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21st Century Dead: A Zombie Anthology (Rot & Ruin)

3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  353 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
The Stoker-award winning editor of the acclaimed, eclectic anthology The New Dead returns with 21st Century Dead, and an all-new lineup of authors from all corners of the fiction world, shining a dark light on our fascination with tales of death and resurrection... with ZOMBIES! The stellar stories in this volume includes a tale set in the world of Daniel H. Wilson’s Robop ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published July 17th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published June 19th 2012)
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
What would zombies look like in the 21st century? Instead of hiding them or destroying them, could we normalize them? Teach our children how to live in a zombie-occupied world? Watch for signs of infection the way we watch for sneezes and fever? The stories in this anthology of recent zombie fiction ask these questions and more.

A few highlights:

Biters, by Mark Morris, has young children bringing baby zombies home for a school project. I think I'd prefer the baby wets-a-lot or a sack of flour ov
Eva Leger
(3 stars) Biters by Mark Morris - This took me a bit to get into and I ended up liking the ending much more than the beginning. It's a short story but the 'why' of what the kids were doing wasn't explained clearly enough. I also thought they talked like elementary school-aged children when in fact I learned they're 13. Seemed off...

(1 star) Why Mothers Let Their Babies Watch Television by Chelsea Cain - This sucked huge donkey d#*\. I don't know what else to say and I'm seriously. That's my comp
Dec 29, 2014 Piggie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short stories are still not my thing. And like all short story collections, I have a hard time giving an over all rating. I think that each story needs it own number. So, the rating I'm giving this is the over all reading expirence. I think the best thing about this collection is that it isn't your usual zombie stories. Each one of the short stories is unique and has an unusual approach; enough so that I'm not sure I'd call all of them zombie stories.

Here's what I thought of the various stories
P. Aaron Potter
Apr 08, 2014 P. Aaron Potter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
It's not the zombies' fault.

This was something of a disappointment. I can respect what Golden was trying to do here: having taken a (relatively minor) role in the renewal of interest in the zombie trope with his prior anthology, The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology, Golden felt compelled to revisit the well just ONE too many times with this rehash. The problem is that his particular charge in this collection was apparently to present atypical zombie stories. Thus, rather than shambling (or leaping)
Utterly Undead Reads
While I know some of the names behind the stories in here, some were new to me. Most of the stories are 3 or 4 star stories in my book, but there's some 5 stars in there, and a two star short story or two. Overall, a very good collection. There were no stories that I was sorely tempted to pass by unfinished, as sometimes happens in anthologies.

My favorites-
'Biters' by Mark Morris- It's the first story in the book and it deals with a situation long after the outbreak, when people have re-establis
Fran Jacobs
This is a real mixed bag. Most of the stories are entertaining and enjoyable, with different takes on the idea of zombies, from those who take a drug to bring it about, to disease, intentional and unintentional infestation, some are healed zombies, others are not. A real good mix of all sorts of things. A couple of the stories are brilliant, and a couple really suck.

A mother's love: This was one of the really great stories, disturbing, dark, and horrible, in a good way. I enjoyed this a lot.

Sep 04, 2012 Donald rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
21st Century Dead, edited by Christopher Golden, is the followup to his 2010 anthology The New Dead, which has garnered generally positive reviews. I can't comment beyond that as I haven't read it. I did read this one, though, and I imagine it'll receive similar reviews. I personally found it fairly middling, but to be fair I don't know if that's truly a reflection on the quality (or lack thereof) of the stories on simply that I'm getting burned out on zombies.

There were a couple of standouts, a
Aug 05, 2012 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with any and all short story anthologies, there are a few stinkers, but I was very impressed with the entirety of the book and how, after reading several stories consecutively, I didn't feel like I was being beat over the head (pun unintended) with the usual zombie cliche.

