C’mon and Do the Apocalypse is a mini-anthology from Zelmer Pulp, containing just two stories. Luckily, they’re great, pulpy, dirty takes on zombies, and you’ll need to take a shower after reading them, especially Sayles’. Panowich’s My Wife, Dawn… and the Dead gets a shit-eating guffaw at the title alone. It also has all the anthology’s heart, starting with a Christmas get-together where we meet a bunch of couples and a couple of daughters on a snowy evening. Aren’t you meant to get straight to the action in a short(ish) story? I’m glad Panowich didn’t, because the slow build-up of general bonhomie and a couple of domestics warms you up to the characters. So though nothing much happens, anticipation that events will go arse upwards start to grind your innards. When it does hit, it hurts, as one-by-one, many of the party-goers are offed by mindless gnashing zombies, the gore they’ve caused contrasting with the fluffy Christmas snow.
I loved the ending, despite the claustrophobia and helplessness of the situation – it is both devastating and full of hope. Beautiful.
And then you get to Ryan Sayles’ brilliant 28 Days of Mutilated Zombie Whores Later, a story so sick and twisted it would have Daily Mail readers up in arms if they knew about it, demanding the government do something about this filth. Its protagonist, Nelson, catches zombies (and sometimes deer for the dinner table) in a pit he has dug on his isolated farm in deep America. He cuts off their arms with a saw, gags them with a ball, and then uses them to barter for services and food from other survivors – who have sex with them.
He then sees a deer, infected by the zombie disease. He fears it might be the “Typhoid Mary of Zombie-ism” and gives chase until he comes to a blue tent. Other survivors are around. And so the freakery inherent in the story’s DNA multiplies its crackpottery, bringing in kidnap, a homemade landmine, a pen-ful of rabid zombie women on the loose, hippie environmentalist terrorists, and a baby.
It’s heady stuff, with unlikable characters (except Henna, one of the environmentalists). It turns the zombie theme on its head, by making you sympathise more with the zombies than with the survivors, and leaves you with the feeling that humanity is dirty, amoral, and worthy of a zombie apocalypse to wipe it out.
My only issue with the whole thing is that it could do with a more thorough proofread. Typos litter the version I have, and it might just ruin your enjoyment.
However, I loved it.