Friday, August 05, 2022

Eight top zombie stories without any zombies

Malcolm Devlin’s stories have appeared in Black Static, Interzone, The Shadow Booth and Shadows and Tall Trees. His first collection, You Will Grow Into Them, was published by Unsung Stories in 2017 and shortlisted for the British Fantasy and Saboteur Awards.

Devlin's new novella is And Then I Woke Up.

At Electric Lit he shared "eight stories which largely aren’t zombie stories at all and I will now try and prove they are all zombie stories at heart and thus restore balance to the world." One title on the list:
The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley

Aliya Whiteley’s novella begins in a world where, we are told by Nate, our narrator and aspiring fireside storyteller, “all the women have died.” Nate lives in a small community of men—many closed of mind—who are clinging to the past they understood and waiting for their time to die.

So, what happens when a strange sort of fungus starts growing on the women’s graves in the village cemetery? And what happens when the fungus gets up and follows the younger men home? What happens when the younger men start to fall for the fungus creatures who might actually be the women they’ve lost in a strange new form? What happens when the status shifts for everyone involved?

As with many of the stories listed here, simply itemizing the story’s weirder avenues does Whiteley’s writing a disservice. The Beauty can be read a story of the dead coming back to life, but like Marshall’s novel, it doesn’t stop there. It’s weird, surprisingly warm, occasionally horrible and genuinely beautiful.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue