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Flames

Dead Men (and Women) Walking Fiction Review

Posted on March 26, 2008 by Flames


Available at RPGNow.com

I find it difficult to write negative reviews. Generally speaking, no matter how bad something is, you can be certain that a fair amount of work went into it. The creator has invested time and effort into this one thing, and I always feel bad when I have to point out faults.

However, it’s quite clear that not much work went into this particular anthology. It’s full of grammatical and orthographical errors and the layout is inconsistent. As a reviewer, I find it quite hard to be open-minded about an anthology when it is this sloppy.

The poor production quality does undermine most of the stories in this collection. However, a number of the offerings don’t have that much to offer in the first place.

Some of the stories have interesting premises, but sabotage themselves with clunky writing or clumsy execution (the first two stories, Adam and Eve Versus the Human Race by Alexander Zelenyj and Waking Finnegan by Josh Benton are prime examples of this). Other stories have competent but unremarkable writing but tired, clichéd plots–A New Year’s Tale by Dave Bartlett starts off promising, but quickly turns into something extremely similar to The Hills Have Eyes.

There are a few pieces that are quite good. The two opening poems by Guy Belleranti are atmospheric and effective. Unfortunately, the rest of the poetry included in this anthology doesn’t work quite as well. But, it has to be said, revenants aren’t the most inspiring subjects when it comes to poetry.

Some of the shorter fiction was quite effective. Paul by E.P. Spader was both well-written and well-executed, and the fact that there was no plot was excusable due to the extreme shortness.

Two humorous pieces stand out. Old Habits, New Habits by Arthur Sanchez starts promisingly, with a novel and self-aware take on the zombie genre. Unfortunately, the ending lets it down.

The same can’t be said for Shop ‘Til You Drop. The title made me prepare for the worst, but this was actually the second-best story in the whole anthology. It is competently written, features a protagonist who is likeable despite herself, decent pacing, and a low-key but satisfying ending.

The stand-out contribution is, without a doubt, Under a Blanket of Blue by Donna Taylor Burgess. It shows a man’s desperation in a world ravaged by the undead. It is personal, touching, convincing, and well-written. In fact, along with the two humorous stories mentioned previously and the opening poetry, it is the only piece in the book that I truly enjoyed reading.

I would recommend people interested in zombie fiction to pick this up for Under a Blanket of Blue alone. However, on the whole, I can’t say many good things about this anthology. From the sloppy editing and layout to the mostly unremarkable stories, this anthology failed to impress me.

Review by Leah Clarke

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