Vignettes from the End of the World (QuickLII) (Volume 2) Paperback – April 25, 2014
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- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 25, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 136 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1497431182
- ISBN-13 : 978-1497431188
- Item Weight : 7.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.34 x 9 inches
Best Sellers Rank:
#7,418,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #166,087 in Horror Literature & Fiction
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All of these stories are thoughtful and insightful. Michael Haynes quotes J M Barrie "God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December." You can find this in The flower of Memory. One can always hope. I found One Man and His Dog by David Turnbulll the saddest of the bunch, where one can hope no more. Glenn Rolfe's Charley Sings the World Away is a bittersweet tale and in Reincarnation by E E King we are left with the thought, that what once was, will be and what will be, once was.
Of course I can't fail to mention the couple who take their vows literally, you can read about them in The Last Kiss by Josh Strnad. I could go on and on as every one of these stories are fantastic, but I'm sure you would much rather read them yourself!
Now it's no surprise to anyone who reads my reviews that i adore reading tales penned by Terry West and it shouldn't be much of a surprise to believe that his offering in this anthology in which CENTERED tales the tale of a father who lets his children do as they wish and eat what they want. They're going to die anyway right? So why not? This tale just goes to show just how humanely morbid Mr West's scribblings can be..It's the end of the world and pops still gets that "best dad in the world" t-shirt. Just this tale alone should sell the s*** out of this..But wait! if you act now you'll get even more tales!!!
Next we visit Glenn Rolfes tale of CHARLIE SINGS THE WORLD AWAY. This tale is more on a somber note as we are taken to an emotion of sheer sadness as we learn of a little girl who's oblivious to the fact that they'll more than likely be dead in a month or so. To me for some reason this story seemed very personal. Great job
Now we roll on over to Silvia Spruck Wrigley's ALL THE WE NEED circling around a guy in a hilariously depressing manner in which he knows the world is ending but he's damn well not leaving until he gets his damn breakfast. This tale picked it up and throws you into the next array of grisly tales such as Kz. Morano's RED CURTAINS in a sick blood soaked tale that snatches you by the balls and owns your soul. I recently read 100 NIGHTMARES by author Kz Morano and fell in love with her mind and style and RED CURTAINS just adds to the notion that I will be reading more by her in the future. She pulls your spine out through your mouth with this one kiddies....
Okay, so without me rambling on and on about the tales herein those aforementioned should be sufficient enough for you to want to read this anthology.
In between you will find stories where love triumphs over mortality, where suns and moons explode, where monstrous fungi drool for human meat, where people change or are changed into some unhuman form, where nukes descend, where mountains and flesh ascend, where the sun just vanishes, where it really does end in fire, where people eat people, where dread lab accidents begin the deadly chain of events, where the senses are lost one by one, where nightmares bring madness and an unspeakable name, and where shadows steal us away.
So many ways for the world to go.
And, of course, zombies.
Some images found in this volume are really rather fabulous. This one from the second story, "My Father's Flannel," a reflective one, enjoyable if a bit uneven in the tone of the narrator, one reminiscent of some retro tales I recall reading where the nuclear end, inevitable, doesn't lead to panic or criminality, but acceptance and a bit of life flashing before one's eyes before the... final flashing: "I realize my lighter is still inside. It doesn't matter; the nuclear heat beats upon my searing face, its flames ignite my cigarette."
This is not the only story that is a rather quiet observance of global and near-instant disaster rushing toward the narrator, offering the opportunity to catch some key life point or revelation, or as one character says: "For a moment, I bordered epiphany."
When moments are all you have left to you, epiphany might be inevitable.
In a story set in Africa, "My Country Dies. The World Dies Later" by T. Fox Dunham--one of my favorites due to having a protagonist undergoing dreadful trials who still remains human enough to make gorgeous observations--a tale where humanity's demise comes via plague, we have this: "My mother named me Chionesu. It means Guiding Light. No soul lives to guide. I watched the sun set."
A skillful offering, quite possibly my most favorite one, haunting for its dreadful surrealistic images and beautiful prose, where comma splices become art--"At the end of all things, there remains this: the battered circus train moving through a smudged charcoal world." And "High above in the clouded sky that is never broken with sunlight, Gabrielle circles. She is a woman, she is a brown bat, she is both things at once." And "The water fanned out, gray with the dead, blue with sorrow, edged in foam that tries to be white."--is "Inland Territory, Stray Italian Greyhound" by E. Catherine Tobler. I need to look up this writer's other work!
A solitary woman on an outpost station on desolate planet witnesses the tardy visual proof of the apocalypse in "Tears on Vega" by Erik B. Scott. Yes, another favorite. It's beautifully told and glows with grief and loneliness. I could see it all play out in my head: "Her telescope sat at the hill's zenith in lonely anticipation of this day. Lydia was not sure whether the device really was casting humanoid-looking shadows or if it was just her subconscious wishing for some company."
Yet another favorite "Four Mornings" by Joana Eca de Queiroz brings us a plague of ennui "That night she sleeps in their bed, her side unsullied, him covered in the air-fresheners she didn't pay for, but the cashier never said anything anyway."
Other notables, ones that I went back and happily reread:
"Broken Mirrors" by Jamie Lacky
"Blood Pearl" by Marie DesJardins
"Rip" by Bryce Hughes
"All That We Need" by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley (one of the more humane and gentle finales)
"Toward the Endlessness" by Jennifer Loring
"Chattanooga" by Leslianne
"Nothing Can See You" by S.R. Mastrantone
"The Silk That Bind You" by Kelda Crich
"Red Curtain" by K.Z. Morano
As with any anthology, some stories shine very brightly and some less so. Some here were so weak, so trite, so surprisingly inept that the anthology would have been better off briefer and without them.
What will you find inside, ideas-wise? Here's a preview:
--an astronaut becomes, literally, subatomically, the hand of death
--lovers bare themselves to inevitable disintegration with joy
--a man flies above grasping zombies and a pun is born
--a sentient train and a bat-woman and a skeletal dog and hope
--a person changed into a walking memorial of human history
--a cranky survivalist not inclined to play Good Samaritan
--an alien invasion that may be something else altogether
--a dead man walking looking for a place of final rest
--the dead fall from the sky
--the dreadful choice when a shelter only holds two, not three
--the very last birthday celebration on earth
--a rollercoaster ride to the end
--a father's love on the last day of light
--the last wedding
--the Lovecraftian finale
--a watch that keeps a different time
--an orgasmic send-off
--the last zombie
And a lot more.
Typos sprinkle the book, most quite skimmable, some that distract, as this one certainly did: "it stared soulfully into her eyes for a few minuets at a time." It creates a picture of elegant endtime dances, but it's not the intent of the author. Or at least, I don't think so. :D
Some of these small bites of the apocalypse leave graceful ruins in the mind. That's not bad at all, is it?
Well worth the modest price for enthusiasts of endtime imaginings.
(Note: I won the Kindle version of this anthology in a FB offering and didn't buy it with my cold electronic cash. Disclosure done.)
These are the tales that haunted me the most:
-My Fathers Flannel by Essel Pratt
-My Country Dies, The World Dies Later by T. Fox Dunham
-Centered by Terry M. West
-Ouija by Joey Capora