It's weird how the second to last story is almost always my favorite, and "The Happy Bird and Other Tales" is no exception. Rio Youers' work is absolutely flawless--and speaks, like all great stories do, to something within
Jul 08, 2012 Cassie-la rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-reads

Golden uses the stories in this anthology as a lens to process our 21st century fears, the fear of death, the unknown, etc. There are nineteen stories in all, some covering the literal undead while others tackle drug use, loss, media consumption and every zombie metaphor imaginable. Zombies are called the walking dead, Infects, workers, the NODS, survivors, Hamlin’s Revenge, and the Dead Ones. They’re created by the R1 Virus, use the Revena
I won an Advanced Reading Copy of this anthology through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program. I have to be honest and admit that I'm not a big zombie fan. I was mostly interested in this anthology because I had just read Robopocalypse, and I wanted to read more by Daniel H. Wilson (his story closes the anthology). While I wasn't too excited by the zombie concept, I was intrigued by the various authors takes on the monster. There are traditional depictions, but there are also many new take ...more
Nov 14, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is as the book of short stories all sharing the same theme - no real points for picking that little gem up. However the real point is the variety of the material - its most certainly varied. It has different perspectives, interpretations and even styles. Without giving any of it away there are some really quite clever stories here, taking the zombie them and not just giving it a twist, but a shake, squeeze and a rattle.
I thought that I had pretty much seen every use for the undead both phy
I was really Floored by this anthology. (yeah yeah, we all know I love Zombies, but...) Really, this isn't so much about Zombies, as it is about the human condition, and how we handle the CONCEPT of the living dead.

"The Walking Dead" on AMC became a phenomenon in part, because of the way in which it followed specific people and their varying views on the 'walkers'... the Zombies that have taken over their world.

This book takes that same people-centric viewpoint, and with every story, explores di
Kimberley doruyter
it's a bit of a strange mix.
some storys don't even have zombies as we know them in it.
most arn't scary and some are just strange.
but if you like just one of the storys in the book it's worth it.
and i had at least 5 i really liked.
Jul 13, 2012 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won this book as a early reviewer through Goodreads, and I am so glad! What a great anthology. Often times I am disappointed in anthologies as I enjoy only half of the stories, but with this one there were no weaknesses. "Biters" was a excellent choice to begin the journey! "Down and Out in Dead Town" was a masterful short piece that touched your sentiments and reminded me of the homeless in our urban city. I did not want "Ghost Dog and Pup " to end. "Tender as Teeth" was delicious, and "Paras ...more
Michael Donner
Book Review
Title: 21st Century Dead: A Zombie Anthology
Author: Christopher Golden (Editor)
Pages: 352
Publication Date: July 17th 2012
Basic Plot: The Stoker-award winning editor of the acclaimed, eclectic anthology The New Dead returns with 21st Century Dead, and an all-new lineup of authors from all corners of the fiction world, shining a dark light on our fascination with tales of death and resurrection... with ZOMBIES! The stellar stories in this volume includes a tale set in the world of Danie
Feb 06, 2015 Brendan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Each year, I pick a different anthology of zombie stories to read with my Zombies in Popular Media class. This year’s collection was pretty great. A few highlights:

- “Why Mothers Let Their Babies Watch Television: A Just-so Horror Story” by Chelsea Cain. Written with the feel of a classic folk tale, this story captures some of the drudgery of parenting.
- “How We Escaped Our Certain Fate” by Dan Chaon throbs with a dark melancholy of a ho-hum zombie world, where the undead can be dangerous, but t
May 26, 2014 Kain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 19, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jan_2016, 5-star
I love a good short story and this book delivers with both rotting hands. The zombie genre is just perfect for short stories. It gives you just enough meat to get a nice taste but doesn't smell up the place. A zombie short story can be just like a roller-coaster ride. It should be fast, intense, and leave you wondering what just happened. Some of my very favorite stories in this book:

Antiparallelogram by Amber Benson
Down and Out in Dead Town by Simon R. Green
Ghost Dog and Pup: Stay by Thomas E.
Oct 19, 2012 Andrew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great introduction on the meaning of the current obssession with zombies, but the stories themselves were disappointing.
Jul 17, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of horror stories staring our favorite horror creature, zombies! The collection runs the gamut of stories. Some quite grotesque, and some with nary a brain in site. However, some will make you think, and even shed a tear. In fact, one had me hugging my puppy after reading it. Oh that one I could shake a fist at... I hate to cry!

