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The Living Dead

(The Living Dead #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  8,874 ratings  ·  356 reviews
Ideal for fans of iZombie, Colin Morgan, The Walking Dead, iZombie comics, Resident Evil anthology, Evil Dead anthology, and the Joe Hill graphic novel collection
A compilation of the best zombie literature of the past 30 years
Highlights works by today’s most well-known and respected authors of speculative fiction, horror, and fantasy

Zombies have invaded popular culture,
Paperback, 504 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Night Shade
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A~ In the foreword the editor states they were not doing parts of a story. As far as I know the only zombie stories she wrote were her trilogy and…moreIn the foreword the editor states they were not doing parts of a story. As far as I know the only zombie stories she wrote were her trilogy and stories in that trilogy. This is why Max Brooks was not included as well.(less)
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Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well I decided to read these stories as they were on my kindle. I bought them for my daughter who hadn’t read them and now has her own kindle so is unlikely to. So I felt I should read them.
What a surprise I got as it turns out I enjoy zombie stories. Who knew???
As in most short story collections some stories are better than others but they are all very readable and interesting.
A good read and page turner.
Larry McCloskey
May 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A collection of zombie stories that truly does deliver more than what you'd expect. Zombie fans MUST check this book out, but what sets it apart is that there's enough here for other people as well.

"This Year's Class Picture" sets things up nicely, catching the reader off guard with it's ending and setting the stage for several different looks at the "life" of the undead. This is far more than stories of blood and gore, but many hinge on lost humanity (and even regained humanity in some cases)
Michael Fierce
Some major duds in this collection but the few gems pushed this up to a 4 star read.
Parts were very interesting, but it somehow didn't work for me. Maybe it is the sheer volume of zombies in all their various formats, both as subject and as backdrop. I made it through about a quarter of the book and gave it up. No fault of the writers, more an incompatibility between myself and zombies in short stories.
Timothy Ward
Nov 20, 2011 marked it as to-read
Dan Simmons's This Year's Class Picture

As the intro story to The Living Dead, I came into this read with high expectations. Dan places the reader into the life of a remarkably interesting woman, on a particularly important day. An elderly school teacher, and potentially the last teacher on Earth, impressed me with her resolve to survive. They say you have to keep your mind working or you'll lose it. Well, she does so by maintaining her teaching routine with a full class of children zombies. The
Apr 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
The Living Dead is a collection of mostly boring stories. A lot of them are really bad. A couple of them are good. Some don't even feature any zombies at all. I'll share with you the notes I made after each chapter:

-Some Zombie Contingency Plans, by Kelly Link:
I feel cheated, there are no zombies in this story, only a guy thinking about them.

-Death and Suffrage, by Dale Baily:
Not a zombie story, although zombies are present. Interesting premise.

-Blossom, by David J. Schow:
Umm... Ok?

Oct 24, 2008 rated it it was ok a lot of short story collections, tons of junk and a few gems sprinkled in to keep you interested. There were three or four that redeemed this and almost makes me want to give three or four stars, but really (like most of the zombie genre) too much bad writing. Schoolteacher story was amazing though, so won't sell this back just because of that one.
Nov 19, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: zombies, fiction, 2009, horror
Rather than write about all 34 stories in this collection, I’ll write about my top five, in no particular order.

* “Followed” by Will McIntosh is the best story in the collection. It supposes a world in which the dead rise and instead of attacking the living, they follow them. But the dead seek out and follow people who “deserve it” according to some sort of cosmic justice. The more exorbitant your lifestyle, the more zombies choose to follow you.
* “How the Day Runs Down” by John Langan. A
Dec 17, 2008 rated it liked it
*Spolier warning* The subject matter of this collection of short stories is, of course, zombies. Zombies of all flavors. From Romero-style "hungry dead," to the classic Haitian voodoo , to metaphorical zombies (such as couch-potatoes and mindless consumers). As far as anthologies go, I was pleasantly surprised. Some of the writing was bad, most was good, and some was very, very good.

In particular, "Some Zombie Contingency Plans" by Kelly Link, "Bobby Conroy Comes Back from the Dead" by Joe
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
When I first picked up this book, I expected to encounter a rash of stories about heroic survivors of a zombie apocalypse bravely blowing the heads off of everything they see (which, admittedly, is fun in its own way). I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is true of none of these stories. They are far more complex and creative than the video-game horror stories found elsewhere (World War Z) and many stand alone as great stories(even outside the zombie genre, whatever that entails).

Brian Steele
Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
This is not a collection of Zombie short stories. No, this is a brilliant collection of short stories that happen to be about Zombies. Trust me - there's a difference.

