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Short Story Sunday: Goddamn Electric, K. Allen Wood

Zombie Feed Cover

Goddamn Electric, K. Allen Wood

Zombie stories have never been my favorite—they tend to take a tired thing and beat it to its last gasp in a not-too original way. However, I found several gems in 2011’s The Zombie Feed, Vol. 1; each story offers a thrilling, interesting, and refreshing twist on the trope. Not one would I consider a “standard” Zombie story.

If my statement still doesn’t entice you, consider this one story alone: “Goddamn Electric,” by K. Allen Wood.

In one of the most richly-detailed, atmospheric, yet suspenseful pieces I’ve read in a long time, “Goddamn Electric” induces chills in part because of its literary sensibilities: it deftly uses single effect in all its glory. This story about a small town full of crotchety New Englanders about to get their comeuppance is not to be missed–I promise you, it’s different than any other zombie thing you’ve ever read. Grab it here:

“I’d say I love meatloaf, but that’d be weird…”

“I’d say I love you, but that’d be weird.” ~ K. Allen Wood, Editor of Shock Totem, in the Foreword to Shock Totem 8.5: Holiday Tales of the Macabre and Twisted — Valentine’s Day 2014

Shock Totem 8.5 Book

The special holiday issues of Shock Totem come in this neat little half-sized format…perfect for the pocket or purse!

Shock Totem has made quite a name for itself over the past few years, and deservedly so…I’ve read some memorable pieces that made me put down the book and say to myself, “Wow!” So last year I was thrilled when Read the rest of this entry

Stop by the Strawberry Fest this weekend!

I’ll be signing books at the New England Horror Writers booth at the South Windsor Strawberry Fest and Craft Fair this weekend. Joining me will be Rob Watts (Hudulfolk), Stacey Longo, Robert Duperre (The Rift Series), K. Allen Wood (Shock Totem) and Jesse Young (The Rift Series).

The fair, located at Nevers Road Park in South Windsor,CT, will run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 16.

Hope to see you there!

Review: The Zombie Feed, Vol. 1

The Zombie Feed, Vol. 1
The Zombie Feed, Vol. 1 by Jason Sizemore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this collection for two reasons: multi-authored anthologies, just like single-story collections, can be as uneven as chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream: there’s vanilla, vanilla, vanilla and then good stuff, vanilla, good stuff, good stuff, good stuff. Apex Book Company’s Zombie Feed: Volume 1 is no exception to this rule—save for the fact the good stuff is SO good the collection is worth owning just for those. Second, because I always thought there were only so many things you could do with the Zombie trope—sooner or later, I assumed, ideas would be repeated—I was a little apprehensive about purchasing an entire (and my first) collection of Zombie stories for fear I’d be bored. But the writers in this collection proved me wrong—each story does offer a thrilling, interesting, and refreshing twist on the trope. Not one would I consider a “standard” Zombie story.

Exemplary tales of what fine horror fiction should be—edge-of-your-seat suspense combined with solid character/conflict/crisis/change or hero structure and excellent use of literary device—were K. Allen Wood’s “Goddamn Electric” and Kristin Dearborn’s “Rabid Raccoons.” Seriously, if you don’t want to spend the cash on the print edition, go get the Kindle edition just to read these two. If all horror genre stories were written as well as these, horror might have a shot at getting more recognized by the literary community. (I’ll note here I had no idea why these two were shoved at the end—in my opinion, the opening tales were nowhere near their caliber for various reasons). Other stories that made my favorites list were Lee Thompson’s “Final December Day,” because the main character only has so many hours to resolve what we all have at one time or another that normally hangs on for years: regret; Daniel I. Russell’s “Broken Bough,” which is so haunting and disturbing I’m still bothered by it (it really cuts to the core of loss and the ending was a total shock); Ray Wallace’s “Twenty-Three Second Anomaly,” which ratcheted the tension so well I was disappointed when I got to the end; Joe Nazare’s “The Last Generation,” which ended on such an unexpected bang I just went “Wow!” (actually, I said, “f*&^, wow!” which is even rarer for me), and Lucien Soulban’s “The Fare,” which I liked because it was almost a Poe-Trigger-Theory piece.

If I had one criticism of this collection, it would be the typos and grammar errors in a few of the stories; I felt they were obvious and definitely should have been caught. In this case, however, this collection doesn’t deserve to be knocked out of the running because of those errors. Also, remember that just because I had some favorites doesn’t mean everyone will agree with me…one of the great things about multi-authored collections is there’s something for everyone, and some of the stories I didn’t mention were still of merit. If you like Zombie stories or even if you just want something different to read, I highly recommend Zombie Feed: Volume 1. It’ll remain on my shelf as one I’ll re-read a few times for many years to come.

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