Ordinarily, this book would have gotten only two stars because of the ratio of stories that made me glad I'd bought the book to stories I hated or stories which I won't remember in a week.
The first story in the book, Dan Simmons's This Year's Class Picture
set the bar high. It's got your basic McGuyver-like adaptations to a broken society, high-tension moments and of course a zombie battle, but it's also got pathos and a bittersweet, heartstring-tugging ending.
In Death and Suffrage
, Dale Bailey gives us one look at politics and the dead, and in Beautiful Stuff
, Susan Palwick has a different take on the same subject. Both stories are evocative and moving.
Lisa Morton's Sparks Fly Upward
has a heroine in a heart-rending situation who nevertheless gets a measure of revenge that a lot of readers might have wanted.
Catherine Cheek's She's Taking Her Tits to the Grave
is an artful combination of gore, black humor and pathos.
And it should come as no surprise that The Last Song the Zombie Sang
is brilliant in language, character and development, considering that it was written by Harlan Ellison and Roger Zelazny.