You'll find very few cliches here, very few pieces of bad writing, very few "filler" stories. You will find some of the best speculative fiction writers currently out there today contributing fascinating works concerning the human condition and our preoccupation with the mysteries of death. And while Stephen King, Neil Gaiman,
Oct 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: zombies
I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point a very large portion of the horror fiction writer community decided that to write a good zombie story, some person in the story needs to have sex with a zombie. Or a zombie has to have sex with a person. Or the zombies need to have sex with each other.

About 1/3 of the way through this book I was starting to roll my eyes and say to myself, "Oh god, not ANOTHER person getting it on with a walking corpse..."

This phenomena is present in about 60-70%
Cupcakes & Machetes
Rated 2 star based solely on the few stories I read by my preferred authors.

None of these short stories were all that great to me. Each was mediocre at best.

Sex, Death and Sunshine by Clive Barker
Probably the best of the short stories that I read. The man really knows how to compare theater to blow jobs.

Those Who Seek Forgiveness by Laurell K. Hamilton
A peek into Anita's every day job. Interesting, but you're not missing anything in the series if you don't read it.

Bobby Conroy Comes Back from
Feb 09, 2009 rated it liked it
A pretty solid anthology, though there were quite a few misses within. I was really hoping for more that had been commissioned for the work, because the works by many of the big names (King, Barker, Gaiman, Partridge, Hill, Hamilton) were ones I'd read before.

That said, there were some stories I really liked. Joe R. Lansdale's was really good, as most of his work is. I'd like to see more stories or a novel based on Jebidiah. And Dan Simmons' "This Year's Class Picture" was outstanding.

Worth a
Lots of good zombie stories, but not all fall into the traditional George Romero type stories. For example, Joe Hill's story is about two high school sweethearts who reunite while playing extras in Romero's filming of Dawn of The Dead. A lot of great material, but someone just looking for different takes on the Romero style zombies may be disappointed.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I don't know what Imp of the Perverse caused me to pick The Living Dead as my next read. Does the death of a loved one plus surviving a natural disaster equal time to read Zombie fiction? Psychologists (armchair and otherwise) make of that what you will. This was an enjoyable anthology in any event. Let's name drop: there are stories here by Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg, George R R Martin, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Joe Hill, Clive Barker, Poppy Z Brite, Dan Simmons, Laurell K Hamilton, ...more
Rachel Pieters
3.5 stars actually. It's so hard to rate a collection of stories from different authors because some were excellent, and some I couldn't even finish. Overall, the problem I had with a fair number of these short stories was that (and one author even points this out in an introduction to her story) it seems the authors are all trying to out sex-shock each other, if that makes sense. Like, "how wild and graphic and horrid and pointless can we make this sex scene?" And the authors that didn't have ...more
Stuff I Read - The Living Dead ed. John Joseph Adams Review

What to say about a HUGE anthology of zombie stories? Really, a lot of it comes down to the fact that zombies are a bit of a harder sell to me. I just don't get as into zombies as I could for a number of reasons, but that was probably why I picked up the book, to challenge myself to try out some stories that I would otherwise probably not read. And the table of contents definitely has some big and interesting names in it. And I will
I thoroughly enjoyed (and by thoroughly I mean every single selected story) Wastelands, a similar collection by the same editor, wherein the theme was more broadly apocalyptic. The Living Dead was not quite that strong a grouping, but there were some real gems. Zombies, as much as any other end-of-the-world scenario, provide plenty of material for the philosophical, for levels of human interest, and for terrifying situations. Right up front I was interested to read the Poppy Z. Brite story, ...more
H. Anne Stoj
Apr 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthology, horror
I love this time of year. October is coming and a girl's fancy turns to the undead. Or at least this girl's does and in the idea of zombies (or vampires that ash out in sunlight rather than sparkle like lip-gloss from Bonnie Bell.)

So, what does that mean? It's time to brush off the zombie collections and novels (the few that I have thanks to being fussy) and prepare for Halloween spookiness where I will, no doubt, freak myself out as I've rediscovered all the gore and whatnot that didn't bother
Kate Lansky
Sep 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
There are some amazing stories in here, and a few that, to be honest, I didn't much care for.

First off, don't go in to this expecting every story to be a standard zombie tale. Don't go in expecting everything to be scary, either. Go in to this expecting a very, very wide spectrum of tales, and an equally wide definition of what it means to be living dead. In some stories you do see classic zombies (the very first is a good example), or are only mild departures from the classic, devastating
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Some stories are excellent and some thoroughly suck so I have rated the book overall 3. Below I have graded each story separately with a brief comment.

This year's class picture (Dan Simmons) **** unique and interesting idea. I only wish the behaviour management plans were allowed for y9s be so much easier to keep them sitting still if you could chain them up without having to spend months on operant conditioning them.

