First off, I have a story in this anthology. ‘I Was Legend’ is a fun play reflective of Richard Matheson’s ‘I Am Legend.’ It is a story where loneliness and desperation turn one man’s hope into his doom. A handful of my friends also found their way into this collection, and to be fair, I will not comment on any of their works, (which I thought were fantastic, but clearly I have a bias.)
Some of my own taboos were stretched a little further than their comfort zone, and I’m no prude. I found all of the stories in this book to be brave, even if there was a serious yuck-factor to some of them. Every story in this collection fit undeniably well to the title, but in my unimportant opinion, fifty-one is too many. Who would I have excluded? None of them—not a one. On the bright side, fifty-one stories of sex and horror is well worth the expense of buying the book.
I also learned that I really hate my Kindle, at least with reading anthologies. Now that the paperback version is out, I’d recommend purchasing the print edition. After reading a story and upon reaching the end I’d say, “Man, that was a kick ass story—who wrote it?” For review purposes, my e-reader is a useless tool.
Speaking of useless tools—I decided to spotlight my absolute favorites in this anthology, and ‘Dead Things Don’t Rise” by Mandy DeGeit had me laughing out loud. The story begins with our drunken narrator stumbling home and taking a shortcut through the cemetery. Luck will have it he staggers into what he thinks is another drunk, this one a cold, yet horny girl, ready for some dirty lovin’. This tale holds a fascinating mix of both hot and gross.
‘Ménage a Trauma’ by Dan Larnerd is another of the dark-comedic stories. Two lovers meet at a 2-star hotel for some hot sex, but the séance taking place a floor above them turns love-making into a fight for their lives.
‘Playing a Game’ by Eric Stoveken was another very naughty story with a horribly dark twist. Two lovers––one tied up and being straddled by his truest––play a game of intimacy, and secrets. Sex is the weapon of choice.
‘Carnage Kandy’ by Teresa Hawk was my absolute favorite in this collection. Two women, now lovers, have found the zombie apocalypse in Las Vegas to be the most liberating experience of their lives. The writing in this weave floored me and I connected with it on a deep level. Killing zombies at the peak of orgasm sounds like fun.
‘Out with a Bang’ by Laura J. Hickman was about a sex-addicted Goth girl who fed her mom to the zombies so as to stop her nagging. Once the batteries of her ‘boyfriend’ ran dry, she devises a new plan to get off, a final plan. I loved the voice of this story.
‘Some Like it Rot’ by John Palisano. There is a new street drug that will expand your mind, or turn you into a zombie. This tale is about a washed-out star and her supposed miracle return to the silver screen. Her publicist finds the starlet in her hotel room, half-baked and zombiefied. His career is on the line if he doesn’t find a cure.
‘Headshot’ by Frankie Sachs tells the sad story of a woman whose recent survival partner has been bitten. She reminisces about her long dead husband, and the difference of ‘fucking’ versus ‘loving.’ This one touched deeper than many of the other tales in this book.
‘Die With Your Boots On’ by Lisa Woods was the one I thought as being the hottest of the sex stories, filled with fantastic visuals for the both the characters and the sex. This was a man and woman sex story, zombies did not participate in the naughtiness.
‘Love in a Laundromat,’ is a self-explaining story by Megan Dorei. It was one of the few to have a happy ending.
My final pick is between ‘Stiff’ by Matthew Scott Baker, and ‘Subject Zero-Zero’ by Alex Chase for my favorite story of how the apocalypse came to be. ‘Stiff’ tells of a radical new drug that will cure erectile dysfunction forever. ‘Subject Zero-Zero’ tells of a man who found sex as being repulsive until one of his lab-mates becomes infected by a chemical weapon they were producing.
So there you have it, the short review of my favorite 20% of these stories. If you like zombies, you will love this book. If you like sex, you’ll like many of the stories. If you like sex with zombies—well, now—looks like you found your book.
