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I love science fiction and I love zombies. So I am a sucker for this sort of thing and will always purchase such an anthology... But, unfortunately, like a lot of average, not well thought out anthologies, this is a very, very mixed bag.
The introduction tries to put the choice of stories in a context and tie them together, talking about why zombies are so popular in science fiction/horror these days, and based on that it is almost plausible as a thought out compilation, until you have hear a few and realize that there wasn't a lot of thought or screening or discernment put into the selection.
Some are good, some are really bad and some make me wonder how they ever got published. There is a story about a ghost dog and his owner boy, which is anot a bad story (though not great) but it is erally a stretch to see how it is a zombie story at all, thus disproving the premise of a well thought through, connected and crafted compilation of zombie fiction. I believe this book was really just a way to get a group of stories together, most of which are zombie focused but which vary drastically in quality, in order to create and sell a book.
As I said, there are a few fun stories here - that are well written, well performed, fairly original, sometimes funny, sometimes clever, sometimes moving... but these really are the minority. The rest is pretty average or pretty bad stuff... Also, buyer beware, many are not approprite for a younger audience.
The performances, for the most part, are not bad, some are quite good. Scott Brick, of whom I am not a fan, was intolerable to me and in typical fashion was overly dramatic, over the top and completely trumped the story with a performance I am certain was not in keeping with the author's intent, was a major distraction, and made what seemed to be a decent story completely intolerable. But that is me (and many others actually if you google this guy) and I know he has a big fan base, so if you are a fan, this won't bother you. On the whole, aside from that one narrator, the narrators do a pretty good job in my opinion.
Overall, I think I would just say that this is just a random pick and mix bag of stories roughly and loosely connected, and since there really wasn't a lot of thought put into assmbling a top notch mix around a theme, you get a very varied mixture in terms of quality and creativity and originality and even in terms of fit to the defining theme... Some of the stories are worth a listen, some you really should avoid, and some you probably won't even realize when they are over as you became distracted very easily...
There are many better zombie fiction works out there... lots of them, and far better science fiction/horror anthologies. So I would encourage people to look around at options before buying this one. However, if you are like me and have probably already listened to all of these, it isn't the worst, but lower your expectations a bit... Not great but not a complete waste, a very mixed selection.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up 21st Century Dead in three words, what would they be?
Zombie short stories.
What did you like best about this story?
I love the variety of stories and the spin on putting Zombies firmly in the 21st century, sometimes with surprising results. Anyone who is a fan of The Walking Dead will enjoy the spin the writers (and narrators) put on these tales. There's less horror, maybe, but they're still really fun.
What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
There's a variety of narrators, just like there are a variety of writers and they add to the experience by (literally) giving different voices to each tale. It allows you as a listener to more fully separate each storyline, so you can really get immersed in it. Plus, you get a sample of different narrating styles. Not in a brain-eating way, but in an intellectually way.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
There's a couple of stories that you feel a certain pathos for the zombies, and that's an unexpected treat. To be reminded that zombies are monsters, yes, but the horror comes from them having been real people with families, hopes, dreams, etc.
Any additional comments?
This is a great book to listen to while driving or in between listening to longer books since it's a collection of stories. I'd love to hear more like this!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful