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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Z: Zombie Stories, edited by J. M. Lassen

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Z: Zombie Stories

Edited by J. M. Lassen

(Night Shade Books, October 2011)

“Family Business” by Jonathan Maberry
“The Wrong Grave” by Kelly Link
“The Days of Flaming Motorcycles” by Catherynne M. Valente
“The Barrow Maid” by Christine Morgan
“You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Scott Nicholson
“The Dead Kid” by Darrell Schweitzer
“Seven Brains, Ten Minutes” by Marie Atkins
“The Third Dead Body” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
“The Skull-Faced Boy” by David Barr Kirtley
“The Human Race” by Scott Edelman
“Deepwater Miracle” by Thomas S. Roche (original)

Reviewed by Caroline E Willis

Z: Zombie Stories is an all-reprint anthology (save for one new piece) edited by J. M. Lassen and published by Night Shade Books. It focuses on the stories of kids and teenagers dealing with zombies. Most of them are set during an apocalypse; “The Barrow Maid,” however, is set in a Viking stronghold, and “The Wrong Grave,” “The Dead Kid,” and “The Third Dead Body” are set in more or less the modern world. “Family Business,” the opening piece, is set firmly post-apocalypse, and moved me to tears. All of the stories are well written, and explore different questions about the relationship between the undead and the living.

The last piece is the only original in the anthology. “Deepwater Miracle” by Thomas S. Roche is about a pair of brothers who are at sea on a family trip when the zombie apocalypse hits. They experience it over the radio, at first, then up close when their parents start to turn. After that, it’s just the brothers against the world.

“Deepwater Miracle” is a great palate cleanser after some of the more disturbing pieces; there is nothing like the hormone-fueled adrenaline of teenage boys to clear your head. Except, perhaps, an exceptionally well-written representation of the hormone-fueled adrenaline of teenage boys, combined with an ocean liner full of zombies and a powerboat full of gun-toting Texan pirates. Roche’s piece was the perfect end to an excellent anthology.