Saturday, September 5, 2015
Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance
Yes, you read that right: zombie romance. This is the second anthology on the subject I've read and the first was mostly disappointing, featuring human romance in a zombie setting rather than actual zombie romance. Here are my brief thoughts on stories I have strong feelings about. Spoilers may follow.
* First, the cover is perfect: a buff zombified romance hero with flowing hair holding a possibly zombified woman. It's gruesome and hilarious.
* Too many of these stories are cliche romances with any combination of humans and zombies falling in love, but a few did something different. A couple of the worst ones had the cheesiest dialog and cartoonish situations.
* Romance Ain't Dead by Jeremy Wagner
A man's wife dies and is quickly brought back as a zombie. Unfortunately that means that she can't actual walk or talk or do anything at all except sit there. The man thinks he's so awesome taking care of her and raping her (hopefully) unaware, undead body. This story was gross. The wife didn't ask to be zombified and who knows what her experience is like. It's like a zombie version of A Rose for Emily. Just ick.
* Everyone I Love is Dead by Elizabeth Caldwell
A woman is in love with a human and a zombie. What to do? Her solution is a threesome, which is fine, but then she decides to turn the human into a zombie. Why? It's weird and doesn't have an explanation.
* First Love Never Dies by Jan Kolowski
This one has some pretty dark subject matter. A rich man has turned zombie after pimping out both zombies and children for the enjoyment of himself and other degenerates. A cop must save his childhood love from her deranged, possibly zombified father. I liked that the romance wasn't the focus of the story and it's one of the few with a tragic ending. Kind of depressing but good.
* Last Times at Ridgemont High by Kilt Kirkpatrick
A loser teen is teased and the zombie apocalypse happens, making him irresistible to women. The story is seriously written like a teenage-boy-wish-fulfillment-porno. Sex is totally the first thing on every woman's mind in a life threatening situation. The ending is mindnumbingly stupid. Hope you guys enjoy your orgy until you are either eaten by zombies, starve to death, or die of thirst. This is particularly disappointing since the title's namesake is actually a good film that was based in harsh reality.
* First Date by Dana Fredsti
This story is pretty decent and cute, but a few things right off the bat bothered me. In a conversation with her lackluster date, he says Hostel is his favorite horror movie and she's quick to dismiss torture porn as not horror. Pump your breaks. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's not a part of its genre. Ugh. This is one of my pet peeves. Other than that, the story is enjoyable and definitely Dana Fredsti's signature style.
* Captive Hearts by Brian Keene
This is by far the best story in the entire anthology and one of the shortest. It's chock full of depravity, sweet sweet revenge, zombie love, and some harsh realities. This is the only one that melds romance and horror so both are truly effective. The love displayed here is absolute and slightly depraved. An abused woman gets satisfying revenge and helps her disabled lover in the process. Brian Keene knows how to construct a story and he really shines here. It's both sweet and incredibly disturbing. It's also a satisfying bit of narrative. Too many of these are either too short and abrupt or I wish I could see more of the world they created. This one is just right: the perfect short story.
Overall, the anthology was readable and enjoyable. It didn't take me too long to read and if I didn't enjoy a story, there was another one right after it.
My rating: 3.5/5 fishmuffins