I don’t usually showcase an author’s text in my reviews because it requires too much typing on my part, but D. Robert Grixti’s prose was exceptional. Here is an excerpt from Sun Bleached Winter,
–Night has fallen. We’re eating dried biscuits by the light of the campfire. The flames glow weakly, dimly. Dying. Flakes of snow drift down from the sky and threaten to bury everything under a blanket of white. Nothing can live here.–
Atmosphere––Mr. Grixti does it very well. The bleak world inhabited by the narrator had been crispy fried by nuclear war. A blanket of smoke, dirt, and clouds blot the sun’s light, embracing every day in fallout winter. Lionel and his sister Claire are the central characters in the story, but things spice up with the introduction of Jessica, a gun toting firecracker wearing clean clothes. Lionel is conscripted to do a dirty job with Jessica, and if he survives, he’ll earn entry into New City for himself and Claire.
Expertly done, the setting was consistently used to keep the weight of doom and uncertainty lingering with every turn of the page. Here is another tease,
–I stay awake, staring into the blackness, and thinking about what tomorrow may bring. What future is there for us, waiting for us, perhaps mocking us, beyond the void of time? Is it a good one, or a bad one? I find myself struggling to wonder how those terms can still have meaning, in a world where human life is reduced to something abstract, something indefinable and killing can be so easily justified in the name of survival. There can’t be such things as good or bad in a place where everything is grey. People will continue to do what they have to do, and thus the only future that awaits us is one that’s as bleak as the present.–
Irony would be another great descriptor for Sun Bleached Winter. As Lionel and his sister struggle to survive in the wastelands, they also struggle to maintain the humanity that has been burned from the world. Is New City going to be a budding society, or just the shadow of what once was?
Is it medicine that makes a society? Labor? Can it be defined as protection from the marauding hordes of cannibals? Does civilization depend upon which side of the gun you are standing? Beware of the dogs––the marauders sometimes use them to corner their quarry.
–It growls once more, and then unleashes a spine chilling howl, its hind legs tensing behind it, preparing to pounce forward and take its prey. Panicked, I feel through the snow beside me with my left hand, praying that I’ll find the cold, familiar shape of the revolver waiting for me. The dog starts barking furiously and then it charges, running at me with lightning speed. I close my eyes, preparing for the sharp fangs to drill into my face, when I finally feel the grip of the handgun, already starting to sink into the deep snow.–
Action is quite challenging to write. For the most part, I felt D. Robert Grixti’s execution of action was done with great agility as a first time author. As you saw, that last passage offered fantastic visualization. Most of the action in Sun Bleached Winter held tension, but in a few instances it faltered a little. Nothing to fret over, as Mr. Grixti evolves as a writer, those hiccups will pass.
For the most part the editing was solid. There were a few words inserted that weren’t quite right. I found “Illegible” where it should have been “Unintelligible,” there was one or two other not-quite-correct words placed throughout the text. Another petty comment from me, the ending seemed a little over the top. I do not want to spoil the stories ending, it was very well plotted. Without saying too much, I still wonder if one character’s onset of madness was necessary in context to the greater picture. Read this tale, tell me if you disagree with that observation. I was still wearing a grim smile as I closed the book on this dark gem.
All in all, I enjoyed this novella. Sun Bleached Winter is a quick, fresh read, artistically written well enough to start fun dialogue between readers.
I’d been given a copy of this novella in exchange for a balanced review.
Angelic Knight Press has put together a new anthology. I can proudly say I am one of 50 authors to have been selected to be in this collection. It is a collection of zombie stories – Valentine’s Day short stories – okay, flat out, it is zombie smut.
It was an opportunity for talented erotica writers to join with talented horror writers – and one fantasy author – to showcase their humorous sides. I don’t know the bigger names in erotica, but the names I recognized from horror were Armand Rosamilia, Tim Marquitz, Blaze McRob, and Tim Baker. There were other names on the back cover that feel familiar, but I don’t know yet, but soon will.
In the Table of Contents, there is true brilliance in these titles. Here is a tease of what you will be reading while cuddling in bed on Valentine’s Day. “Dead Things Don’t Rise” “Til Decay Do Them Part” “Some Like it Rot” “Pretty Kitty’s Post-Apocalyptic Porn Palace” And “Her Z-Spot.” There are 45 more titles just like these. This is going to be fun (and maybe a little gross,) but definitely a fun read.
There is even a contest for a free book. Go here for how to get a free copy.