Justin Taylor (Ed.)

The Apocalypse Reader [Thunder's Mouth Press]

Books Reviews Justin Taylor
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Justin Taylor (Ed.)

Tales from the Dark Side

The end of days arrives in 34 flavors in this collection of doomsday stories edited by Justin Taylor.

The effect of entering one dark fictional door after another is exhilarating. Who reckoned?

Among those gathering firm at that last onset are literary elderstatespersons Poe and Hawthorne, veterans of the edge Joyce Carol Oates and Ursula K. Le Guin, and a generous portion of newer voices, including the previously unpublished. Humor is in good supply, though much of it is bitter, with Rick Moody’s story of a New Testament all-nighter and Kelly Link’s beauty pageant of the damned just two of many examples.

Taylor’s “mixtape” organizational scheme is jarring at times and revelatory at others. Most striking is how stories by H.G. Wells and other old-schoolers seem absolutely fresh alongside their hip young counterparts. For the academically minded, there may be no collection that better demonstrates the range and possibility of the story form—though the evidence suggests time is running out for further study.