Australian Publication Date – 1 December 2017
World Publication Date – 11 July 2017
In 1968, the late, great, George A. Romero created one of the most iconic films in horror movie history, Night of the Living Dead. Night of the Living Dead has had many lasting impacts in the world of film, but one of the most significant things it did was to firmly enforce the terror of the zombie into the public consciousness and set the rules for all future zombie works.
Since that day, zombies have dominated people’s minds and pop culture in all its forms. From movies to television and comic books, zombie stories infest modern fiction. The introduction of zombies has also influenced the world of literature, with many prominent authors producing some incredible and varied works of zombie fiction. From World War Z to Warm Bodies, these bestsellers have enthralled the world, with many serving as inspiration for other mediums.
One significant piece of zombie literature published in 1989 was Book of the Dead, edited by John Skipp and Craig Spector. Book of the Dead was an anthology of short stories based on the zombie apocalypse premise introduced in Night of the Living Dead. With a foreword by Romero himself and bringing together original stories from a large number of prominent horror authors, including Stephen King, this iconic book is considered one of the first pieces of zombie literature. It produced two follow up anthologies, Still Dead and Mondo Zombie.
Now, the concept of a zombie anthology book has again been resurrected in Nights of the Living Dead, edited by George A. Romero and Jonathan Maberry.
Nights of the Living Dead contains 20 new and unique stories from a distinguished group of authors. Each of these stories is set in a world forever changed by a zombie apocalypse and shows the horror through the eyes of a range of different survivors enduring a number of different scenarios. Police, doctors, murderers, white supremacists, scientists and showmen all examine different sides of the classic zombie apocalypse. Many of the stories are set in more contemporary times, exploring how people in 2017 would react to this phenomenon while also allowing some commentary of current social issues.
Fans of the original movie may also be interested in several stories set during the events of the film. The connection that some of these stories have to Night of the Living Dead is somewhat minor, with the stories merely being set in the same year, thus allowing the reader to assume they are set during the same outbreak. Other stories have a far more significant connection to the events of the movie. John Russo’s story is a direct sequel to the movie and follows some of the posse that played a significant part in the end of the film. Another story, by Isaac Marion, is told from the perspective of a minor character in the film, Karen Cooper, and features her dramatic and eventually violent interactions with other characters in the movie.
Perhaps one of the best features of Nights of the Living Dead is the sheer talent that has been gathered together to write this book. Numbered among the contributors are some of the most influential writers of zombie fiction, including both of the Night of the Living Dead’s original screenwriters, Romero and Russo. The other writers include multiple Bram Stroker Award winners, such as editor Jonathan Maberry, whose contribution to zombie culture includes working on the Marvel Zombies series. Many of the authors have their own zombie fiction novels and series, including Isaac Marion, writer of Warm Bodies, Briane Keene, author of The Rising, and Mira Grant, author of the Newsflesh series. The list of contributors also includes people who have worked on zombie comics and television shows, including one of the writers and co-creators of Z-Nation, Craig Engler.
The various contributions to the anthology allow the reader to enjoy a range of zombie stories which may appeal to different people. Personal favourites include David Wellington’s short story set around the International Space Station and Mira Grant’s emotional tale set in a zoo. Other great stories includes Craig Engler’s tale of vigilante justice in a world of zombies and a new original contribution by George A. Romero, which also takes the time to examine racism in more modern times. Readers may also be interested in the forewords from Romero and Maberry, which examine their experiences with the movie and how it has influenced zombie culture for the last 50 years.
Nights of the Living Dead is an exciting anthology series that presents the reader with 20 new and unique stories from some of the leading minds in zombie fiction. With a range of different and exciting stories of the zombie apocalypse, many with ties to the original movie, this is a must-read book for all fans of zombie fiction and the man who inspired it all.