Damn you Peter Mark May, just when I though I had purged the last zombie form my reading list, you had to go and publish this rather fine anthology, that shows, and I really hate myself for saying this, there may well be a flicker of life in this rotten and bloated genre. To be honest any flicker of life in the genre is probably more done to the talent held within these pages, I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to pick up the latest 99p offering from the next big thing in zombir fiction.
So lets get down to the nitty gritty, Peter Mark May has collected 21 Alternative Zombie stories. Featuring original short stories from David Williamson, Alison Littlewood, Joe McKinney Mark West, Jan Edwards, Stuart Young, Richard Farren Barber, Katherine Tomlinson, R.J. Gaulding, Stuart Hughes, Rachelle Bronson, Adrian Chamberlin William Meikle, Shaun Hamilton, Stephen Bacon Dave Jeffery, Gary McMahon, Shaun Jeffrey Jay Eales, Selina Lock, Zach Black Plus a bonus story only available in the print version of Alt-Zombie Hersham Horror Books, we don’t do reprints only newly written works of horror fiction. As you can see from the list of authors, there was just no way I could pass on reading original stories from somre of my favourite new authors.
I hear you ask, what do you mean by alternative? Well, rather than just going over the same old ground, the stories here have tried and for the whole part manages to bring something new to the table. Don’t expect an anthology full of post apocalyptic zombie fiction. In fact there are a couple of stories where you’ll be asking yourself, how is this a zombie story? But when the realisation of where the story is going and the reveal at the end of it, you’ll realise that you have just read an brilliant entry in the genre.
And even when the book takes on the post apocalyptic themes, the authors make their stories fresh and full of bite. A good example of this is Stuart Young’s White Light, Black Fire, where a women travelling with a group of survivors harbours a deadly and violent secret.
Gary McMahon, and Adrian Chamberlin, serve up wonderful religious themed stories. With Gary’s set in the the time of Jesus, and Adrian’s set in a futuristic post apocalyptic world. Both of these stories while brilliant and self contained, had me hankering for a novel length adaptations of both stories.
Mark West, punchy little story about how the start of a zombie plague literally impacts on everday day life is a cracking read.
Alison Littlwood’s story is one of those aforementioned stories where the zombie element is very tenuous, Soul Food is a moving story that illustrates just what can be done within the genre perfectly.
Jan Edwards’ Midnight Twilight is an such story. This is a really good story, that is made brilliant by the the final reveal. I really need to read more about the Stallo.
Willie Meikle, once again shows that he is a master of fun action packed story, The Silent Dead, is another damn fine instalment in the continuing adventures of Angus Seaton. Where Angus must travel to Loch Leven to put down a suspected zombie plague. Be warned though after reading this story you will want to seek out more of Mr Seaton, you will be desperate to find out more about the adventurer and his mystical sword.
All in all this is an excellent anthology a couple of the stories didn’t work for me, for example I felt Blind Date by David Williamson was trying to be too clever for its own good. But when you consider you get 21 stories here it’s not surprising that a few of them won’t work.
A shout out has to be given to Mark West, yet again he has produced a really good looking book. And thank you for not only having a table of contents, but also putting the titles of the stories at the top of the page. The last zombie anthology I read had neither, crazy I know.
This book is highly recommended, I’m not sure if there is anyone out there who is as jaded with the the whole zombie genre as I am, yet I had a great time reading this book. Hat’s off to you Mr May, you have done a grand job.