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Maurice Broaddus & Jerry Gordon, eds.
Dark Faith
Reviewed by: Mario Guslandi © 2010

Apex Books
USA Trade Paperback, First Edition
ISBN 978-0-982-15968-2
Publication Date: 05-01-2010
360 pages, $ 19.95
Date Reviewed: 08-11-2010

Index:  Horror  Fantasy  Science Fiction  General Fiction

Spirituality and dark fiction are concepts which seldom go together. Yet beneath the gore, the violence of horror, there is often a spiritual undercurrent that remains unexplored. On the other hand spirituality in its various expressions (religion, cults, belief in a supernatural side of life) may have a dark shade that we usually prefer to ignore.

Dark Faith is a hefty short story anthology which addresses this unusual subject, assembling twenty-six brand new tales plus four poems committed to investigate the darker aspects of faith in its broadest meaning, from established religions to offbeat cults, from a private devotion in something transcendent to the wonders of the magic that goes unnoticed through our prosaic daily existence. This is a brilliant, original theme that most of the contributing authors develop with a serious, honest attitude, revealing their own deepest feelings and beliefs, or, in other words, their own faith either in something or in nothingness.

To comment in detail upon such wide material would be either impossible or simply tedious, so I'll simply mention the stories that have especially impressed me . To me the best story is Brian Keene's "I Sing a New Psalm", an outstanding, insightful piece showing how the roots of our frail faith in God can be easily shaken by the cruelty of life. In "He Who Would Not Bow" Wrath James White depicts a powerful, apocalyptic tableaux where a vengeful God rules the world bringing about death and destruction.

Matt Cardin is becoming a kind of expert on the subject of the relationship between religion and horror (I'm looking forward to getting his collection Dark Awakenings, but my review copy seems to be lost in the mail). Here he provides "Chimeras & Grotesqueries" , a visionary, albeit a bit obscure report of supernatural (or just weird?) events hinting at supernatural powers existing beyond our daily experience of reality.

Ekaterina Sedia's "You Dream" is a superb tale ( although, in my opinion, only marginally pertinent to the anthology's theme) where dreams and bitter childhood memories merge in a nostalgic mix of emotions.

JC Hay is, to me, a comparatively unknown author, whose "A Loss for Words" is an original, elegant tale full of lyricism about a peculiar physical and spiritual relationship between a woman and a writer exchanging gifts in the shape of words.

Kyle S Johnson contributes "Go and Tell It on the Mountain" , a quite unconventional portrait of Jesus Christ who finally reveals what's really taking place in the afterlife.

The vivid and tense "The Choir" by Lucien Soulban blends elements of Lovecraftian horror, pulp fiction and social issues (a group of American homosexual soldiers are sent back home as criminals aboard a ship during WW2). "The Choir" is a strong piece that cannot be easily forgotten.

Once again Gary A Braunbeck ("For My Next Trick I'll Need a Volunteer") probes the secrets of human life and seeks the meaning of an inexplicable universe by telling a kind of Twilight Zone story where the tragic fate of a dying baby abused by her drug addicted parents is unexpectedly reversed. Even though slightly burdened by too much philosophical explanation, the tale is fascinating and bookends the anthology with a final message of hope.

Apt to satisfy the taste of both horror fans and mainstream fiction lovers, Dark Faith includes stories and poems by J Pelland, DF Warrick, E Kaiser, N Mamatas, L Tidhar, J Laje, R dansky, DT Friedman, T Piccirilli, , K Dunlap, G Girard, A Kontis, MR Kowal, C Burke, L Prater, CM Valente, LA Snyder, K Barnhill, R Wright plus poems by LD Addison, J Baumbartner, L Prater, K Dinan; definitely a noteworthy volume.

Review Archive
All Reviews alphabetized by author.

General Fiction
Non-Genre, general fiction and literature.

Supernatural fiction, supernatural horror and non-supernatural horror.

Science Fiction
Science fiction, science fantasy, speculative fiction, alternate history.

Fantasy, surrealism and magic realism.

Crime, thrillers, mystery, suspense.

Non-Fiction, True Crime, Forteana, Reference.


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