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3.3 out of 5 stars
83
3.3 out of 5 stars
Zombie Apocalypse!
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VINE VOICEon 6 May 2011
Zombie apocalypse is a great concept, and well written. Instead of having core characters central to the plot, it pulls in emails, diaries, tweets, web pages, blogs and letters from a variety of characters (some recurring) to put together the UK (initially) then world reaction to a zombie plague.

The source of the plague itself is a little far-fetched, but original and seemingly well researched. You get to read of a character succumbing to the plague (a young girl) which is quite emotional. The pace is good, and the "material" pulls well together to form a good read... until the end.

There seems to me to suddenly be an abrupt end, or culling, or so it seems, and I am left wanting as to what happened, and why. You have no closure on how the plague was dealt with, where survivors are, and how mankind is doing (especially with the nonsensical letters from the possibly alive, possibly not, US President and UK monarch). Unless I *really* missed something. Or my printing of the book had pages missing!

Would liked to have seen it ended with more "grace". But for the masterful originality and the quality of the writing itself, it still gets 3 out of 5, and is worth a look if you've already ploughed through the other quality material in the genre.
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on 29 December 2010
`The Mammoth Book of Zombie Apocalypse' (aka just as Zombie Apocalypse) is a collection of articles, various media transcripts, text messages, tweets, diaries and more, describing the events around a Zombie plague that was released from the Black death burial ground at Blackheath.

The first two thirds of the book are reasonably good, with enough tension and stories of survival to keep most zombie lore fans satisfied, but sadly the last third loses it's way. It starts to recount survivors novel ideas, or youtube spoof song lyrics, or film pitches and I started to skip these parts. I wanted to read the so called `real' accounts of Zombie survival, not some lame attempts at Zombie fiction as recounted by characters in a book (I am aware of the irony of this considering the whole book is fiction, but you know what I mean). There is also no real coherent narrative to this book, it is just a series of personal experiences or accounts and nothing really ties it together to tell a coherent story from beginning to end. Some of the handwritten pages got tiresome to decipher and some other aspects weren't as clear as they could've been, but despite the changing styles of text this was easy enough to read.

If you are huge fan of Zombie books then this may be worth a try at some point, but if you are new to this genre then try `World War Z' by Max Brooks first which is a similar book (I.e. lots of anecdotal evidence of a Zombie outbreak), but which is more coherent and which was done a whole letter better than this.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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VINE VOICEon 3 January 2011
The title of this review points to a key piece of humour in the book, linked to its title. Other than that I won't spoil one of the funniest entries in an otherwise very good anthology.
Edited by Stephen Jones it ties together a collection of short pieces from such writers such as Michael Marshall Smith (he does the opening piece, I would have liked to see more, his dark and dry humour would have suited more tales here), Tanith Lee, Scott Eldeman, Kim Newman, and more. The contributions are a mix of journal entries, blogs, email and even Twitter correspondence, letters, minutes, transcripts of broadcasts, and others, exploring a range of very contemporary and older communication forms. This works well, held together by the central framing narrative, which is based bang up to date in the middle of a vain-glorious and failing Coalition government whose recent efforts include a massacre in Trafalgar Square as well as an ever worsening recession. To lift the nation's spirits and present a distraction, they plan a massive 'Festival of New Britain.' Part of this is the redevelopment of a London cemetery and the accidental unearthing of a plague pit, and a 'reanimating' scourge is unleashed.
The horror and bleakness is pretty much unrelenting. Most of the narrators end their tales or communications defeated, i.e. eaten or worse. It's leavened by some great humour, and the mix of different narrators and styles works well. I very much enjoyed a Policeman's duty logs as he first discovers the unfolding horror in its early stages. Also, a teenage girl writes a journal as 'the Death' hits London. There are some truly shocking moments and scenes of undead horror here. The anthology gets to the heart of why this genre is so popular. That is, the horror of something worse than death, the horror of seeing loved ones bestially transformed, and the sheer Hell of the numbers of the undead as they start to outnumber the living. How long could you survive, living on your wits, staying sharp, not letting your guard down for a second?
The anthology loses a star for the jarring tone of the final two entries, where the whole things suddenly slips into spoof territory, and if previous stuff wasn't so strong, they would have wrecked the whole thing for me.
But on the whole, this is a good addition to the zombie genre. This one, I would say, is pretty much for genre fans. There is no boarder cross-over appeal. It's too self referential and knowing for that.
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on 26 March 2011
From reading reviews on this book I decided to part with my cash and give it a go.I wanted to see how the multiple writers could do the bold title justice (having been a fan of the genre for years), but having finished the book all I can say is it was quite a laborious process to finally reach the end , I wanted this book to be a cracker but sadly it just didn't do it for me .This title is OK ,but it is no "World War Z" , I would wait until you can get it for about £3 , it will kill time on a boring train journey , but watch out , you might nod off and miss your stop.
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on 23 July 2011
Having a number of different writers contribute to this book is a great concept, but however when all put together the book lacks direction and any central character's that the reader is looking for. Also changing a Zombie from a Flesh Eating machine into a thinking body just does not work as was a poor concept.
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on 29 December 2010
`Zombie Apocalypse' (aka Mammoth book of Zombie Apocalypse) is a collection of articles, various media transcripts, text messages, tweets, diaries and more, describing the events around a Zombie plague that was released from the Black death burial ground at Blackheath.

