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The Living Dead by John Joseph Adams
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bookshelves: 2015-challenge, gothic-horror, short-story, stat_1, reviewed

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 admit that there are many good stories in this collection. Some great stories. But most of them hit me a bit soft and some I did not care for at all. At all. So it all evened out to a rather enjoyable experience, if not a particularly great one.

Probably one of the great things about the collection is that the authors go in so many different directions when it comes to zombies. It's not just the mindless walkers, or just anything. There are all sorts of flavors, with perhaps more of an emphasis on apocalyptic stories, but that has to be anticipated. Zombies. But there are also a lot of science fiction stories and some where the zombies might not be literal zombies. And most of the time the zombies are handled quite well. Most of the time zombies seem to stand for something. They are a walking, moaning metaphor for consumerism or racism or justice or something. Many of the stories use this technique to good effect. There's also a good amount of diversity in the characters in the stories, straight and queer, white and not-white, affluent and poor. So hurrah for that.

So in some ways this is an atypical zombie anthology. It meanders about and I can say that there's enough variety that I never was bored, exactly. I was tired by the end of all the death, because zombies don't exactly lend themselves to happy stories. And I might be back off zombie stories for some time, because damn this book is big and by the end I was rather sick of the shambling devils. Not that it was bad. Again, most of the stories are all right. Some are very good, and cover ground that I've never seen before or, at least, provide an interesting look at some aspect of zombiedom (zombiehood?). Some, though...some were not so good. Perhaps there is just something about zombies that sometimes plays into some rather troubling tropes. Luckily those stories that I really didn't like were spaced out and didn't completely turn me off to the collection.

And in the end I think fans of zombies should give this a try, because it does a lot that I haven't seen as much of in other zombie-flavored tomes. On a similar level, people who don't really like zombies can find a few things to like here, and for some people on the fence maybe this would sway them into giving more space for the sub-genre. For me, it didn't really bring me any closer to really liking zombie stories, but it did do a good job of showing that I can like stories with zombies in them. So for that I'm giving this collection a 6.5/10.
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Reading Progress

November 1, 2014 – Shelved
November 1, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
November 1, 2014 – Shelved as: 2015-challenge
February 14, 2015 – Started Reading
February 14, 2015 – Shelved as: gothic-horror
February 14, 2015 – Shelved as: short-story
February 14, 2015 – Shelved as: stat_1
February 14, 2015 –
page 68
13.49% "Some solid stories so far. Liking it..."
February 19, 2015 –
page 109
21.63% "Still good stuff here."
February 21, 2015 –
page 268
53.17% "A pretty good collection so far."
February 22, 2015 –
page 433
85.91% "I'm going to be burned out on zombie stories after this..."
February 23, 2015 –
page 504
100.0% "An all right collection. It's huge and now I'm a little...deadened to zombie stories."
February 23, 2015 – Finished Reading
March 5, 2015 – Shelved as: reviewed

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