cover image ZVR Diplomacy

ZVR Diplomacy

Edited by Jeff Conner. IDW, $19.99 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-61377-646-9

An international gorefest is the main attraction of the eight original stories gathered in this anthology, fourth in a series that invites writers to riff on the weird juxtaposition of zombies and robots. The odd combination sometimes does make the undead look more lively, aided by fresh settings in the U.K. and Russia. The zombies are a standard swarm of rotting, shambling brain-munchers, but the robots are a more varied lot as they reflect the varieties of human foolishness in trying to fend off the living dead. Some of the stories simply groove on the conflict’s absurdity; the most successful of these is the outrageously over-the-top “Beheaded by Whip-wielding Nun” by Simon Clark. Others, such as Ekaterina Sedia’s “Timka” and Simon Kurt Unsworth’s “Spinbot”, try to find human interest in the hopeless struggle. At their best, some stories do achieve what contributor Dale Bailey calls “pulp fiction with heart.” (Aug.)