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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to the "Hood", 17 Jun 2008
Amanda Richards "Hotpurplekoolaid" (ECD, Guyana) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Not All Of Them About Zombies (Paperback)
This is an ideal collection of short stories for short attention spans, people who read on the go, people who think they're too busy to read, and big girls (and boys) who just wanna have fun.

The witty storylines and sometimes absolutely brilliant concepts are well-written, to the point, and never, ever boring. The author, via the introductory pages, includes his thoughts and the inspiration for each story, so by the time you start the first story you're already at page 27.

1. Selling Liberty: One girl, One sword, Two thugs, One twist
2. The Happily Ever After: Red Riding Hood survives her traumatic childhood incident and changes her name to Redcape. She flirts with a stranger, dances around a wolf, and lives happily for a while.
3. Au Naturale: A young man's experiences a real live natural woman. (Explicit)
4. Just a Fluke: A man wakes up and finds out that he's not quite himself. The longest story is one of the best in this collection.
5. Zombies: The shortest is the one that's actually all about zombies
6. Breakdown: A rescue mission that goes awfully wrong
7. Guardian: Old man with a mission
8. Harry: When imaginary beasties cross the line
9. Don't Fear the Reaper: A day in the life of Death
10. Good Intentions: Two-bit hood fails ignition test
11. Redbird and Eleanor: Back to the "Hood"

"Keepin' It Short" Summary (KISS): Small collection - eleven short stories and a long introduction- and as promised, not all about zombies.

To quote from the final page:

"Parting is such sweet sorrow - unless it involved a chainsaw, in which case you're probably just glad it's over"

Amanda Richards
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting debut from an author I hope to see more of., 11 Jun 2008
Ian Tapley "thefragrantwookiee" - See all my reviews
This review is from: Not All Of Them About Zombies (Paperback)
This is a collection of eleven short stories from across the fantasy, science fiction and horror genres, each written with unusual insight and wit.

One thing that I greatly enjoyed with this book is the fact that the Introduction features a short breakdown of the themes and inspirations for each of the stories, giving a delightful little window into the author's mind.

Although all the stories make for interesting and/or amusing reading, a couple deserve a special mention. The first being 'The Happily Ever After', in which we see the later adventures of Little Red Riding Hood. What I enjoyed most about this story was the fact that Rowe manages to perfectly capture the tone of the old cautionary fairy tales.

The other stand-out story is called 'Harry', in which a nervous man focuses all of his anxiety into the form of a werewolf which hunts him for three nights every month, but which leaves him free of fear the rest of the time.

Although there are a few disappointing elements to the book (such as the one that actually is about zombies), the biggest disappointment here is the fact that some of the stories could easily work as novels but here they end just when you're desperate to read more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars but the poem is, 3 Jun 2008
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Not All Of Them About Zombies (Paperback)
A collection of short stories from a writer who states in the foreword he hopes this collection will open a few doors for him and get some attention from publishers. And on the basis of this collection we can but hope his plan works because there's some very promising material in here. It's a pretty diverse mix of fantasy horror and science fiction and crime, and the author's voice is quite individual. He manages to find a different style for each story that is all his own.

The book runs for just under two hundred pages. It begins with a preface, mentioning the above, and then an introduction that gives a look at all the stories and what they're about and how he came up with the ideas. This is very interesting stuff, although you may prefer to read it after the stories so that you can come to them afresh. The preface does give you ample warning and opportunity to do this if you should so desire.

After that come ten stories, one short poem, and a brief afterword.

The stories are as follows:

`Selling Liberty'. Running for twenty pages, a fantasy story telling about a young girl heading off to sell a prized possession who runs into trouble. Can she depend on the kindness of strangers?
Not a story I can say too much about without giving things away but it manages some good twists and developments and you may not see the end coming. Worthy of Roald Dahl.

`The happily ever after' is twelve pages long and is a sequel to the story of little red riding hood, telling what the main character did next. Written in the style of an old fashioned fairy tale, this succeeds rather well. The preface promises the possibility of more like this. I wouldn't mind to read them.