The first two thirds of the book are reasonably good, with enough tension and stories of survival to keep most zombie lore fans satisfied, but sadly the last third loses it's way. It starts to recount survivors novel ideas, or youtube spoof song lyrics, or film pitches and I started to skip these parts. I wanted to read the so called `real' accounts of Zombie survival, not some lame attempts at Zombie fiction as recounted by characters in a book (I am aware of the irony of this considering the whole book is fiction, but you know what I mean). There is also no real coherent narrative to this book, it is just a series of personal experiences or accounts and nothing really ties it together to tell a coherent story from beginning to end. Some of the handwritten pages got tiresome to decipher and some other aspects weren't as clear as they could've been, but despite the changing styles of text this was easy enough to read.

If you are huge fan of Zombie books then this may be worth a try at some point, but if you are new to this genre then try `World War Z' by Max Brooks first which is a similar book (I.e. lots of anecdotal evidence of a Zombie outbreak), but which is more coherent and which was done a whole letter better than this.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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on 13 May 2016
Zombies are big right now. Like, really, crazy big. True zombie fanatics have been around for decades, watching and re-watching George Romero films and adorning themselves with fake blood, torn clothes and shambling around while crying “brains” at Halloween. But in recent years zombies have really gone mainstream ranging from humorous independent films like Fido, to a big-budget comedy parody in Zombieland, video game franchises (and movies) likeResident Evil and critically acclaimed works such as The Walking Dead (both its comic book and AMC versions). And, unfortunately, that has led to a lot of zombie garbage being retched into the media as well.

Luckily, Stephen Jones’ Zombie Apocalypse! is not among this garbage. The cleverly designed collection of short stories, strung together as journal entries, police reports, emails, texts, medical records and classified documents, tells of a near future London that, over the course of about a month, goes from being a country trying to celebrate its history in a failing economy, to ground zero of a massive zombie outbreak.

Compiled of no less than 37 short stories, the book is a phenomenal undertaking. The backbone story features the excavation of an old church. This leads to the discovery of a crypt sealed since the days of the bubonic plague by an eccentric, if not crazed, architect who believed interning a body for a certain length of time would bring it back to life to carry the souls of the dead. Jones’ tale does get a little muddled here as the initial idea behind the resurrection seems mystical, but then it appears the fleas from the bubonic days are reanimating the corpses but then it gets even fuzzier as a simple scratch may pass it on the plague, or even touching the bile-like blood of the deceased might do it.

