My teenage son loves killing Nazi zombies in a certain game serious. Who wouldn’t? I may have done so once or twice myself (maybe more). There is very little as horrific as the atrocities carried out in the Second World War. By adding mindless zombies it only gets that much more creepy. This collection is unusual in many ways and there are not only zombies in this book but vampires and other types of undead too. I thought it was going to be a light-hearted and almost comical portrayal of undead war stories. It wasn’t.
The first story is by Graham McNeill. That was always going to make for a good start but I was totally unprepared for Links Oder Rechts. I have read a few short stories that have given me goosebumps or made me well up with tears but this is possibly the first time a story has done both. It really got to me emotionally. Setting a story in Auschwitz is a difficult thing. Anything said could easily be viewed as disrespectful of something that was more horrid than just about any horror story. McNeill nails it. This story just blew me away. I had to stop reading it and go for a walk to try and process it and get my head back. If you read only one short story this year make sure it is this one. I went back and read it again after I finished the book and I still got goosebumps.
The rest of the stories continued providing tension and enjoyment in equal measure. My Granddad apparently worked at Portland Down so ZA-43 by John Hobkinson felt almost personal for me (except as far as I know none of my family members have every been virus infected undead) and Crowley’s War by David Thomas Moore was a really interesting take on whether the Thelemites actually battled the Thule Society in the war (this story needs to be a novel).
I enjoyed every story in this anthology and would recommend missing a frothy coffee one day this week to purchase the ebook. You will not regret it.