In many of the stories, there are much more frightening things than the zombies. Even if the zombies weren't horrifying and quite docile, or even tho
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

Christopher Golden’s vision of the zombie apocalypse is a rich, dark, tapestry of humanity’s worst fears, our world and loved ones gone, violent and strange. Each story has its own spin on the source of the affliction, but the common thread that stole the show was how the zombie plague impacted the pain and loss already in the characters’ lives.

Mark Morris’s BITERS is the perfect opening for this anthology, at once more horrific and hopeful than any zom
Sep 06, 2012 Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who is a fan of zombies, horror, or anthologies
Recommended to Todd by: Jonathan Maberry, S.G. Browne, Christopher Golden
21st Century Dead is a perfect follow-up to 2010’s game changing splash The New Dead—which is currently one of the most and highest rated zombie anthologies on—wherein you will find a nice, tasty assortment of today’s freshest zombie varieties mixed in with a dash of the classic Romero-style Shambler.

Golden’s introduction, “Zombies are Good for You,” is a well-crafted prelude to exactly the kinds of things you’ll find inside the book and why he chose to include them. He then steps
Jarrod Scarbrough
This was an interesting anthology full of "modern" zombie stories. Interesting to see how many of the authors envisioned zombies with a 21st century twist. Some of the stories took the zombie mythos very loosely and the stories really had little to do with the theme. Standout story by far was "Ghost Dog and Pup" by Thomas E. Sniegoski, one which I don't think had anything to do with zombies but was still exceptional. Overall, this is a treat for horror and zombie fans!
I'm a big fan of anthologies and of zombies, this collection was good to quench my zombie craving. A few of the stories were memorable, creepy and really good; while others were forgettable, a bit long winded, and dull. But that's what you get when you read of collection of stories by various authors.
Jul 07, 2012 Vickie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zombies aren't always my first choice when I look for a paranormal critter to read about, but I changed my tune when I saw the list of authors on this anthology. Writers I admire like Jonathan Maberry, Brian Keene, Chelsea Caine, Simon R. Green, Thomas E. Sniegoski, Amber Benson, Caitlin Kittredge...all with a unique way of telling a zombie tale.
I don't typically dig anthologies as there are usually one or two really strong stories sandwiching a passle of weak ones. Not a weak tale in the bunch
Apr 02, 2013 Busky3 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
None of the stories make much of a lasting impression because the anthology is disappointingly careless in its construction. Stories that plumb the depths of human emotion and work hard to create a powerful effect on the reader are followed up by stories where one note jokes about zombie reality shows get dragged out forever or the Robopocalypse guy gets to tell another crappy story about how the robots in his fictional world were real bastards. This would have been a hell of a lot more powerful ...more
April Tolliver
Mar 24, 2015 April Tolliver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zombie-books
I love anthologies. so many styles, without having to wade through 300 pages of a book you don't like. I really enjoyed this book. most of the stories I found to be very well done.
Rebecca Jones
Mar 21, 2015 Rebecca Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating anthology! Unique, heart wrenching, hysterical, terrible and grotesque. I didn't love every story but i ate it all up what a page turner!
Ellie Brandt
Just ok. I was a little disappointed. Short stories are supposed to have an end; aren't they? Many of the stories didn't feel complete for me.
Melissa Dally
Apr 12, 2015 Melissa Dally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really interesting and creative collection of tales. Several non-traditional undead as well. There were a few duds, but there always are in a collection. Read this tho, it's good!
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Christopher Golden is the award-winning, bestselling author of such novels as The Myth Hunters, Wildwood Road, The Boys Are Back in Town, The Ferryman, Strangewood, Of Saints and Shadows, and (with Tim Lebbon) Mind the Gap. Golden co-wrote the lavishly illustrated novel Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire with Mike Mignola, which they are currently scripting as a feature film ...more
More about Christopher Golden...

Other Books in the Series

Rot & Ruin (10 books)
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  • Dust & Decay (Rot & Ruin, #2)
  • Flesh & Bone (Rot & Ruin, #3)
  • Fire & Ash (Rot & Ruin, #4)
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  • Bits & Pieces (Rot & Ruin, #5)
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“Put a gun in a young man's hands and call him a soldier. Doesn't make him a killer. Sew a stripe on his arm, a ribbon on his chest. Doesn't make him soulless.” 1 likes
“Without emotion, they died inside. They became the Dead Ones.” 1 likes
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