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Black Easter (After Such Knowledge) Hardcover – June 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Series: After Such Knowledge
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Lightyear Pr (June 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0899683924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0899683928
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By maelje on August 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I must begin by taking issue with some of the more negative reviews here. No, "Black Easter" is not a modern horror novel, or slasher film, or gore-fest. It was first published in serial form in 1968 (in "If" magazine) under the title "Faust Aleph-null." So, first things first, let's give this fine piece of writing its due ESPECIALLY since it is, as of this writing, forty-four years old. Some reviewers here have complained that it's not shocking now. Well, neither, I suppose, is Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House," but it's a marvelously creepy ghost story nonetheless. And, like that book, give "Black Easter" a chance and it just might make your neck hairs stand up a bit.

The premise here is that an arms dealer contracts with a practitioner of black magic, the aim being to loose all the demons of hell upon the Earth for one night -- JUST TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS. What happens, unfortunately, is Armageddon; once loosed, the legion of demons cannot be whisked back to the underworld.

Some who've complained that "Black Easter" seems short and incomplete should know that there's a good reason for that: Blish considered it to be merely the first half of a novel, the other half being "The Day After Judgement." In 1990, a small publishing house called Gregg Press finally released the two novellas as the single novel Blish had intended, under the title "The Devil's Day." Presented in that way, both "Easter" and "Judgement" seem whole, and the entire story arc just makes more sense.

Both "Easter" and "Judgement" are worth reading. True, even for me they don't pack the punch they did when I first read them as a teenager in the 1970s. But still, there are some very dark, disturbing concepts here.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "mythologue" on October 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a thesis novel in the sense that its events seem to have been carefully thought out before Blish even began to write the book - from the first page to the last, he leads the reader towards a powerful and inevitable conclusion. This isn't a work which should be read for `plot surprises', but rather for its tight structure: Blish looks at magic with precise, almost clinical attention; as he set out to do in writing this work, he strips the book of extraneous details and instead confines himself to a select few questions and themes. The four main characters - Black magician Theron Ware, monk and White magician Father Domenico, weapons-maker Baines and his assistant Jack Ginsberg - all play clearly defined roles, each providing the reader a different point of view from which to evaluate what is being said and done. This is a difficult but memorable book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Though MANY years ago, I remember it so well I have spent the last several months hunting for it again. The ending is the key, and here more than most stories, where the reading is the joy.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dark Mechanicus JSG on March 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
First off, the fact that this is such a brilliant, pithy, amazingly tight little tome is doubly amazing when one realizes that the quite gifted Mr. Blish also wrote novelizations of Star Trek episodes. Ah well, even the best have to pay rent.
Second, there is no finer fictional chronicle of diabolism, either ancient or modern, in English, and none that I know of in most of Earth's other tongues. Each of Blish's characters is deftly crafted with a minimum of prose, a compliment which can extend to the rest of this slight and delicious book; Blish accomplished in a few pages what today's pompous and prolix authors take hundreds of pages to say...Stevie King, though the man can write when he wants to, comes to mind.
Finally---and a mild criticism---while it is delightful that Blish takes care to present Malefica as a discipline, it is (or was, for when I first read this I was merely thirteen) somewhat disenchanting to see that Blish gets most of the Satanic formulae, Latin incantations, and demon summoning paraphernalia hopelessly wrong. I have since found older grimoires to draw upon, though, and Black Easter is a work of fiction, so no victim, no foul.
All in all a devilishly clever and delightful book; for more nastiness pick up The Day After Judgement, which is actually the third in a trilogy (the first of which was After Such Knowledge).
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Timothy O. Riley on March 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
1968 was a dark year. Robert Kennedy was assassinated and the world was still in shock over Martin Luther King's senseless murder. Hippies rioted at the Democrat's convention in Chicago, Charles Manson had begun his murderous rage, Vietnam was a debacle, the Cold War was still on and it seemed the world (humanity calls home) was on a downward spiral headed to bummerland.
In 1968, James Blish was writing disposable Star Trek "fan-novels" and was (pretty much) considered the"poor man's" Aurther C. Clark-- when he published the second novel (Black Easter) of his trilogy "After Such Knowledge". "Black Easter" remains a touchstone compendium of that nasty year.
No other sci/fi/horror author, before or since, has captured the paranoia of a particular time with such supernatural, black magic volcanism.
Warning: The book feels dated but why grouse.
Violent, debauched, corny and utterly fascinating, "Black Easter" will give every fan of densely plotted intelligent horror more than a few chills.
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