ZVR Diplomacy — Zombies vs. Roberts, Edited by Jeff Conner
The Zombie versus Robot wars continue and expand. No longer confined to local skirmishes, the war between the Zombies and the Robots has become an international battle. The undead meet the never living in an apocalypse sure to delight Zombie and Robot fanciers alike.
ZVR Diplomacy takes you to heart of the ongoing war that seems foreordained to be a no-win. For Zombie versus Robot aficionados, there’s something for everyone in this new collection of original short stories, all set in the United States or Russia. These are sure to satisfy your every itch for gore and glory.
Writers from around the globe sent their offering to IDW’s Lab of Loathsome Literature for inclusion in this volume: the United States, Australia, Canada, the UK and even Russia (proving you can’t predict where you’ll find ex-pat American sci fi writers). This is an intriguing, uniquely focused bunch of stories, not merely about battles, but about — of all things — diplomacy.
Diplomacy? Can you negotiate with Zombies? How? For that matter, Zombies and Robots are not natural pals; they have nothing about which to negotiate. Zombies want brains and more brains. Robots, creatures of metal, wire and circuitry have nothing Zombies want — except that the bots get out of the way so the Zombies can get to the biological brain creatures. Negotiate?
Well, not exactly. Okay, not really. Great title, but there isn’t any negotiating going on that I could detect, at least not as I understand it. More like fighting Zombies and trying to find their weaknesses so we can kill them faster and more efficiently. Is that diplomacy? I’d call it tactics. Perhaps the title strains credulity just a bit. Do not expect round tables and formal treaties. This is much closer to calculated slaughter. When dealing with Zombies, that’s likely to be as good as it gets.
Desperate battles are set in dystopic future Earths where The Bombs have taken a massive civilian toll. Or on a similarly dsytopic Earth where the bombs haven’t yet fallen, but might fall soon.
Human failures in leadership allow the Zombie threat to become too powerful to easily stop. If it weren’t for the Warbots, the Zombies would have knocked off human life before we knew who the enemy was, leaving the eternal question: what would the Zombies do after they’ve wiped out people? Eat animals? Each other? You gotta wonder.
There are lots of great images. My particular favorite is the British King smoking what he believes will be his final cigarette on the balcony of Buckingham palace … waiting for atombots to come and blow everything to hell and gone. Zombies, people, everything. He’s wondering if that will be a victory. Is total annihilation victory? Always a good question. Don’t expect an answer. In fact, don’t expect any answers. This isn’t that kind of book.
Stories by Steven Lockley, Rio Youers, Robert Hood, Gary McMahon, Ekaterina Sedia, Simon Clark, Dale Bailey, and Simon Kurt Unsworth — all top writers in the zombie horror and robot mayhem genre are included in this compilation of ongoing ZVR wars.
The illustrations by Michael Dubisch are great. If I hadn’t read a word of any of the stories, I would have been happy just looking at the pictures. If you are a fancier of graphic arts, these are superb. The book is worth it just for the illustrations. Kudos to the artist. Very well done Mr. Dubisch!
Thirty-one stories, some of which are quite long. You can get involved and stay awhile. And there’s plenty of variety of style, so if one story isn’t quite your cuppa tea, the next one probably is. Each story is conceptually unique and stylistically different.
For fans of the Zombie-Robot wars, ZVR Diplomacy is a must-have. There’s plenty to read, great illustrations, more than enough action, battles, bots, zombies, mass destruction, guts, gore and triumph to satisfy anyone who likes this genre.
I’m not a big Zombie fancier, yet even I was well-entertained. Much to my surprise. If this is your thing, you won’t want to miss it. It’s available on Kindle and paperback.