`Au Naturale' is a ten page story of a man who meets his dream woman in a future world where everyone artificially enhances their body. Written as a very intimate scene between the two this is a good stab at writing such things and it succeeds quite well. And it does have a delicious twist ending.

`Just a fluke' is over double the length of the above and a story about a man who wakes up in a woman's body. As a result of an alien influence. As he experiences and gets used to life in this form he forgets the alien has it's own agenda. This is quite a bold experiment in the writing style and it works well. The end took a while to sink in with me, but it works fine in hindsight. And just like the above, this story contains adult situations and adult language.

Following this is `Zombies' the one thing in the collection that is about them. A very very short poem. It's not going to win any literary awards, but it's fun for what it is.

After that comes `Breakdown' a ten page horror story involving a man driving through fog on his way to a scene of horror. And that ends up being the least of his worries. As a recreation of what it's like to go through this kind of weather it's very good. The end of the story does rather come out of nowhere, and perhaps it would work better if it was part of a collection of similar tales as promised in the preface. But all in all it's not a bad piece of work.

`Guardian' is another ten page effort, slipping back into the fantasy genre. In that you can occasionally find characters getting to ancient tombs or monuments only to discover beings who have devoted their life to guarding the place. What must it be like, the story asks, to be such a guardian? Written entirely from the perspective of one this is a good character piece and an enjoyable little tale.

`Harry' runs for roughly twenty pages and tells of a man battling a werewolf. But is his battle all in the mind? A deeply psychological tale and one that takes a little while to sink in afterwards, but it's a clever idea and a bold effort.

`Don't fear the Reaper' is roughly six pages long and a short tale about a murderer and his victim. The former is seeking something. But can the latter give it to him? A little gruesome but a good ending, although not quite as memorable in that respect as selling liberty or au naturale.

`Good Intentions' is a ten page story that comes from the crime genre, telling of a would be arsonist. And a choice he has to make. An excellent character piece well describing how the main character got into this situation, and a superb moral dilemma at the heart of this. Not one you will forget the end of in a hurry. Very good stuff.

Then comes `Redbird and Eleanor' a thirty page fantasy story about a lady trader in a fantasy setting who ends up with a travelling companion she'd not planned on. At first this looks like being rather generic fantasy, but it does manage to stand out because the main characters do become rather compelling. Eleanor a bit more so than Redbird, but if we get the further tales of the characters promised by the preface then I'm sure that won't be a problem. Eleanor is not entirely the most likeable of characters but she's still quite compelling, and that's no mean feat writing wise.

And the book concludes with a short `farewell' note that will make you chuckle.

So all in all, a pretty good collection, and a promising piece of work. I hope that it does lead to more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, 15 July 2008
TeensReadToo "Eat. Drink. Read. Be Merrier." (All Over the US & Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Not All Of Them About Zombies (Paperback)
NOT ALL OF THEM ABOUT ZOMBIES is a collection of ten short stories and a poem by a young, British writer. While it is difficult to categorize the stories into any one genre, they most definitely reflect the mind of someone who seems to be always asking, "what if...?"

There is a very amusing preface that seems to highlight the personality of the writer as he introduces his book. The introduction offers an explanation of each story and the origins of it. While it is always interesting to know where inspiration strikes and how a story comes to be, I recommend saving the introduction for later so that your mind is completely open as you are reading.

Among the stories included in this collection are some that seek to answer very unique questions. In "Selling Liberty" readers are placed in the middle of an evolving storyline. A girl is desperately trying to evade two men who are after her prize possession. Can you determine the true story from the point of view you are presented with?

Another question, posed in "The Happily Ever After," is what ever happened to Little Red Riding Hood? How did her experience with the Big Bad Wolf affect the rest of her life?

Mixed among the stories is a fair share of horror (werewolves and true fears realized) and sci-fi (imagine waking up as one entity in a shared body).

While author Matthew Rowe has presented some very imaginative ideas in this book, I must also mention that there is some very graphic, adult content in one of the stories.

NOT ALL OF THEM ABOUT ZOMBIES is available for purchase online.

Reviewed by: JodiG.
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Not All Of Them About Zombies
Not All Of Them About Zombies by Matthew Rowe (Paperback - 14 Mar 2008)
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