The End in All Beginnings Paperback – September 17, 2014
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Sweet Sorrow" by David Nicholls
"With fully fleshed-out characters, terrific dialogue, bountiful humor, and genuinely affecting scenes, this is really the full package of a rewarding, romantic read."—Booklist Learn more
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"The best novella collection I've read in years! It's accomplished stuff, complex and heartfelt. There's an attention to character and an access to feeling that's very refreshing indeed." - JACK KETCHUM, Bram Stoker Award®-winning author of The Box, Closing Time and Peaceable Kingdom
"THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS is literary, affecting, chilling, and indicative of old-school mentality meets new-school daring. Look no further than this collection for evidence that not only is horror not dead, there are new proponents of the craft more than capable of giving it the jolt it needs to carry it into the future." - KEALAN PATRICK BURKE, Bram Stoker Award® winning author of The Turtle Boy, Kin and Jack & Jill.
"Taff's deceptively simplistic prose offers deep emotional and dramatic insights into how human beings live with the burdens of the past and the inevitability of death. "What Becomes God" is a slice of Stephen King/Ramsey Campbell. "Object Permanence" is a slowly revealing Twilight Zone-like story. The setting of "The Long, Long Breakdown" is reminiscent of J.G. Ballard. "Visitation" follows in the footsteps of the works of Philip K. Dick. THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS offers genre readers much to appreciate." - HORROR NEWS NETWORK
"Definitely be in the running for one of my favorite reads of the year. This collection will not only appeal to horror fans, but could interest readers of just about any genre. Whether you are looking for introduction to the world of horror or are already a seasoned horror fanatic, you will definitely want to give THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS a read!" - THE HORROR BOOKSHELF
"Just under half a century ago, I discovered a personal "tell" that let me know when a performance had touched me deeply. That experience has recurred many times since. THe last time it happened I just finished John F.D. Taff's collection of horror novellas, THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS. Taff provides carefully nuanced, skillfully balanced components--storytelling, nostalgia, horror, human emotion--to work from beginnings to ultimate ends...sometimes death, sometimes things far worse, and sometimes something magnificent." - MICHAEL R. COLLINGS, HELLNOTES
From the Author
"In less than two years, Grey Matter Press has managed to establish itself as one of the premiere purveyors of horror fiction currently in existence via both a series of killer anthologies--SPLATTERLANDS (2013), OMINOUS REALITIES (2013), EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED (2014)--and John F.D. Taff's harrowing novella collection THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS (2014)." - FANGORIA
"The dark, all-encompassing theme seems to be the trademark of Grey Matter Press. When asked for a referral for a good short story collection I often state without hesitation to the very press that has enchanted my reading attention." - Dave Gammon, HORROR NEWS
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These are not your typical horror stories, and that's part of what makes them great. Oh, they have their share of revolting moments, but that's not what pushes them above the average terror tales. This horror is effective, not because it's full of gore and jump scares, but because the author leads you down dark roads you know exist for real. On the surface, these stories are about zombies, apocalyptic futures and maniacs. But underneath you find many themes, such as disease, neglect, separation anxiety, lost love and grief. What would you do to save a childhood friend? How do you deal with nasty family secrets? What would you really do for love? How hard is it to watch your child grow up? Do you really want to meet the ghosts of people you've lost? Taff answers these questions in a unique voice, which is refreshing in a genre-world full of Stephen King and Dean Koontz wannabes. (Although, speaking of the masters, one of the novellas did remind me of Harlan Ellison, and that's a comparison I don't make lightly.)
There's a reason this collection was nominated for a Stoker Award. Read it, and you'll know why.
