In 1968, a horror movie from director George A. Romero came out called Night of the Living Dead. Nearly 50 years later, zombie horror is “alive” and well, with hit shows like The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead based on Robert Kirkman’s comic book series. Over the past decade, we’ve seen a renaissance of zombie fiction in all forms of entertainment, from comics to novels like World War Z (Max Brooks) and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (Seth Grahame-Smith) to TV and film. Zombie even manage to cross over into other genres. The TV series iZombie takes the flesh eaters into the world of police forensics and the underground “brain trade.” Movies like Warm Bodies (2013) showed zombies can be romantic and of course Shaun of the Dead (2004) proved they can be the butt of jokes.
Though, there was a time when zombies were not the “it” thing in horror, but back in 1989, an undead anthology called Book of the Dead (edited by John Skipp & Craig Spector) made zombie literature cool again. Nights of the Living Dead is a collection of original zombie short stories all based in the world Romero built. What’s really interesting is reading the introductions by Romero himself and co-editor, author, and unabashed Romero fanboy, Jonathan Maberry.
Romero talks about growing up in the Bronx with a name that made the gangs think he was Latino. Really interesting is reading how he and co-writer of the original film, John A. Russo, wrote Night of the Living Dead without thinking of the word “zombie” and how Romero still hates the term, yet has accepted his role as the “Godfather of Zombie Horror.”
In Maberry’s intro, he gives some background into his childhood and the impact of Night of the Living Dead on his generation, crediting the film with the rise of zombie fiction and making his future pairing with Romero all the more a dream. Maberry has written over 40 books including a series of zombie horror books based off Romero’s films.
Nights of the Living Dead contains stories from some of the most prominent names in horror fiction, including the master himself. Romero’s “John Doe” tells the story of a Bronx medical examiner who desperately wants to disprove that a dead homeless man died from gunshots and throw it in the face of the detectives that mocked him. It reads like a companion piece to last year’s film The Autopsy of Jane Doe by Andre Ovredal.
Alongside Romero there are short stories by a veritable who’s who in horror fiction. Maberry (“Lone Gunmen”), Book of the Dead‘s John Skipp (“Jimmy Jay Baxter’s Last Best Day on Earth”), Romero co-writer John A. Russo (“The Day After”), The Girl With All the Gifts author Mike Carey (“In That Quiet Earth”), Bubba Ho-Tep‘s Joe R. Lansdale (“Dead Man’s Curve”), and so on. The anthology is made available by St. Martin’s Press and should be an obvious pickup for fans of horror literature and zombie culture. Seriously anyone who ever read a Walking Dead comic book needs to pick up this collection. It is available in stores now.
Official Book Synopsis:
In 1968, the world experienced a brand-new kind of terror with the debut of George A. Romero’s landmark movie Night of the Living Dead. The newly dead rose to attack the living. Not as vampires or werewolves. This was something new . . . and terrifying. Since then, zombies have invaded every aspect of popular culture.
But it all started on that dreadful night in a remote farmhouse. . . .
Nights of the Living Dead returns to that night, to the outbreak, to where it all began. New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry teams with the godfather of the living dead himself, George A. Romero, to present a collection of all-new tales set during the forty-eight hours of that legendary outbreak.
Nights of the Living Dead includes stories by some of today’s most important writers: Brian Keene, Carrie Ryan, Chuck Wendig, Craig E. Engler, David J. Schow, David Wellington, Isaac Marion, Jay Bonansinga, Joe R. Lansdale, John A. Russo, John Skipp, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Max Brallier, Mike Carey, Mira Grant, Neal and Brenda Shusterman, and Ryan Brown. Plus original stories by Romero and Maberry!
For anyone who loves scary stories, take a bite out of this!