“SWF, Z-curious, looking for a girl like me but different. No maggots please.”
– from Sarah Goslee’s “My Summer Romance” in Rigor Amortis
Is Rigor Amortis palatable for everyone? Absolutely not. Those readers turned off by explicit violence and/or sex should definitely look elsewhere for their literary kicks. But that said, hardcore – and I do mean hardcore – fans of erotic horror will find the stories featured within this bloody little gem of an anthology (which is sporadically illustrated, by the way) to be highly amusing and, some, downright unforgettable.
Whenever poems are included in anthologies, they seldom get highlighted but one of the most memorable selections in Rigor Amortis is unarguably Alex Masterson’s poem “There’s Plenty of Room in My Heart.” It’s simultaneously gruesome, playful and romantic – and just a brilliant piece. Here are the beginning lines:
“Bone and gristle
Wet my whistle
And nothing makes me hornier
Than gazing into the bloodshot depths
Of my love’s shattered cornea…”
Masterson's poem by itself is worth the price of this anthology alone.
There were more than a few standout stories in this anthology. Annette Dupree’s “Cloudy with a Chance of Zombie Orgasm” was a shockingly original story about a sexually repressed Colorado weather girl’s carnal experiences during the zombie apocalypse, Kay T. Holt’s “Breathing Optional” puts a darkly romantic twist on a story involving a Central Park mugging, Jay Faulkner’s “Always and Forever” was a heartrending vignette involving a couple irrevocably changed by the zombie plague, and Don Pizarro’s “Sublimation” went far in redefining dangerous sex.
In Armand Rosamilia’s darkly comical “Last Cigarette,” I almost felt sorry for the protagonist, a zombie husband who wants nothing more than to have sex with his zombie wife one last time. All he has to do is walk to the store a few blocks away and get her another pack of smokes. Easier said than done when your left foot has fallen off…
The only problem with Rigor Amortis is that it wasn’t long enough. At less than 150 pages, I devoured this book in one sitting and – like a flesh-hungry zombie – wanted more!
Adventurous zombie aficionados should definitely check out this nightmarishly erotic anthology. But don’t say that I didn’t warn you….
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
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