Brian and Charlie have great adventures, the kinds most of us who were lucky enough to have back in the day before the world became scary and unsafe. The story is told by Brian as he looks back on their childhood and he pieces together the events from the perspective of an adult. The perspective only someone who has lived those years can do. There is plenty of raw emotion, excitement and even some heartfelt heaviness within these pages. The horror that unfolded on me as the story neared the end was a fantastic twist, I had to pause a think “what just happened”. I am continuously surprised and amazed at the range John F.D. Taff shows in his writing, I first knew his books as horror or dark fiction then seeming out of nowhere he smacks me with emotions and stories that I don’t easily forget. This kind of emotional story telling can be found in his story Some Other Day from Death’s Realm. This first story is one of those that will stick with me for some time.
Object permanence is a fantastic tale of remembering and forgetting, but mostly forgetting. The story starts out hard and fast, hits the ground running and doesn’t let up. Chris has to keep remembering himself while kept in an asylum. This part of the story is like a nightmare better read about than dreamt. As we follow Chris’s journey to remember we find out that everything he has been through is meant to keep things the same. His aunt Olivia has a hold on him and in fact everyone in the small town. The idea of objective permanence is clever and brilliant, the power to keep things the same through remembering and the power to have something disappear through forgetting. But Chris has a trick or two in store for aunt Olivia before it’s all said and done.
Love in the time of zombies takes a zombie story and makes you want to read it. So many zombie stories are the same but John F.D. Taff puts his special twist in the mix and the story isn’t as straight forward as I thought it would be. Durand learns the end of the world has arrived and as he enters town he finds out how it ends, zombies are everywhere. With the quick thinking of a young kid in a cafe he is spared the fate of the majority. Scott the young man fills him in on what has happened. The action and vivid descriptions are more than enough to give it a good horror and shock factor. As the story progresses the love story unfolds and Durand isn’t the only one in love and it’s quite a love story at that. Never one to miss the opportunity for a good twist John F.D. Taff delivers in fine style.
The long, long breakdown was an unexpected treat, I love end of the world stories and Mr. Taff delivers a great story. The long long breakdown is about a father and daughter who for the past 10 plus years have lived in a penthouse suite surrounded by water. The world has been flooded and little remains of cities around the world. The story is heartbreaking as the father realizes he can not longer keep his daughter from living life, not just surviving. Their life consists of scouting for what they can manage to recover from a broken world. Cassie is mostly interested in exploring the world and her father is mostly interested in protecting her from the unknown. The basis of the story is about a father learning the hard lesson of letting go as his daughter grows up and wants to be more independent. Again an emotional story hidden behind the action and a hard one every parent has experienced.
Visitation the last story in the collection for me was a great story. I really liked seeing or reading, however you like to think about it, a bit of science fiction mixed in the book. This is the first time I have read anything like it by this author and think he did a great job mixing science fiction with the ghost story which is at the heart of the story. Visitation is a story about Fen who has won the lottery to spend 14 days on a planet where ghosts are not only seen by loved ones but a place where you can talk and interact with them. Little does Fen know what awaits him on the planet Ophion and all is not what it seems and rarely is in any great horror story. The emotion and mental struggle is just as great and trying in this last story as it was in the first.
John F.D. Taff doesn’t just give us horror that scares us or makes us jump or even say “OH crap I didn’t see that coming”. He fills the horror in with deeply tied emotions and gives us something to consider or ponder. I have really come to love the story within the story and the deeper meaning he cleverly works behind the horror. He never disappoints me and I always know when I see a new story he has just finished it’s going to be a roller coaster ride. This I mean in the most positive way possible, the stories have that jolt that gets them started, the long and gut wrenching climb and the plunge as the coaster races down the seeming vertical drop. I have read nearly all of the authors work, The Bell Witch is still left to finish, and each book, short story or novella is better than the last. If you haven’t read John F.D. Taff you are seriously missing out and you should grab one of his books or an anthology that has a story by him.
Top international reviews
This is horror not because of blood and guts nor monsters nor some psychokiller. There are zombies and ghosts and evil in a small town, but these stories are about the humanity of horror. How everyday people deal with suffering the unimaginable. It is not torture porn, but rather a struggle to find something within themselves to hold on to. There is hope, but the possibility of losing that hope is what is the most horrific.
THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS is next level horror. These stories will stay with you.