Just in time for Halloween, Zombies?! Zombies!! An Anthology is live and in publication!
While sites like Amazon won’t have the book or ebook for another month, you can order it now via the new order page located here.
And here’s a sample, an excerpt from PJ Oubre‘s excellent story Caesar’s First Zombie War
Two of the legions with us had fought the lemures previously, however, the third legion had no idea what they were about to face. Caesar rode his horse at the front of the train of soldiers; he always believed that he was responsible for leading and inspiring the soldiers under his command. After two hours, we could smell the stench of decaying flesh emanating from the town. This odor managed to rattle the third legion and I remember seeing smoke rising into the sky as we approached. We found a city in ruins. The town was ablaze and only a small portion was protected as the appointed leader of the city appealed to Caesar for assistance and described the account of what had happened.
Four months earlier, a family returning from the south had fallen ill and died. A day later, the pale, reanimated family began to shamble in the direction of any living being and attacked them. These walking dead began to bite anyone near enough and stupid enough to allow him to get close. Within days, the western half of the city was consumed by thousands of lemures that the city leadership did not know how to combat. They built a temporary wall to contain the undead, but not before losing several thousand citizens.
Salamanca was a significant town for the Romans since it contained a massive aqueduct that brought water to many camps and villages. It was strategically and economically important for control of the entire Iberian Peninsula. Salamanca was located along the Roman road (Via de la Plata), which was paramount for control of the northwestern portion of the peninsula. This road gave the Romans access to the ocean and made transport of merchant goods vital. Caesar knew that he had to liberate this city from the undead as quickly as possible or the water supply might be disrupted and fail to support the forces under Vetus. He called together his troops and planned to invade the western half of the city at daybreak. The night before battle, I had not seen him so nervous, for he was about to command troops in battle for the first time. All of his studying and preparation led him to this moment. He only had 8000 soldiers at his disposal and for many this was the first significant engagement against a true horde of the decomposing undead. The moans of the undead trolled on for hours and the smell of decaying flesh tickled our nostrils. The first sight of shambling former Roman citizens and blood soaked streets and walls must have been a disconcerting sight for the new legion.
Caesar kept 500 soldiers in reserve and utilized the remainder to fight. He designed his troops to walk in tightly packed formations, shoulder to shoulder, with shields in front of them and swords poking between the front rows of shields, grinding their opponents into pulp. He ordered his soldiers to march in formation five rows deep on each street and to rotate every hour to combat battle fatigue. He knew that the best way to combat the walking dead was in slow systematic units that decapitated each undead. He emphasized the need for each unit to work as a whole and that the only way to defeat their new enemy was by decapitation. The challenge for this army was the fact that the undead moved slowly and did not always coordinate into groups. Occasionally one would be overlooked and manage to bite a soldier, which caused the disease to spread into our ranks. In effect, they had to break formation to combat the shambling individuals aimlessly walking the streets.
These miniature armies systematically walked each street and let the undead walk toward them and they severed the heads as swiftly as possible. Caesar had ordered his soldiers to shout and bang their shields together in order to attract larger numbers of lemures making combat easier. Apparently, we had noticed that the lemures were attracted to loud noise, which suggested that their hearing was more acute than under normal living conditions. The idea that Roman soldiers had to alter their training to attract the enemy and let them come to them was a new and unusual concept for them to grasp. Roman soldiers were accustomed to walking slowly in formation towards their enemy and devastate their opponents with methodical precision and destruction. Caesar ordered them to remain calm and stand in formation and make every effort to draw the walking dead to them. This required a great deal of patience and many soldiers did not possess the patience required. Often, a pair of soldiers would break formation and go out in search of glory, only to receive a bite and quickly turn into one of the lemures. Those soldiers stationed behind these street units, Caesar ordered to remove the decapitated bodies to the side of the streets for removal at the end of the day.
At the end of the first day, they had slaughtered 500 lemures and Caesar ordered the citizens of the city to erect movable walls to barricade each street recently cleaned up. The reserve troops hauled the corpses to the camp outside the city and built massive pyres for corpse removal. Caesar understood the need for sanitary conditions and conducted the pyres outside the city for this purpose. I oversaw hours of burning corpses upon these pyres. I also overheard some of the standard soldiers weeping in their tents (either out of fear or shame for being a part of such a scene). War is a crazy spectacle and men react in ways as various as the stars in the sky; in addition, all of these soldiers had never before seen the reanimated corpse of the dead and this second shock caused many men to run in fear. Luckily for us, Caesar had an inhuman ability to inspire the most uninspired soldiers under his command. Caesar had gained two legions assigned to him that he had not recruited from his private army. That first night was the longest of my life.