The account takes its time (ALMOST too much) to really get going, peppering the early pages with hints and the usual non-believers and eye-rollers. But when it does hit, it’s full zombie carnage. Unlike Max Brooks’sWorld War Z which, although retold through a series of personal accounts, seems to talk with one voice, each entry in Zombie Apocalypse! has a very unique style. Since so many writers were employed to pen the stories and as each entry is supposedly from a journal recollection or internet post, this works well. However this does lead to some annoying discrepancies, from the infection’s origins to how the zombies act. Some are mindless, some go for brains, some retain memories of their past and even intelligence and some are carnivorous animals just devouring flesh.

The early recountings are confined to a specific area in London. The best zombie stories will parody current political and social issues and the first part of the book does that eloquently, giving the reader a very British feel and flavor. But the story does lag a little when the plague goes global. When stories from other countries come into play it almost seems forced, as if the book loses a little of its way.

As a whole, Zombie Apocalypse! is a great read for any zombie fan. Of particular note are the story “Minutes of Meeting” and the copy of the actual communication sent out to emergency services. The ending has a very interesting and poignant twist, leading the reader to see that those who do manage to survive Zombie Apocalypse! will be living in a very brave and very flesh-hungry new world.
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on 8 March 2013
This book is a series of blogs, diary entries, letters, narrative "witness" accounts of the Zombie Apocalypse from not only a number of differing attributed sources, but also penned by different authors in the book. As a result of this, I felt that there was a clear diversity in the standard and quality of the writing which is being offered here. For example, the opening entry - an email from a man named "Michael" to his dead mother detailing the horrors he had been a witness to was a really strong start. It was gripping and intriguing, had just the right amount of pathos and horror in equal measure. The next offering, however, "internal communications", is a bit crap in comparison. And this sets the tone throughout the book - some of the entries are very exciting and entertaining to read, others are a bit lacking. I personally particularly enjoyed the diary of a thirteen year old girl, which was written with a whimsical innocent voice, which was entirely credible, and cast the horrors she was detailing in her diary entries in a striking manner which stayed with the reader for a long time afterwards. I also enjoyed the entries near the end of the book from the family of writers. I thought that the manner in which part of the account of a zombie attack was portrayed as it happened and told as true and the rest of it fictionalised was fantastic, and a very clever way to report the events on their street. It was a little bit different. I disagree with other reviewers that there is not a coherent story here. There is, but the story is subtle and you have to pay attention to pick it up. There is a clear evolution of events here but you need to read closely, which, if you are reading a zombie story, you might not necessarily want to do! If there is a big flaw in this novel, it is the manner in which the zombie plague is explained. I felt that this was a mistake. Normally in this genre the zombie apocalpyse will happen for vague not very substantiated reasons - it's best left that way - these things can't be explained coherently and putting them down to "fleas" from the bubonic plague was just plain daft. (You can't stretch your readers' credibility too far in these things!) If there is a strength, it is how things pan out in the end. I won't give it away, but it's just a little bit different from your usual zombie "America saves the day" ending. I enjoyed this book and read it quickly, even though you do have to keep your eye on the subplot - I would definitely recommend it (but, as one other reviewer has noted, not as much as "World War Z" which is a much better version of the same thing).
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VINE VOICEon 13 April 2013
Despite reading and watching a lot of horror, I've always avoided Zombies, as they were the one thing which really made me, well, scared. Having gotten into The Walking Dead recently, I seem to have overcome that fear, and now seem to be making up for lost time!

Zombie Apocalypse was one of my recent purchases, along with World War Z, which I haven't yet read. Both of these books seem to be made up of various accounts of events, using transcripts etc, but I have a feeling they are rather different in their approach. Obviously I can't say for sure until I read it, but I get the impression that World War Z is meant to be more serious, whereas Zombie Apocalypse has a rather dark humour running through. I've seen reviews comparing them, but they really need to be assessed in their own strengths.

