What would you do if the earth broke apart under your feet, the sky turned black and the mountains fell upon the multitudes around you?
Well, if you were a writer, you’d write about it!
I mentioned the exibit of John Martin’s paintings HERE, all the biblical end-of-the-world, fire-and-brimstone you could cram into your eyeballs. While there, I picked up Pandemonium / Stories of the Apocalypse, a little set of end-of-the-word short stories marketed to go along with Martin’s display.
Now, I’ve read EOTW stories before. Last year while in a down mood, I got two anthologies, one on the end of civilization, the other, broader, the end of the world. And the thing was, none of them filled me with dread, despair, or ultimate fin the way the Pandemonium set did.
These were grim stories, gut-punchers that let you lean way, way out over the abyss. Like “OMG GTFO” where people start channeling for the screeching masses of hell and we learn a very depressing fact. Or “Sardak in search of the waters of oblivion”, where explorers in a depressing future world begin to rot alive in a terminal salt swamp. Or “Closer”, where two teams of third-stringer baseball losers play the final game while the winds of Heaven and Hell roar and the world around them turns dark. And “All-demon-place”, where the standard quartet of heroes find resolution to their quest in an un-heroic (and unconventional) manner.
I really did like these stories – a few are funny, a couple don’t make much sense, but that’s an anthology for you, right? A literary chocolate box where you will find both cherries and coconut hidden within the sweets. I think if I had one complaint, nobody explored Heaven’s side of the Apocalypse: either religion had nothing to do with it or Heaven was just as much as Hell at fault for the destruction. One story, just one, where the angels flew in divine goodness and the righteous were saved would have been nice. But then again, evil sells.
I’ll mention that you’ll have a bit of a time finding this book – it was a limited set (I’ve got 7 out of the 100!). However, there are Kindle copies about, so you might want to check out their site HERE for ordering information. Really, if you want to peek into a world dying harder than 2012, where the pain throbs, the blood flows, and all hope is gone, you should check this out. I really, really enjoyed it!