Klune, T.J, Eric Arvin, Ethan Stone, Daniel A. Kaine, Ethan Day and Geoffrey Knight. “Zombie Boyz”, Wilde City, 2013.
Six Writers, Three Fun Stories
Zombies are like fashion—they come and go with taste and lately they are back in popularity and we are the benefactors. There is nothing better than a zombie story on a lonely night to get one’s imagination going and these stories do that and more. There is something very campy about these undead dead people and because of that they tend to make us laugh more than they scare us. We see here that zombies have the ability to fall in love, to [try to] scare us, to cheer us up and to conquer.
In “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” by Ethan Day and Geoffrey Knight I found myself having trouble turning pages because I was laughing so hard. We meet a family who is biding time waiting for the world to return to some sense of normality (although I really have no idea what normal means). We find adolescent angst right in the middle of the zombie apocalypse with one of the wildest cast of characters that I have read about in a story in a very long time. There is also some very wild dialogue. Chandler, a nineteen year horny gay male narrates the story and tells us about the time he brought Zane, his first boyfriend home but is not sure how to tell his family that Zane is a…zombie. The two met through the Beefcake Virus and love blossomed. Yet they stand before the Pandemic Transviral Apocalypse.
“Surviving Sin City” by Ethan Stone and Daniel Kaine is about Kaleb, a guy who lives in Las Vegas and Cooper, an Englishman on vacation who meets as the world around them falls apart. Cooper wants to return to England and Kaleb wants to find his brother but Vegas has been locked down and super zombies have taken over. They are very fast and very smart—much more effective than just regular zombies. Cooper and Kaleb head for the airport and to Kaleb’s brother and they realize that they make a good team and know they can accomplish much more together than apart. But so much for happiness as the zombie apocalypse approaches.
Cooper was supposed to have made this trip with his boyfriend but they split and while he is sitting in a bar he hears the news and is suspicious and worried that what he had expected to happening was indeed happening—the zombie apocalypse. He was prepared for it back in England but here in Vegas he is at a loss. He thinks that he might be able to escape and get home and as he tries to escape he meets Kaleb who is seeking a place to hide. Here two young humans face a difficult situation with the zombies closing in. The two men soon find themselves connecting and there is a bit of romance as well as sex.
TJ Klune and Eric Arvin bring us the third story, “Ghoul’s Gym”. Uly and Jake are lovers and they sincerely love each other. In fact, they agree that regardless of how bad things might get, they will never leave each other. Jake, however, wants to be bigger and better than he is even though Uly loves him without his doing so. This plays on their relationship and Jake makes a deal with the devil. When he realizes what he has done, it is too late. By the time the Zombie Apocalypse comes they are desperate to find each other and face what is coming together. As the attack comes it is really awful but then there is a balance with wit and humor. I can’t say much more without spoiling it but I will say that there is a lot of tension in this story and the build-up has the reader on the edge of his seat. Because we sit in anticipation, there is a sense of fear as we read.
What makes this collection unique is that the gore is mixed with humor and sex and intrigue are there as well. It is not easy to make a reader afraid, laugh and cry all in the same book but the writers have managed to do just that. Do I have a favorite? I don’t but that is because even though all three stories deal with zombies, they do so differently. I know that it is rare to enjoy an entire anthology but I did just that.