All Things Urban Fantasy's Reviews > 21st Century Dead

21st Century Dead by Christopher Golden
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Jan 15, 2012

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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 zombie story I’ve ever read. The zombie crèche is a horrible image, made no less haunting by the prospect of a cure being found. Stephanie Crawford and Duane Swierczynski explore the pain of a zombie recovery in TENDER AS TEETH, as well as how our media may interact with the phenomena. I liked their human, pained exploration of infamy a lot more than S. G. Browne’s REALITY BITES, which was more of an indictment of Hollywood’s carnivorous machine than a zombie story.

From mysterious plagues to alien attacks, there are many flavors of zombie in 21st CENTURY DEAD, but the themes of loss and grief pervade them all, (other than REALITY BITES). Cancer, neglect, Tourette’s… there are many pains that make these characters’ lives difficult. Golden’s anthology has me embracing his opening hypothesis; when this myriad of ever day heartbreaks is contrasted with zombies, you can’t help but find some release.

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