Zombies: A Compendium by Otto Penzler

a review by Ant, in the genre(s) Fantasy. Book published by Corvus Books in January 2012

Brains, Brains, BRAINS!, you just have to love those lurching, decaying animated corpses. The living dead make a great enemy and here we have wall-to-wall flesh eating monsters, ghouls and things that go bite in the night, brought to (un)life by some of the best horror and fantasy writers in the world.

A companion volume to the incredible collection of The weird, it's a book that is vast in scope and gargantuan in size - The Worlds Biggest Zombie Anthology - including the first ever short story featuring Zombies (although the much earlier Frankenstein by Mary Shelley featured the "re-animated" dead as it's main plot). W.B. Seabrook wrote "Dead men working in Cane fields" in 1929 and claimed that it was entirely factual without "fiction or embroidery" and was based on his visit to Haiti. Make of that what you will but by any reckoning it's a little disturbing. It is also interesting to note that until George R Romeo re-invented the Zombie in 1968 (inspired of course by Richard Matheson's novel I am Legend) they didn't have a taste for human flesh - something I wasn't actually aware of.

The Compendium contains work from some of the finest (and some of the most prolific) writers including H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, Richard Laymon, Kevin J Anderson, Richard Matheson, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, Robert McCammon, August Dereleth, Theodore Sturgeon and Michael Swanwick - amongst others.

There are some really great stories contained within, with a wide range of styles and different voices, all celebrating the lurching undead. There are some real gems inside, many of which show the Zombie in a different light. If you have even the slightest interest in Zombies or indeed Horror then this book should be in your collection, it's like a bible of the re-animated, eclectic and magical it will keep even the fastest reader entertained for weeks.

The List in full:

  • W.B. Seabrook Dead men working in the cane fields
  • David A. Riley After Nightfall
  • Hugh B. Cave Mission to Margall
  • Chet Williamson The Cairnwell Horror
  • Arthur Leo Zagat Crawling Madness
  • Lisa Tuttle Treading the Maze
  • Karen Haber Red Angels
  • Michael Marshall Smith Later
  • Vivian Meik White Zombie
  • Guy de Maupassant Was it a Dream
  • Steve Rasnic Tem Bodies and Heads
  • Dale Bailey Death and Suffrage
  • Henry Kuttner The Graveyard Rats
  • Edgar Allan Poe The Facts in the case of M.Valdemar
  • Yvonne Navarro Feeding the Dead inside
  • Charles Birkin Ballet Negre
  • Geoffrey A. Landis Dead Right
  • Graham Masterton The Taking of Mr Bill
  • Jack D'Arcy The Grave Gives Up
  • H.P. Lovecraft Herbert West - Re-animator
  • H.P. Lovecraft Pickman's Model
  • Robert Bloch Maternal Instinct
  • Kevin J Anderson Bringing the Family
  • Richard Laymon Mess Hall
  • Sheridan Le Fanu Schalken the Painter
  • Thorp McClusky While Zombies Walked
  • Mary A. Turzillo April Flowers, November Harvest
  • Mort Castle The Old Man and the Dead
  • Henry S. Whitehead Jumbee
  • Peter Tremayne Marbh Bheo
  • Thomas Burke The Hollow Man
  • Anthony Boucher They Bite
  • Gahan Wilson Come One, Come All
  • Ramsey Campbell It Helps if you Sing
  • R. Chetwynd-Hayes The Ghouls
  • Seabury Quinn The Corpse-Master
  • F. Marion Crawford The Upper Birth
  • Ralston Shields Vengeance of the Living Dead
  • Harlan Ellison & Robert Silverberg The Song the Zombie Sang
  • John H. Knox Men Without Blood
  • Uel Key The Broken Fang
  • Theadore Sturgeon IT
  • Day Keene League of the Grateful Dead
  • Garry Kilworth Love Child
  • Edith & Ejler Jacobson Corpses on Parade
  • Richard & Christian Matheson Where there's a Will
  • Michael Swanwick The Dead
  • Many Wade Wellman The Song of the Slaves
  • H.P. Lovecraft The Outsider
  • Robert McCammon Eat Me
  • Joe R. Lansdale Deadman's Road
  • Robert E.Howard Pidgeon's from Hell
  • Scott Edelman Lives People Don't Understand
  • August Derleth & Mark Schorer The House in the Magnolias
  • Stephen King Home Delivery
  • Arthur J. Burks Dance of the Damned
  • Theadore Roscoe Z is for Zombie

Written on Monday 23rd January 2012 by . 5 Star Rating

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Zombies: A Compendium, a novel by Otto Penzler

Book Details

  • Zombies: A Compendium
  • Publisher: Corvus Books
  • ISBN: 9780857890276
  • Published:
  • Pages: 832
  • Format reviewed: Paperback
  • Review date: January, 2012
  • Language: English
  • Age Range: