For those who like their romances literally mushy, Rigor Amortis, edited by Jaym Gates and Erika Holt, collects an anthology of flash fiction pieces, interspersed with the occasional poem, all centered on zombies and erotica/romance. Actually, it would be fairer to say that the stories concern relationships and zombies because not all content within the covers is sentimental, divided into sections: Romance, Revenge, Risk, and Raunch.
Despite its unusual subject matter, the anthology comes across as average, especially in the beginning. For example, most of the Romance stories concern post-death heterosexual couplings, competently told, which blur together in their sameness. Jacob Ruby‘s “Delivery Day,” in which the main character seeks a substitute for her departed lesbian lover, stands out, with a bit more psychological heft and character development than other stories in the section.
Over in the Revenge section, stories are more varied, sharper in their plotting. K.T. Holt‘s “Breathing Optional,” though not technically about revenge, even brings the humor when a zombie competes with another woman for dinner in the form of an assaulting lunkhead.
The stories in Risk seem to recapitulate the Romance theme more than anything. With plenty of sweet, squishy undead hetero sex, many Risk stories resemble those in the first section. However, Risk provides more amusement than Romance, as in Steven Scearce‘s “Second Sunday in September,” featuring a bride determined to get married, death of her groom be damned.
Rigor Amortis finishes with a Raunch section, even more heterosexual sex, with less gauzy detail than the Romance and Risk ones. One of the best, Annette Dupree‘s “Cloudy with a Chance of Zombie Orgasm” mixes a horny weather girl, zombified ostensible lesbians and undead men with detachable penises for a bravura performance of licking, sucking and squicking.
The subject of Rigor Amortis is much juicier than can be easily handled by flash fiction. Perhaps there’s a short story antho in the making?
Edited by Jaym Gates and Erika Holt
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