First of all, I am always wary of anthologies; for example, I am concerned with the number of great stories vs. lame stories. I’ve also been such a big fan of Permuted Press that I have ridiculously high standards for my zombie horror, and May December Publications is one of those newbies, only recently gaining some recognition as a literary contender in the horror genre. Despite my reservations, this anthology rocked! Out of fifteen short stories, only one was not-so-good, but even the one I disliked was worth reading once.
Here’s a brief run-down of each story:
A redneck’s wife crawls out of the grave, and does something much worse than bite him; not much action or gore, until the ending.
Some National Guardsmen on a rescue mission into a hot zone full of DICs (Disease Infected Civilian or Deteriorating Infected Corpse); packed with bloody action, complete with wicked ending.
Hilarious story about a guy stuck in an orca costume during a zombie outbreak.
Takes place one year after outbreak; leftover zombies escape research facility. In just a few pages, Lyle has managed to expand zombie lore with some new tidbits.
A guy is trapped in his bathroom, writes his story on the walls; surprising amount of survival struggle in such a confined space.
Radio show host takes calls about reports of walking dead after space anomaly takes place; not unlike World War Z, with numerous callers sharing different perspectives.
A patient who hallucinates is instructed by her therapist/doctor to keep a journal, so she writes about seeing a zombie. Her doctor has her convinced the encounter was just another hallucination. Loved the ending!
Very brief, very sad. It was like reading about a mere moment in an outbreak.
A small group of survivors trying to flee city limits; just one more fantastic story for Tony to add to his list.
A guy hiding out in a Wal-Mart basement reminisces on his time there; one of my favorites in the anthology.
Soldiers attack a man’s family; with help from another survivor, he tries to rescue his wife & daughter. It was a good story about revenge, and I’m not one to focus on typos, but there appeared to be a deliberate use of italics which actually disrupted the flow of the story for me.
Takes place six years after initial outbreak; a zombie-traffic reporter (his reports help survivors know when it’s safe to scavenge) gets stranded in the middle of a huge horde after his helicopter crashes. One of the best of the anthology! It also takes place in the UK.
A journalist trapped in a flipped over armored transport writes about his experience with the religious zealots at the “Rapture Centers.”
A man travelling throughout the post-apocalypse, plays poker for his survival and the entertainment of others; too much dialogue (just kidding – private joke). This was a refreshing change of pace for the zombie genre, instead of the usual survival trek to safety. It is definitely one of the top stories in the anthology.
A guy specializes in killing baby and child zombies. It is one of the most tragic stories that I’ve ever read in any genre.
Another nice touch in the anthology was the fragmented news ticker that runs across the first page of each short story.
If May December Publications can keep producing quality books like this one, they should be able to make a name for themselves as one of the big horror publishers. Other books by MDP include Zomblog and Dead: The Ugly Beginning.