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Undead & Unbound: Unexpected Tales From Beyond the Grave, put together by the horror and dark fiction authors and serial anthologists Brian M. Sammons and David Conyers, is anything but your usual grab-bag of selfies from the zombie apocalypse that fill the horror aisles these days. No surprise when it comes from Chaosium Inc., a publishing house that won its stripes producing rulebooks for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game before expanding further into horror fiction. The various revenants and walkers in these 19 tales include some of the most outre and genuinely disturbing I’ve encountered lately, though inevitably one or two are more … ahem … pedestrian.

Not the actual zombie stories in this book, however, especially “A Personal Apocalypse” by Mercedes M. Yardley and “Romero 2.0″ by the anthologists, both of which pack their homage to the genre in alongside a really upsetting take on the now-customary zombie horror tropes. “In the House of Millions of Years” by John Goodrich explores the afterlife Egyptian style in ways The Mummy would scarcely dare dream of. Robert Neilson’s “Marionettes” is not exactly about the living dead but a living death that will linger long after the last page has been read. Frankenstein and his monster put in an appearance twice, though not in ways you would be used to. And Scott David Aniolowski’s “Mother Blood” introduces a creature you would probably rather have never learned about. There is some graveyard humor among the terror, but quite enough genuine horror for any ghoulish taste, no matter how gorged on dark things.

“We have strived for the new and the different and hopefully, shown that no matter how old the bones, new life can be found in them,” write the anthologists in their introduction. I’d say they succeeded.

Check it out for yourself: Undead & Unbound: Unexpected Tales From Beyond the Grave

 
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