First Time Dead 1

Rated 4.33/5 based on 3 reviews
The legions of the undead continue to grow.
First Time Dead proudly presents a host of brand new names to the genre pantheon. Each writer contained herein might be the next “it” writer on the rise…the one to watch for. You never know where the next Romero, Kirkman, Brooks, Keene, or Wellington may emerge to scare and entertain the masses.

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Michael Cummings reviewed on on April 5, 2011

Let me caveat this by saying that where this anthology shone, it was blinding. There were a few stories that could have used an editorial redraft, though, with strong ideas but awkward execution. And then there were those stories that made this anthology completely worth it - "Twisted Words" by Andy Stockton is so reminiscent of a good gothic that its scary to think this might be one of his first publications; Rebecca Snow's "He's Not Heavy" is just awesome; "Forgive Me, Father, For I Have….Burp" is a touch comic, but certainly a fresh (and senses engaging) story; "The Overpass" by John Lemut really should be expanded and made into a novel in its own right. 4 out of 5 to balance the yin with the yang - all had strong stories and concepts, the balance of the stars coming from polished and still rough.
(reviewed 50 days after purchase)
Andy reviewed on on March 13, 2011

This is a superb collection of zombie stories by previously unpublished writers. Previously unpublished? Really? Many times during my reading I had to remind myself of this fact, such was the level of skill shown by most of the authors.

So here’s my take on the stories. I hope it convinces you to go ahead and beg, borrow, steal – hell, even buy – the book, because you shouldn’t really miss out on this one!

Hello Again. Strong characterisation, which is essential for a story set in the “here and now” and which helps move it along steadily. The atmosphere, created almost from the first sentence, is ethereal, it has a dreamlike quality to it and is superbly constructed. This ambience of unreality, often experienced when going through an experience too horrific to fully take in, is conveyed with maturity and dexterity.

Twisted Words – mine contribution, so all I’ll say is that I wanted to come at the genre from a slightly different angle from the norm. Also, many thanks to Dane Grannon for his kind words.

Everything I Know About Zombies I Learned From Star Trek. Actually, it’s not everything the protagonist knows about zombies – it’s everything he knows about the indomitable human spirit, the triumph of hope over adversity, the ultimate obstinacy of the human spirit when faced with overwhelming horror. Cleverly written, a refreshing point of view, the sort of short story you want to read and re-read.

Once Bitten Twice Shy. The horror of the post-apocalyptic world as experienced by teen Lori and her younger brother as they attempt to survive. From beginning to end, it’s a gruesome romp, a battle of the vulnerable versus the undead.

Just Another Day. Excellent characterisation, you immediately feel close to Margot, the main character. The tension builds nicely from a mundane, everyday start where the “toast landed butter side down” and domestic issues are her sole concern to a point where caring for her family means – no, not doing the shopping - but fighting the undead. Superb build up, where the horror lies more in what is implied than what is overtly said. Excellent!

Inland. A story in diary form. As the post-apocalypse world progressively deteriorates, Jake and Angela’s relationship grows stronger. But can it – and they – survive?

He’s Not Heavy. A brilliant title, that says a lot and implies even more. Set against a dystopic backdrop of autocratic authority gone wrong, this mystery story deserves to be in every zombie anthology, and probably in quite a few sociology books, too, for it’s social commentary. I read it, and re-read it, I discovered what I’d missed the first time around.

As I Watch Her Walk Away. Strong, believable characters move this story on with it’s well-paced build-up and extremely sad ending. Set during the start of the outbreak, it even contains a nod towards the panic created by Orson Welles War Of The World when it was transmitted. That made me smile and adds an extra dimension to the story. Another worth re-reading again in the future.

Things Worse Than Death. From the introductory paragraph, you know this is a well written and believable tale. And when that para ends with “every breath taken was a shallow token victory for the living” you are jolted into realising the futility of the battle against the undead. There is a superb Lord of the Flies moment, when the group of survivors teeter on the edge of self-destruction. Clever and very enjoyable, with a surprise twist at the end.

Death By Dad. A romp through the zombie genre, fast paced and hugely enjoyable. Without giving too much away, the story isn’t in diary form, but I really loved the diary entries at the end, very effective.

Forgive Me, Father, For I Have….Burp. A tragic-comic tale, I loved the perverse perspective: the contrast of the church and the undead, communion and flesh-eating, made me smile throughout. Fabulous and great fun. Or am I weird?

The Overpass. Well constructed, its starts and ends at a superb pace, with some striking and well-drawn images.

I don’t really like rating stories – stories vary, and it’s very subjective; some elements of these stories are five stars, some aren’t. But all in all, I’d be disappointed if I hadn’t read this anthology, it’s a definite positive contribution to the pantheon of zombie literature.
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)
Dane Grannon reviewed on on March 7, 2011

Review: First Time Dead Vol 1
Yesterday, I finished reading First Time Dead Vol 1 and set out to write this review. However, as I scanned over my notes, I realized that I really didn't remember a few of the stories. This is normally a bad sign. I re-read the ones I didn't remember and here is my review.

Hello Again by Megan Tregler is the very personal story about a man's struggle for an outcome with his wife is a rural setting of the outbreak. The characters are well drawn and believable. This was a strong start.

Twisted Words by Andrew Stockton is my choice as the most classic and scariest of them all. The Draculan setting and mysterious writings coupled with superior writing and pacing make this stand out about the others in this anthology

Everything I know about Zombies I Learned from Star Trek by Sam Christopher is my sentimental favorite. The unique narrative style highlights excellent character development. I know and care about what happens.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Dillon Cox is one of the stories that I had to read again. Either I don't get it or the story feels completely empty of emotion. I never cared what happened. The plot is pretty good, but it never clicked.

Just Another Day by Chantal Boudreau is another story I had to read over. This time, I got the point. This interesting perspective on life during a somewhat controlled outbreak. Supermom is incredible.

Inland by Martin Milhomme occurs three months after the start of the outbreak. The characters are interesting, but the plot is predictable. Still, I enjoyed it.

He's Not Heavy by Rebecca Show is a wonderful mystery that plays on the current trend of government mistrust. This is an interesting story that held my attention throughout. I really appreciate the social commentary. The title is a great choice.

As I Watch Her Walk Away by Dave Minyard is a realistic story of the first hours of the outbreak. The author does a wonderful job of creating distinct characters. I did not see the ending coming.

Things Worse Than Death by Bryan Vogt is another story of examining a possible outcome for the people involved in the zombie outbreak. I really see that this is possible. The twist at the end made me laugh my head off.

Death by Dad by Lisa Conger tells the story of an extended family's experience with the outbreak. This read like three closely related short short stories. I like the way it was done. The choices are realistic and well written.

Forgive me Father for I have ... Burp by Michael J. Evans is either a brilliantly written comedy or I totally missed the point. The details are wonderful and remind me of the behavior of early man. I laughed at the ending, but maybe I'm twisted.

The Overpass by John Lemut is a longer story that finished the anthology. The entire tone reminded me of The Walking Dead comic. It is well constructed but seemed to drag in the middle. The ending was not what I expected.

I give this collection a 4 out of 5 stars. A few of the stories are 5 stars but a few others are 3 stars. I highly recommend this collection.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
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