Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Hump Day Horror

Every now and then, I need to remind myself why I became a fan of the horror genre. It wasn't because of the monsters (real or perceived) or the violence and/or was the unknown.

Robert S. Wilson takes the biggest unknown - death - and terrifies readers without monsters, gore or violence...just the darkness waiting to snatch the dying light.

In this story of a catcher, one who brings others back from death, he himself has to be rescued by another catcher. He also falls in love with someone he has caught. Eventually, the unknown catches up to him, and he can't ignore it any longer.

Great flash fiction for fans of The Twilight Zone or Tales From The Darkside.

Joe McKinney has a way of describing this post-apocalyptic world without being too wordy, and yet the images stay with you, even when you've finished the story...very disturbing images.

This story takes place 30 years after a zombie apocalypse...a man-made plague. The town of Arbella can barely contain the population of ten-thousand people, offspring of the First Generation to survive the initial outbreak. A group has set out to see if it is possible to safely expand their borders; however, their decades of isolation has left them unprepared for First Contact.

The people of Arbella live by a strict Code, which has helped them survive and thrive, but a betrayal of trust will jeopardize the expedition. There is also the mystery of the exotic airships, which appear to be able to herd the undead hordes.

McKinney basically brought together science fiction and horror to create what I believe is his best story to date. He ties in the cause of the plague to the reason there are still zombies 30 years later, and provides one hell of an explanation for the movement of the hordes.

Last, but not least, McKinney includes four short stories that are extremely entertaining. They include a type of survivor called a Faker, which is devastatingly haunting.

You don't have to be a zombie fan to appreciate the sci-fi horror between these pages.

I admit, being a resident of Michigan, the setting intrigued me, but the way the author took an American folklore legend and twisted Paul Bunyan into a raging undead monster was too good to resist!

I'm not sure what this says about me, but I really enjoyed all of the bad guys in this story - they just seem to have far more personality than the "good" guys...Angus, for example, is one sick cannibalistic psycho, but he appears more focused than other characters, such as Captain Haley and pregnant Marina.

There are such sharp differences in the various groups of survivors that, whenever they cross paths, it's quite an orchestration of chaos. Williams is one hell of a horrific story-teller!

I'm not sure if this is a stand-alone or not, but I hope this story will be continued.

There you have it, folks. Three stories to help you get through the rest of your week.

As always,

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