Eric S. Brown



You hear their moans and the sound of them pawing over each other to get to you. Swarms of them now flood the room as you load the last of your rounds into your gun. They’ve devoured your family, your friends, and you are the only one left, alone, isolated, empty, your soul shattered. They will kill you now in unimaginable ways, but you are determined to take some of them to hell with you. You aim and pull the trigger…

Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Welcome to Eric S. Brown’s Season of Rot. Here you will find a sense of paranoia, dread, isolation, shock and horror, and all of it adeptly woven into one tasty, flesh-eating morsel.

I have worked with Eric firsthand on some projects in the past, and his stories have always captivated me. His bleak, intense world vision gets under your skin and makes you face the biggest, scariest “what if” you could ask… What if the undead took over the world and the last hope of humanity was an inch away from oblivion? Well, the zombie man, as I like to call him, delivers again with Season of Rot.

Eric has become known for turning out the most original end of days, apocalyptic, zombie-mashing tales around. From the get-go, his stories assault you with relentless action, twists and turns and enough human drama to give you nightmares for weeks. They’ll make you stay far away from cemeteries for as long as you can until the end finally comes.

Season of Rot does all this and much more. This isn’t just a zombie fest. It’s not just an end of the world scenario. It’s a glimpse into a universe, one created and orchestrated by Eric himself. If you think you know where this story is going, think again. It’s not your mom’s zombie story. Forget that old black-and- white Night of the Living Dead—this is full-blown color in your face. Season of Rot takes the zombie convention and turns it on its head.

I guarantee that you won’t know where the story is going until Eric wants you to know. He successfully reinvents zombie fiction and makes us think. His mix of characterization, plot and action is well done and makes us care. You will be with these characters all the way; they are alive, they breathe and you will beg to know what happens to them next. You will pick a favorite and follow them all the way through. You will feel their horror, their fear, their sense of isolation, their hopelessness and helplessness. But you will also feel their courage, their sense of community, their determination to live and their hope. Yes, hope. Hope in a world gone to hell. There are glimmers of it here and there, but you never truly know how it will play out, and just as you think you know, it sucker punches you.

In recent years Eric S. Brown has spawned more zombie fiction than you can shake a corpse at. From The Queen to Zombies: The War Stories, to his most recent Zombies II: Inhuman. In these tales you will find no ordinary zombies. They think, act in groups, plan, communicate, run, and kill with intelligence. Through these tales you discover how much like us they are. They really are us. The enemy is within. They are our sisters, our brothers, our neighbors, our fathers and mothers. Everyone you could trust and love is now out to kill you and ravage your flesh, and it happens in the blink of an eye.

If anything Eric’s tales have made us analyze ourselves and the human condition, our interaction with each other and the world around us. For the battlefield, when it comes down to it, is the entire world. Eric has turned the formula of the living dead into a world-ending apocalypse. As if nuclear war, the greenhouse effect, disease and starvation weren’t enough, now we have the undead rising from their graves to end the world. And this is his universe, spanning volumes of stories, chapbooks, collections and novellas, all woven together to tell the ultimate tale of humanity’s survival.

Add to this The Season of Rot—a fine collection that only enhances this universe. From beginning to end, the book sucks you in with its seemingly simple premise, but then snags you deeply, forcing you to ride alongside these people as the unreal unfolds and the real story takes hold.

You might think that after all the zombie fiction there would be no new way of telling this tale. Eric shows you that is painfully untrue with his new offering of undead delight, a feast for his fans, an homage to all those who love the living dead.

It’s clear that Eric has much more to say on this subject, many more poor souls to thrust into a world overrun and overthrown by legions of the undead. It’s clear that Eric isn’t done twisting and turning this new icon and reinventing it. This tale, like his others, is no ordinary zombie tale… it has bite.

Prepare for the Season of Rot; it’s going to be a rough season, one you won’t soon forget. Grab your shotgun, your hunting knife and food rations, and turn the page, brave fan. The Season of Rot has just begun.

—John Grover

Author of Terror in Small Doses, Shadow Tales, and Space Stations and Graveyards.



Daniel dangled his feet over the edge of the demolished stairwell. Two floors below, the creatures waited, stretching their decaying arms toward him. Frustrated, unable to reach their prey, they pushed each other and occasionally knocked one or two of their brethren off the jagged end of the stairs. Daniel imagined the bottom of the stairwell, dark and littered with broken bodies, masses of them crawling and dragging themselves about, unable to work their way back up the stairs or find their way out of the hospital.

When Daniel and his group took refuge here, they destroyed the stairs and cut the cable to the elevators, leaving the dead no way up to reach them. The effort had proved well worth it; now the refugees could sleep in peace.

Daniel shifted the rifle across his lap and checked its chamber, then lifted the gun to his shoulder and aimed at the horde below. Only a headshot, or general destruction of the brain, would send the things back to Hell. Daniel found a target and squeezed the trigger. The rifle kicked as the high-velocity bullet tore through the dead thing’s skull in an explosion of wet pulp. It was a futile gesture, really: millions of people, nearly everyone in the city, had turned into walking mounds of rotting flesh whose sole purpose was to tear off your face and eat it; Daniel and his group could never kill all of them. But he enjoyed it from time to time. He joked that it was his tiny piece of vengeance.

No one from the floors above came running to investigate the shot. They knew Daniel was on watch today and were accustomed to his habits.

Aside from Daniel, more than four dozen living souls called the hospital home. They collected rainwater on the roof, tried to grow crops in or on the building wherever they could, and rationed out the dwindling supplies from the hospital’s cafeteria and emergency stores. They’d moved the generators and the fuel supply to the upper floors and had limited the use of electricity as much as possible. Even so, their time here was running out. One day soon, if help didn’t come, they’d all be forced to pack up and move… assuming they could find a way through or past the thousands of creatures occupying the bottom three floors of the building and surrounding its walls outside.

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