Undead gone wild !
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia (voodoo zombie - I couldn't find the book's cover)"][/caption]
"Zombie Zoology" is just about as wild as it gets. All puns aside, I am really impressed with this book. I was a little skeptical at the beginning when I bought the book, because I wasn't sure how many zombie tales could involve animals and yet still be fresh and exciting. Although the movie was a little monkey-heavy, it was still really interesting.
I don't think there is a story that I preferred over any of the others. Each story was unique and memorable. However, for the sake of tradition (and to hopefully get you to buy this book...) I will mention a few.
It's a good thing I'm not so much of a cat person as a dog person, or else "Yule Cat" would have me rethinking my choice of pets. Ted Wenskus really knows how to stick it to naughty children, but I think the idea of an ancient, legendary, zombie cat is a little much punishment (which only serves to amplify the effect of the story. So much horror for so little a transgression.) The story goes that on Christmas Eve in Iceland, you need to wear something new or else the Yule Cat will get you. One young man learns the hard way when his petulant little sister is snatched that some legends are not meant to be messed with. The story was well written - and believe me, you will never look the same way at a cat ! To say the least, the imagery of the Yule Cat itself was very effective and creepy.
"Loss of Vector" by William Wood is a particularly freaky tale. It details the voyage of some astronauts trying to recover a set of experiments from a defunct shuttle. What they find isn't what they expected. A still-alive (sort of) chimp is only the first of their worries. The atmosphere of the story is very effective and chilling - I had to sleep with my light on for most of the night over the next week or so.
J. Gilliam Martin's "Gift Horse Mouth" was absolutely crazy. Reading this story is not unlike being flipped upside down and slammed repeatedly into the floor. Every time I thought that the kid's life couldn't get worse (what's worse than a dead father, a drugged-up mother who sells herself in town and is never around, losing your best friend, etc.) something else happened. Adding to that a Satan-crazed friend who decides that there is no other course of action than demonic resurrection and possession and you have a hell of a tale. I think the worse part of the story is that throughout, you know that every decision that the characters are making is terribly wrong, and the outcomes are worse than you expect.
Bryan Pinkerton certainly knows how to draw a morbid laugh from his readers. "SWAT" follows an elite group bent on keeping the zombie plague contained. There's just one little obstacle. Or, a million little obstacles, depending on your point of view. Finally, a story that addresses the idea that blood-borne pathogens such as a zombie virus should be carried by mosquitoes. The story is hair-raising, nerve-wracking, and will cause you to laugh at the sheer absurdity of the idea of humans surmounting the plague.
This is an excellent book ! It's a really nice detour from the usual zombie tales, and packs a punch. My only complaint is that there are a few more editing errors than normal, and while that didn't hinder my comprehension of the stories, it was irritating at times. That being said - you need to have this book on your shelf ! An extra plus is that the cover of "Zombie Zoology" sports one of the nastiest looking zombies ever. You can almost hear the shrill screaming of attacker and victim...