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  • Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!
  • Written by Otto Penzler
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780307740892
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Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!

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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents

Synopsis

Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! is the darkest, the living-deadliest, scariest--and dare we say most tasteful--collection of zombie stories ever assembled. It’s so good, it's a no-brainer.
 
There is never a dull moment in the world of zombies. They are superstars of horror and they are everywhere, storming the world of print and visual media. Their endless march will never be stopped. It's the Zombie Zeitgeist! Now, with his wide sweep of knowledge and keen eye for great storytelling, Otto Penzler offers a remarkable catalog of zombie literature. Including unstoppable tales from world-renowned authors like Stephen King, Joe R. Lansdale, Robert McCammon, Robert E. Howard, and Richard Matheson to the writer who started it all, W.B. Seabrook, Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! will delight and devour horror fans from coast to coast.
 
Featuring: 
   • Deadly bites
   • Satanic Pigeons
   • A parade of corpses
   • Zombies, zombies, and more zombies

 

Excerpt

Introduction
by Otto Penzler

ZOMBIES AIN'T WHAT they used to be. Not so long ago, they were safely ensconced on Haiti so the rest of the world could merely scoff at the bizarre myth of the living dead on one relatively small Caribbean island. Well, they have proliferated at an alarming rate, invading the rest of the world, and it seems unlikely that they have any intention of going away anytime soon.

W. B. Seabrook, in his 1929 book, The Magic Island, recounted “true” tales of voodoo magic on Haiti bringing the recently dead back to life as slow- moving, virtually brain-dead creatures who would work tirelessly in the fields without pay and without complaint. These stories introduced the zombie to much of the world, though most national folklores have similar tales and legends. A decade after Seabrook’s groundbreaking volume, Zora Neale Hurston researched Haitian folklore and told similar stories of eyewitness accounts of zombies, as have subsequent anthropologists, sociologists, and others not prone to imaginative fancies.

If zombie literature began with the reportage of Seabrook, it had powerful ancestral works on which to draw. Stories of the living dead, or ghouls, or reanimated people, have existed since the Arabian Nights tales and borrowed from other horror story motifs, from the lurching reanimated monster of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to the undead vampires of John Polidori’s The Vampyre and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Several of the most distinguished short-story writers of the nineteenth century turned to figures who had been dead but then, uh-oh, were alive. Edgar Allan Poe was almost relentless in his use of the dead coming back to life, most famously in “The Fall of the House of Usher” but most vividly in his contribution to this volume, “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.” Guy de Maupassant’s poignant “Was It a Dream?” lingers in the memory as an example of how a corpse leaving a grave can destroy the living without a single act or thought of violence. Ambrose Bierce’s famous “The Death of Halpin Frayser” may be interpreted as a ghost story, a vampire story, or a zombie story, and is equally terrifying as any of them; it is not included in this volume because I selected it for inclusion in The Vampire Archives.

Now a staple of horror fiction, zombies, as we know them today, have a very short history. Tales of resurrected corpses and ghouls were popular in the weird menace pulps of the 1930s, but these old-fashioned zombies had no taste for human flesh. For that, we can thank George Romero, whose 1968 film Night of the Living Dead introduced this element to these undead critters. Writers, being writers, took to this notion as a more extreme depiction of reanimation and have apparently made every effort to outdo one another in the degree of violence and gore they could bring to the literature.

While this incursion into the realm of splatterpunk may be welcomed by many readers, I have attempted to maintain some balance in this collection and have omitted some pretty good stories that, in my view, slipped into an almost pornographic sensibility of the need to drench every page with buckets of blood and descriptions of mindless cruelty, torture, and violence. Of course, zombies are mindless, so perhaps this behavior is predictable, but so are many of the stories, and I have opted to include a wider range of fiction. While the characters in early stories are not called zombies, they are the living dead (or, occasionally, apparently so), and they qualify for inclusion.

Inevitably, some of the most popular writers and their best stories will have been collected in other anthologies, so will seem familiar. For a definitive collection like this one, I wanted them to be included, so if you’ve already read the stories by H. P. Lovecraft, Poe, and Stephen King, skip them if you must, though they became popular because they are really good and bear rereading. On the other hand, you will find in these pages some stories that you’ve never read by authors of whom you’ve never heard, and you are in for a treat.

To cover the broad spectrum and significant history of zombie literature required a good bit of research, and I am indebted to the welcome and needed assistance of numerous experts in the genre, most notably John Pelan, Robert Weinberg, John Knott, Chris Roden, Joel Frieman, Michele Slung, and Gardner Dozois.

Table of Contents

Otto Penzler: Introduction
W. B. Seabrook: Dead Men Working in the Cane Fields
David A. Riley: After Nightfall
Hugh B. Cave: Mission to Margal
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 Nègre
Geoffrey A. Landis: Dead Right
Graham Masterton: The Taking of Mr. Bill
Jack D’Arcy: The Grave Gives Up
H. P. Lovecraft: Herbert West–Reanimator
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 Berth
Ralston Shields: Vengeance of the Living Dead
Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg: The Song the Zombie Sang
John H. Knox: Men without Blood
Uel Key: The Broken Fang
Theodore Sturgeon: It
Day Keene: League of the Grateful Dead
Garry Kilworth: Love Child
Edith and Ejler Jacobson: Corpses on Parade
Richard and Christian Matheson: Where There’s a Will
Michael Swanwick: The Dead
Manly Wade Wellman: Song of the Slaves
H. P. Lovecraft: The Outsider
Robert McCammon: Eat Me
Joe R. Lansdale: Deadman’s Road
Robert E. Howard: Pigeons from Hell
Scott Edelman: Live People Don’t Understand
August Derleth and Mark Schorer: The House in the Magnolias
Stephen King: Home Delivery
Arthur J. Burks: Dance of the Damned
Theodore Roscoe: Z Is for Zombie
Otto Penzler

About Otto Penzler

Otto Penzler - Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!

Photo © Carolyn Hartman

Otto Penzler is the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City. He was publisher of The Armchair Detective, the founder of the Mysterious Press and the Armchair Detective Library, and created the publishing firm Otto Penzler Books. He has twice received the Edgar Award, for The Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection and The Lineup: The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives, as well as the Ellery Queen Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his many contributions to the field. He is the editor of The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps, which was a New York Times bestseller, and several more Black Lizard anthologies, most recently The Big Book of Ghost Stories. He is also the series editor of The Best American Mystery Stories of the Year. His other anthologies include Murder for Love, Murder for Revenge, Murder and Obsession, The 50 Greatest Mysteries of All Time, and The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century. He wrote 101 Greatest Movies of Mystery & Suspense. He lives in New York City.
 


 
Praise

Praise

"Rollicking . . . Over-the-top . . . Hard to resist." --The Wall Street Journal

“We would do well to page through a wonderfully thorough new anthology of short fiction called, straightforwardly enough, Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! . . . Showcas[es] countless terrific writers, known and unknown. . . . If you like your zombies with a dose of literary erudition and horror fiction with character, intelligence, and atmosphere, be [sure to] pick this one up.” —SF Weekly
 
Presents a . . . nuanced portrayal of death brought to life—one to which Gen Xers, Gen Yers and others probably haven't been previously exposed. . . . high on drama, tension and a feeling of the macabre. . . . I’d say it’s a no-brainer.” —Mike Householder, Associated Press
 
“Splendid. . . . A full dance card of undead heavy hitters that range from the timeless (Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Richard Matheson) to the timely (Scott Edelman, Joe R. Lansdale, Dale Bailey).. . . . Zombie aficionados will eagerly embrace this controversial and comprehensive collection.” —Library Journal

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