From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Zombie Raccoons & Killer Bunnies, Martin H. Greenberg and Kellie Hughes, eds.

There’s been a great deal of brouhaha over the cover of this DAW anthology, but very little attention paid to the contents. Editor Kellie Hughes admits in her introduction that the idea for the theme started out as a joke; she also mentions what really scares her are “psychopaths and corporate suits.” Anthologies have been based on the former and “corporate horror” may been too gruesome to consider, instead we get fifteen stories of creepy critters that go bump in the night. Can the book be judged by its cover? For better or worse: no. It can’t even be judged by its title. Only one story involves a raccoon, another features rabbits. Two stories deal with snakes. There are singular supernatural encounters with a weasel-like fisher, a bull, a bird, bats, a pigeon of sorts, and werefoxes. Two of the stronger stories offer opossums. Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s “Twilight Animals” portrays preternatural possums with humor and a little paranoia; a “stinky white possum and his ninja hench-rats” show up in Elizabeth Vaughn’s amusing “Ninja Rats on Harleys.” A graveyard groundhog raises some chills in “Bone Whispers” by Tim Waggoner. A girl creates a monstrous frog from her dark doldrums in Brenda Cooper’s moralistic but vivid “Her Black Mood.” With a couple of exceptions, the stories are well crafted, they just aren’t works of art. Like most of DAW’s anthologies edited by Martin H. Greenberg and [insert editor’s name here] (or reverse name order) Zombie Raccoons & Killer Bunnies is meant to appeal to readers with a taste for the middle-of-the-road. The high spots aren’t exactly exhilarating; the potholes may deflate your tires a bit, but you won’t suffer a complete blow out. As long as you aren’t expecting to be taken on an exciting literary ride—or a book of zombie raccoons and killer rabbits—this is a pleasant, if somewhat humdrum, little trip

Zombie Raccoons & Killer Bunnies
Martin H. Greenberg and Kellie Hughes, eds.
DAW Books
$7.99 | mmp | 308 pages
ISBN: 978-0-756-40582-3
October 2009

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