We talk about zombies a lot here at Shock. It’s just a part of the job. Not that I’m complaining. Zombies are one of the reasons I got into what I do now I love the little critters. As it’s been said before we’re in an era now where the is an abundance of zombie media. They’ve become the new hot commodity for the masses. It’s almost like zombies are so prevalent in our culture that creators think just because their story is about zombies means that it will be successful, not the case.
How do you take a concept (in this case, the living dead) and make it different from all the others? Well, there are of course several answers to this question, just ask any writer, but a few years back Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood came up with an answer to that question: Robots.
Their popular series – Zombies vs. Robots – was pretty groundbreaking in its treatment of the zombie genre as well as redefining the role of robots in fiction. They continued the series in comic form a few more times, but now we’re getting a taste of that world from a different lens. IDW has brought to us a collection of short stories fitting under the banner of Zombies vs. Robots in their newest prose anthology Zombies vs. Robots: This Means War In this collection we’re given short stories by eleven genre writers and art work bridging the tales by Fabio Listrani.
I like it when really creative people tackle a widely popular genre. When they do this they’re able to pick apart the things that people like about this genre, dissect that, learn how it works and why people like it. Then they can reapply it with other tricks and turn something that we think we know all about into an entirely unique adventure that we never expected. This is the experience I found these writers had to have played with while I was devouring these stories.
The prospect of robots fighting zombies is a wide one, I think, because there can be so many different types of both. This is the thing I noticed first while reading the stories – all of the different robots that I would have never thought about if given the prompt of “zombies versus robots.”
Sometimes, as fans of the genre we want something to wet our appetites. Just enough to tide us over for a few minutes or so, maybe we don’t have the time to indulge in an entire film. This is the exact remedy that your horror fan bloodlust has been waiting for. While some stories are longer than others, some have genius amounts of subtext, and some are just thrilling adventures. There’s a story in here that you will love and once you find that one you’re set for the rest of the book. After you fall in love with the idea of the series for the first time through one great story the door to the rest of them is opened up wide for you.
There are four factors for this collection that I must really gloat about. The first being the gorgeous art by Fabio Listrani. He has created some great pieces into the world of Zombies vs. Robots and a few interesting parodies of already famous art but under the scope of zombies and robots.
The second factor is the talent that is inside the web of authors. Norman Prentiss, Rachel Swirsky, Nancy A. Collins, Nicholas Kaufmann, Sean Taylor and Brea Grant just to name a few. The third great thing about this anthology is how you need not have read the original series Zombies vs. Robots to understand the stories. You also don’t have to read any of the other stories to get the one that you’ve decided to read. But the thing about this collection that gets me excited is located on the spine of the book where it says “#1.”
This I can only hope means we’ve got more war coming to us.