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Dark Faith Paperback – May 1, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although the horror genre naturally lends itself to up close and personal examination of good and very nasty evil, little writing in that genre is faith inflected. This anthology addresses that gap. "Faith" is used loosely and expansively in this collection of short tales that offers something for lots of different tastes-slasher, fairy tale, end times, ghost story-as well as religion. "Zen and the Art of Gordon Dratch's Damnation," by Douglas F. Warrick, is a meditation on enlightenment as cagey as any Zen master's teaching. "Different from Other Nights" by Eliyanna Kaiser offers a knife twist on the Passover celebration. Although the anthology is uneven, as collections often can be, the very best, like Gary A. Braunbeck's "For My Next Trick I'll Need a Volunteer," resonate in the mind long afterward, with no guts or gore. And while Cathrynne M. Valente's "The Days of Flaming Motorcycles" is a wicked clever zombie tale set in Augusta, Maine, readers may wonder where zombie Jesus is when we need him.
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From Booklist

What questions would you ask Jesus if he returned on the eve of an apocalypse and granted every surviving human a personal audience? If a Zen Buddhist were consigned to Hell, would he suffer the torments of the damned or remain blissfully serene? These are some of the questions explored in this distinctive collection focusing on philosophical conundrums presented by religious faith. Thirty-one tales and poems from some of the horror genre’s most talented writers cover quite a spectrum of inquiry. Jennifer Pelland’s “Ghosts of New York” finds the World Trade Center jumpers on 9/11 endlessly reliving their terrifying plummets to earth. An autistic girl who becomes miraculously lucid in Chesya Burke’s “The Unremembered” spurns the priest who mistakes her miracle for a Christian one. A saintly boy found murdered in Ekatarina Sedia’s “You Dream” haunts a woman’s nightmares. While the overall quality is mixed, and the selections lean heavily on shock value rather than subtlety, there are enough provocative scenarios here to provide hours of faith-challenging entertainment. --Carl Hays
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Apex Publications; 1st edition (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982159684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982159682
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,417,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The argument that 'genre-fiction is merely escapism' can be firmly put to rest with the debut of Dark Faith. It is real, present, in your face and not letting the reader go anywhere. Thirty-one stories of love and loss, faith, questions, anger, tests. This is horror as it should be: subtle one moment, punching the lights out the next. Brutal and delicate both.

It is dark, certainly. Dark Faith is not an easy read. It requires thought, processing and consideration. The stories do not preach, nor attempt to convert. Faith is examined from many angles and perceptions.

It is a star-studded table of contents. Co-edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon, the authors include Tom Piccirilli, Catherynne Valente, Jay Lake, Wrath James Wright, Brian Keene and Linda Addison, to name just a few. With such a varied group of styles and a fairly tight subject, the possibility of staleness is a reasonable suspicion. However, there is not a sign of staleness in this book.

Instead, each author brings a unique voice and outlook to the book. A cohesive whole is formed, yet all the little parts are quite capable of being seen individually. It is not only Christian faith which is explored. The actions of faith are as varied as the believers.

The highlights were hard to pick out. However, a few of the darkest gems stuck with me well after reading.

Douglas Warrick's Gordon Drach and the Art of Zen has a slow, quiet intensity. The character had depth and history, telling a past story without wandering into info dump. And the portrayal of God was unique and memorable.

The first story, Ghosts of New York, tips the reader right off of the cliff. 9/11 and a ghost girl cursed to live the moment of her death over and over again.
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Format: Paperback
"Sometimes I think the only way you can tell if something has a soul is if they can still be sad." -'The Days of Flaming Motorcycles' by Catherynne M. Valente, from Dark Faith

That, right there, sums up the tone of Dark Faith, an anthology recently released by Apex. These are not stories to read before bed- they are insidious clusters of words that will keep you up all night.

The collection ranges from the dark and bitter to the wistful, but all the stories have one thing in common- they look at what makes us human and twist it into a flurry of weakness and strength, taking the human condition and churning out things that are so skewed, so painfully true, that it is impossible to look away.

There were some stories that were hard to read, topic matter-wise, in that hard to look in the mirror sort of way, but like with a particularly vicious traffic accident the reader is captured by a morbid sort of fascination that keeps the pages turning. It helps that each story is a gem of word smithing. There are some seriously talented writers in this anthology, and that in itself makes it worth the buy.

It is also one of the more unique anthologies I have hit in awhile. There is definitely a common theme, and in the first few stories seems a bit too pervasive to make anything stand out individually, but as you keep reading, you see that one basic theme mature and mutate off into directions I would never have expected.

It is definitely for those readers who are friendly towards the horror genre, but it was definitely enjoyable for a shameless scifi/fantasy addict such as myself. I have a deep love for the twisted and for stories that have the power to make me wince. That shows such skill on the part of the author, and this anthology definitely abounds with such talent.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dark Faith, edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon, is a very strong anthology and contains over thirty stories and poems, all centered around the theme of religion. Several faiths/denominations are represented and the stories move between horror and humor . . . fantasy and bleak literary.

The first story in the collection, GHOSTS OF NEW YORK, is one of the strongest. This short pays tribute to September 11th--one of the most tasteful tributes I've read in awhile. The main character literally relives the day again and again, which mirrors our own reality in reference to this tragedy.

THE MAD EYES OF THE HERON KING is another great read. Leonard loves to watch the herons out on the lake. Through his watching, he encounters and succumbs to a very twisted redemption.

There are humorous tales as well. GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN finds the faithful lining up to meet Jesus . . . a very modern (possibly lapsed) Jesus.


I could go on . . .

In short, Dark Faith is well worth the price of admission. As with any anthology of this size, some stories are better than others. There were a few (very few) stories that didn't quite match the theme. Having said all that, this book (if you divide it up over a month) will give you thirty different takes on faith. Whether a poem or a story, this book leaves the reader with plenty to think about.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review under the Apex Publishing ‘Minion Review Program’.

Great anthology with some excellent tales playing with (and challenging) some of the negative elements of faith, religion, and the afterlife. Some straight up horror stories, some broader fantasy/urban-fantasy, but all are strong and enjoyable. The ‘Dark’ element was consistent throughout, but I did get the feeling a few of the later ones were a little thin on the ‘Faith’ theme.

Overall I felt this was a really well put together anthology, in a way that is more than just the quality of the stories. I got a sense of respect for the topic from this book, there was an 'even-handedness' that meant I didn't feel religion as a concept was being attacked (a danger for such a collection). But equally importantly, it also didn't take an easy route of avoiding any real life religions. Aspects of faith are examined honestly, sometimes brutally, through the fiction included here, in a way that is not flippant nor dismissive.

Thematically it encompasses a broad range within the ‘Faith’ umbrella. These stories cover a disappointing meeting with Jesus after rapture, detail a number of types of horrifying afterlives, show us exactly what it would be like to live directly under the oppressive and brutally omniscient presence of an unforgiving god on Earth, and so on. Multiple religions are referenced, both real and imaginary, and there is enough variety to ensure that most readers should be satisfied.


All of the stories are great, but some really stuck in my mind.
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