An anthology of stories in the Black Tide Rising universe created by John Ringo. A great mix of well known authors play around in the sandbox of the master of Mil-SF. It’s a great adder to the overall universe. Typical mix of good and mediocre found in an anthology, but mostly good. The final Ringo story also might leave you gape-jawed at the potential for things to come in the series.
TLDR: The Flint, Williamson, and last Ringo stories are worth the price of the book. These three get 5 stars. There are other good ones as well in the anthology. My average rating for the book is 3 stars (36 over 12 stories), and I call it a Worthwhile Read.
Individual story ratings below. Beware of spoilers (I try not to, but they are short stories, so…)
Never Been Kissed by John Ringo (2 star)
Very short. Musings of Faith about the fate of all the people she knew.
Up on the Roof by Eric Flint (5 stars)
An excellent story of a group of survivors who make an excellent choice to ride out the apocalypse atop a gasoline tank farm. Really good setup, detailed enough without being boring, and good character development in a short time. I would like to read a full novel about this group.
Staying Human by Jody Lynn Nye (1 star)
Missed the mark on several key points about the behavior of the zombies in this universe. Sentiment is all over the place and turns very preachy about being better and not seeking revenge against the ‘poor infected’. Waste of my time.
On the Wall by John Scalzi & Dave Klecha (2 stars)
Annoying. Some humor, but of the obnoxious variety. The entire story is dialogue, which makes it read like an episode of Gilmore Girls. One of the characters is such a douche that he needed to be thrown to the zombies.
Do No Harm by Sarah Hoyt (3 stars)
An ER nurse must come to grips with ‘kill or be killed’ as the hospital is overrun with zombies. Good story. Great character development for a short story length tale.
Not in Vain by Kacey Ezell (3 stars)
A group of cheerleaders and their coach must step up if they want to reach a safe haven in the zombie apocalypse. Excellent character development, but too short. I want more!
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Grandpa? by Michael Z. Williamson (5 stars)
Grandpa is a vet, but his grandkids think he’s a gun hoarder that needs an intervention… until the zombies hit. Best one in the book. Grandpa was right, and he ain’t taking no more of your crap, you little shits!
Battle of the BERTs by Mike Massa (3 stars)
Interesting story of the teams sent out to control infected on the streets of New York before everything gets completely out of control. This one ties in directly with events form Book 1 in the series.
The Road to Good Intentions by Tedd Roberts (3 stars)
A small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains could be a refuge for some, but only if they can keep outside influences from ruining things. One man struggles with his own religious issues as the local pastor calls his survival of the fever a miracle and sets him up as a beacon of hope. A decent story with good details, but the ending is abrupt and left hanging. The use of religion as a plot device is bothersome.
200 Miles to Huntsville by Christopher Smith (2 stars)
A post-war Vet turned cop, his dirty-cop partner, and the prisoner they are escorting find themselves in a cultish Hicksville, Texas as the final shoe begins to drop. I didn’t care for this one mainly because of the use of religion as a plot device. The writing and characters were ok, but the blurring of good/bad would not be something I’d want to keep reading for much longer.
Best Laid Plans by Jason Cordova & Eric S. Brown (2 stars)
A group of thieves are determined to rob the Louvre despite the zombie apocalypse. Interesting, but too short to get to know the characters well. The humor is quirky and not all that funny to me (others might find it more so).
The Meaning of Freedom by John Ringo (5 stars)
An interesting interlude that shows the true nature of the ‘beta’ zombies that has been hinted at in the main series. It raises a huge moral question, which I won’t spoil. This one is a thinker, unlike the ‘killing infected’ or ‘using infected for medicine’ questions that I found to be trite in the main series itself. This story is a must read for the series.