Some Zombie Contingency Plans (Kelly Link) * truly dreadful. Not much story
J. McClain
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a very satisfying read. I went in thinking I'd be reading all things zombie, when in point of fact the title of the collection suggests a wider meaning. This is borne out in the stories. Numerous aspects of the idea of a reanimated human is explored here, from science-fiction-focused works such as Michael Swanwick's "The Dead" and George R. R. Martin's "Meathouse Man," to those that reference Haitian vodou such as "Bitter Grounds by Neil Gaiman and "Zora and the Zombie" by Andy Duncan.

Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Many excellent stories, and a wonderfully wide variety of perspectives on zombies. I particularly liked the stories by
Dan Simmons,
George R.R. Martin,
Stephen King,
Catherine Cheek,
Dale Bailey,
Nina Kiriki Hoffman,
Michael Swanwick,
Susan Palwick,
Joe Lansdale,
Nancy Kilpatrick,
Neil Gaiman, and
Will McIntosh
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
A sad cautionary tale about how even the best roster (basically, everybody who's anybody in sf/f) does not guarantee that the anthology won't fail: and this one fails SO HARD. The stories are either way too predictable (say, Stephen King's short story reads like a grocery list of all his recurring motifs, and almost veers off into the realms of unconscious self-parody), while others are naive political ramblings about the current geopolitical doings. They are clearly about their times and of ...more
Fantasy Literature
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I never knew there were so many ways to tell a zombie story. I pretty much thought that the George Romero version was it — dead people wandering around holding their arms out in front of them and calling out “braaaaaaains,” looking to munch on the living. I never did know why they had to hold their arms that way, but they all did — I thought.

John Joseph Adams has chosen his material wisely in The Living Dead, a collection of short stories about zombies by some of the biggest and best names in
Ralph Wark
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better than most anthologies....

The problems with anthologies is, by telling time you finish that, you have trouble remembering all the bloody stories. And this is no different, save for the quality of stories, which was better than average, and the nicely done introductions for the authors, a bit of background on them and the tale. With authors like George R.R.Martin, Laurell Hamilton, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Clive Barker, it's hard to miss. There are some nice variations here,
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-hallow-s-eve
I’ll admit that zombies can be tiresome; not much personality, kind of slow, easily defeated on a one-to-one basis. Certain liberties must be taken with the mythos to make such creatures interesting over the course of 400+ pages, but Adams puts in just the right mix of classic monster mayhem and mythological experimentation to make the whole of The Living Dead an absolutely spectacular collection. There is everything a zombiphile could want; gore, satire; parody, gore, emotion, comedy, gore, ...more
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: zombies
I really really really wanted to like this collection of short stories. I mean, I really wanted to. I love zombies and zombie stories and movies but, in the end I only found a few to be enjoyable and the rest to be mediocre or just plain boring. A couple of the stories such as "Almost the Last Story by Almost the Last Man" and "This Year's Class Picture" are definitely worth checking out but, they are so few and far between that it would be hard to justify a purchase.....even if you are a zombie ...more
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dark, zombies
I was expecting good ol' fashioned zombie stories. But what I got instead was a bunch of overly creative garbage with barely any gore in it. Aside from the first story and a few in the middle, there was very little worthwhile in this collection. Most of the zombies didn't even eat people! One story didn't even contain zombies, but rather, took place on the set of a zombie movie. YAWN. A lot of the zombie stories had the zombies talking and thinking and being very unzombie-like. They seemed to ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's the Name o...: Prostitute comes back from the dead [s] 6 161 May 30, 2013 01:18PM  
Bookworm Buddies: Zombie reading pack for November-DONE 14 46 Nov 16, 2012 11:18AM  
Some Zombie Contingency Plans (spoiler) 1 14 Nov 20, 2011 08:07PM  
Zombies!: Has anyone read this? 7 41 Mar 17, 2009 09:03AM  

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John Joseph Adams is the series editor of BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY. He is also the bestselling editor of many other anthologies, such as ROBOT UPRISINGS, DEAD MAN'S HAND, BRAVE NEW WORLDS,WASTELANDS, and THE LIVING DEAD. Recent and forthcoming books include WHAT THE #@&% IS THAT?, OPERATION ARCANA, PRESS START TO PLAY, LOOSED UPON THE WORLD, and THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH ...more

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“There was something about clowns that was worse than zombies. (Or maybe something that was the same. When you see a zombie, you want to laugh at first. When you see a clown, most people get a little nervous. There's the pallor and the cakey mortician-style makeup, the shuffling and the untidy hair. But clowns were probably malicious, and they moved fast on those little bicycles and in those little crammed cars. Zombies weren't much of anything. They didn't carry musical instruments and they didn't care whether or not you laughed at them. You always knew what zombies wanted.)” 15 likes
“Dying hurts," said Ari. "It won't make you happy. It won't make anybody happy.” 0 likes
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