Zombie Apocalypse is a ` mosaic' book, made of various accounts, taking us from before the zombies, to it's outcome. There are news reports, diary entries, police reports etc, but it's been bought up to date with twitter conversations, emails and blog entries. Although it follows a rough timeline, the stories don't connect - it does read like a collection which has been pulled together.

These accounts have different authors, and that does show. It also means that the different styles will be liked or disliked by various readers. I for one found the blog entries caused me the most amusement (people really will blog about anything!) and the diary entries from a 13 year old girl were my overall favourites. I also enjoyed the setting, which is mainly London - it's always good for us UK readers to see something set where we know.

Reviews appear mixed for this one, and I guess I can see why. Personally speaking, I found it highly enjoyable, and loved the unusual style. It's not to be taken seriously, and you're bound to have sections which you prefer over others. There's a lot to recommend it though, and I shall be looking out for the second book, Zombie Apocalypse Fightback.
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on 27 October 2014
How did we get here? Well, I guess it started with the economy and lack of faith in our country, Britain. People were struggling to get by, not knowing how to amen ends meet, even with working double or triple jobs. Kids weren't going to school most days, with teachers continually striking. There really wasn't much to look forward to.

The government thought they could fix it all, by bringing back belief in out country, helping bring back the 'Great' in Britain. Most of us didn't agree with their plan to host a 'New Festival,' but we didn't get a choice in the matter. So, off the government went to spend more money than ew had on this festival, rather than putting money back into the people.

Most of us were against it, purely for the fact that they were spending money we didn't have and spending it on a worthless festival. However, some people were against it for a different reason entirely. One that would change the face of Britain, and the world, forever.

If only the government had listened to them. If only they had paid attention, then we wouldn't be were we are now - fighting to stay alive in this zombie apocalypse.

* * *

These are the accounts, news and remnants of that event. It seems so long ago, but it all makes sense now. Perhaps you'll understand why it happened and what made us the way we are, from these historical details. Perhaps...

My Thoughts

I have always been a great lover of zombie books, when they are done well. Often they take on the same story - disease/infection turns human to zombie, zombie turns more humans to zombies, world infected, people try to fight back and usually win...somehow. However, this story is very different. It isn't a mere account of the days the zombie plague started, and then a story from there. It is the remnants of the world, as these events took place. It reminds me of how we see news, often with snippets of what is happening, pieces of clues left behind and we piece together the whole story.

That is the direction Stephen Jones took, and it worked so well. You are taken to a time when Great Britain was suffering and it would do anything to bring its proud country back. The government hatched a plan to host a festival and would avoid any delays to make it possible, even health and safety issues. Even if those issues involved a once dormant section of the plague.

From that fateful few days, we begin to get letters, news snippets, diaries and recordings of actual people's accounts of the events. We watch, read and hope for the best as they turn or watch those around them turn.

The news style writing gives us the feeling that we are right there, living in this world, and reading about the latest news on the zombie threat. We are there as the enemy turns into something more and we are there to pick up the pieces and decide where to go next.

I loved this style of writing and found that it was a fun, new way to take on a zombie story. It left things interesting, action-filled and was able to give us a full account of the world, without making it feel forced. It does mean that you have to be prepared that there isn't one main character or place, but more a collage of people and places to create a world of mains.

The pace of the story is excellent, as were are given enough time to learn about each account and character, as well as gaining needed details on the progression of the zombies, but the story doesn't linger or grow boring. It also moves swiftly enough that you get the sense of urgency and fear.

The characters are deep, even though we are only with them for short periods of time. We learn enough about them to grow fond of them and know what to expect from them, but are not stuck dwelling on a single character as the story moves on.

OVERALL: I love this take on a zombie threat. It is detailed and fast-paced, and gives you a feeling that you are actually there. The way it takes on the story in news, letters, etc it makes you feel as though it could really happen. I would highly recommend this story to new adults and above - perhaps age 16 + due to some sections being graphic. Though it could be handled by 14s. I would highly recommend having a go at this book if you are a zombie lover, a thriller lover and/or you want something a little deadly for Halloween.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
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