Since I have begun reviewing books for this killer horrornews.net monster I have been exposed to all kinds of killer authors and their wonderfully brutal stories. As I am human I picked my favorites from the stumbling and moaning masses and found more of their works. A great example of this is Eric S. Brown. I first read Season of Rot (Mr. Brown’s collection of five zombie novellas) and became instantly addicted. Now I have finished Unabridged, Unabashed, and Undead and I can honestly say I am even more impressed with Eric S. Brown.
Unabridged, Unabashed, and Undead is the exact opposite of Season of Rot in a few respects. Where Season of Rot was five longer stories Unabridged, Unabashed, and Undead is forty some odd short stories. Some of the stories here are a little longer but several would fall into the length of zombie flash fiction. One of the amazing things about Eric S. Brown’s writing is he can draw you in a single paragraph and then twist you up and down and back around before you know it. It seriously takes this man less than two thousand words to tell a wicked zombie tale.
The zombies here as varied as only Eric S. Brown could make them. You’ve got zombies in the past, present, and future. Zombie animals of all sorts wage havoc against the living in several stories. There are even stories of zombies on far distant planets and zombies attacking super heroes. The stories are told from different perspectives and offer a vast view of the zombie genre. With over forty stories I can’t possibly tell you about them all but I’ll pick a few of my favorites for you.
A Bad Day at Work follows a man who works for a company that sells zombies to the public after rendering them harmless and clean. A great opening story! The story Dr. Pus is a nod to the man behind both Library of the Living Dead Press and the Library of the Living Dead Podcast. It tells the story of a zombie expert trying to keep a band of survivors alive.
Night Shopping is about three guys looting supplies and it features an unexpected emotional gut punch that you just don’t see coming. The Walk is about the slow race for survival at the end of the world, this story is a prime example of how unique and bleak Eric S. Brown can be. A devoted boyfriend follows his thrill seeking girl friend in Dead Thrills. This story is only two pages long but it manages to pack some of the most terror in the whole book.
The Dead Eater is another short one that just rips my face off every time I read it. During the Apocalypse every one still has to eat; some better than others. Viral is a little longer and it is centered in a small wooded town under a strange epidemic. CDC agent Nathan Reed responds to a disease that raises the dead and it is spreading quick.
Set in the future on a far away planets Omega Level 5 and Reapers at the Door are both two fantastic mixes of zombie fiction and action packed science fiction. My most favorite is Weeds. Set during the Civil War this story features the most unique zombies I have ever encountered. Two soldiers fleeing from the enemy stumble upon a town covered in weeds and grass. The two explore the silent town and discover the horrible secret behind the overgrown town.
I enjoyed all these stories and in telling you about them I want to go reread the entire book. I think Unabridged, Unabashed, and Undead is the book I would recommend for anyone new to Eric S. Brown or zombie fiction in general. Eric S. Brown has earned the nickname “The Zombie Master” and Unabridged, Unabashed, and Undead proves it.