories is a sign of the man's audacity.

Truth be told, he has been seeking tales which would go beyond the usual, rather narrow limits of the classical clichés of zombie fiction, attempting to make the genre evolve towards new directions. A tough task, indeed, and while one must praise Golden's courage, sadly one must also recognize his substantial failure.

Now, don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that this is a bad anthology (many zombie fans will certainly find reasons for rejoicing) but in terms of quality most of the stories do not go past the border of the ordinary, and, as regards originality, too often, despite the editor's good intentions, they appear just weary and repetitive versions of spent themes.

Being not particularly fond of zombies (but certainly quite appreciative of good horror fiction in general), out of nineteen stories by the likes of Tim Lebbon, Brian Keene and Joe Hill, just to mention a few, I only found seven worthy of a honourable mention. Said stories are indeed remarkable pieces of fiction, able to ennoble the crude and gory subject of hungry, brainless walking dead.

The opening tale by John Connolly ("Lazarus") offers a dry, unsettling portrait of the most famous (un)dead, the resurrected Lazarus, brought back to a life which, for him, will never be the same as before.

Kelley Armstrong contributes "Life Sentence," a bittersweet parable featuring a wealthy man with only a few months to live who seeks survival as a zombie and who, unfortunately, succeeds…

Mike Carey's "Second Wind" is a very enjoyable, original report of a guy's transition into the zombie state and of his temporary, friendly arrangement with a living woman.

"Ghost Trap" by Rick Hautala is an atypical, fascinating yarn where a deep diver discovers the body of a man long dead yet not quite dead.

In James A. Moore's graphic "Kids and Their Toys" the body of a zombie is captured by a group of sick kids and becomes an unusual toy until the unforeseen takes place…

In the outstanding "What Maisie Knew," David Liss displays an extraordinary storytelling ability by describing in a compelling fashion how a reanimated corpse jeopardizes the quiet life of a reckless man.

Finally in the powerful, excellent "Shooting Pool" Joe R. Lansdale revolves around a pool game taking a very bad turn. Not really a zombie story, but a provocative tale reminding us that, after all, dead is dead. Period. So there!

Copyright © 2010 by Mario Guslandi

Mario Guslandi lives in Milan, Italy, and is a long-time fan of dark fiction. His book reviews have appeared on a number of genre websites such as The Alien Online, Infinity Plus, Necropsy, The Agony Column and Horrorwold.


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