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Monday, June 4, 2007

Light at the edge of Darkness



Light at the edge of Darkness
is an anthology of Biblical Speculative Fiction including "Christian Horror" which is why I agreed to review it.

I have to be honest--do you expect anything less from me? I'm hard to please. I don't like a lot of what's out there, Christian or secular. I have my favorite authors and have been disappointed in the past but I've also been wow'ed beyond belief at other times. So here's my disclaimer: Just because I possibly didn't like few stories in this anthology doesn't mean that I don't like the author and it certainly doesn't mean the project isn't worth while.

I don't think it would do any good to review each story individually because some of the offerings are just not what I read. As a whole, Light at the edge of Darkness gives hope to an up and coming generation of Speculative fiction readers and authors.

Two years ago when I started researching my genre, Christian Horror, it didn't exist. The semantics are still debatable, but at the end of the day, it is what it is. To see an anthology of this type being published shows which way the wind is blowing.

My favorite? A.P. Fuchs deserves to be watched. His story, Undeniable, took me there.

There being that place that I'm no longer reading, I'm living the story, I'm tense, I'm thinking, I'm not distracted, I've blocked out any sounds and I'm in another place with the characters. If you can make me become the character, you've written a good story in my opinion. A.P. Fuchs did that and took me there.

Quite a few of the stories had that Prairie Romance feel to them. Not that they were Prairie Romances, mind you, but they had that feel to them. The flat characters who were driven by an authors need to fit in a few verses of Scripture (because God's Word does not return void,) things were bad, the character made some sort of statement of faith and then the whole world brightened and all the problems magically disappeared--that Prairie Romance style.

I noticed in the horror department, many of the stories wanted to deal with evil, which is fine. But what I like to read is a more realistic approach in that horror and evil generally do not present themselves as the goony under the bed or the ugly beast with bad breath dripping down the side of your neck. The kind of horror I enjoy reading is probably a lot more psychological at its core (another reason I chose A.P. Fuchs as my favorite.) I feel that in this spiritual battle that is life, deception from the enemy is often times the things we think most beautiful and that's where it starts to fade from a black and white world to a grey world of unknowns and horror tucks itself into the comfy blanket of unknown.

So all in all, not a bad book. Some really good stories, some just meh stories and a few really bad stories. But that's just my opinion and like I said, I'm hard to please.

13 comments:

Karina Fabian said...

Michelle,

I liked your review. I, too, am hard to please and hd to admit a few of the stories I skipped (ironically, it was the horror that does not appeal to me.) I also agree on your view of "prairie romances." However, that was more a style issue than a qualtiy of writing issue.

I really liked the book and have found some stories have stuck wtih me. With so many stories and so much variety, there was plenty to recommend.

Blessings,
Karina

Caprice said...

Is this where I comment to enter the big contest? I hope I win the book copy after all these reviews.

cfvici(at)aol(dot)com

chrisd said...

Just cruising through. I didn't have time to do a review this time.

Nice job here, Michelle.

Steve said...

I'll admit that in a way the anthology struck me as "Rosie in a blender" (i.e., a mixed bag). But it's worthwhile to mention some of the really great stories, such as "Frozen Generation" and "The Edge of Water." As for the "just meh" stories, there weren't that many, and besides, that's just meh. (Incorrectly spelled, too.)

Steve

Carol Collett said...

Interesting take on the anthology, Michelle. I'm into the horror too. Although dystopia can be horrifying to me as well. Haven't read AP Fuchs' story yet. Have to read that one next.

cyn said...

Thank you for the post Michelle. I found AP's story to be very disturbing at the same time as absolutely compelling! It has (along with a couple of others) been recommended for a Bram Stoker short story (long fiction) award--and very deserving it is.

--cyn

Frank Creed said...

Whether by subgenre, style or personal preference, reviewers agree that there's something in here to grab everyone.

My bag is Biblical sci-fi, so I know the vale of reviews from spec-fic sub-genre fans & writers. Great perspective. Thanks!

Faith,
f

Cheryl said...

Enjoyed your review, Michelle. :-)

Daniel I Weaver said...

Thank you for reviewing, Michelle. AP's stories definatley take you away. Ableit, not to a place I'd hope to be any time soon. LOL.

As with most readers, I would expect everyone to find their favorites. I have yet to encounter an anthology where I liked every piece. Those gems make it worth while, though.

Again, thanks for your support.

SteveDoyle said...

Thanks for the review, Michelle. I have yet to hear from anyone who liked all the stories, but no one has claimed to have disliked them all either. Interestingly, the ones people have chosen as their favorites comprise a varied list as well.

Virginia said...

Michelle:

Thanks for the review. Anthologies, like whole novels, appeal to people for different reasons. It's been interesting to watch reviewers pick their favorite.

V.B.Tenery

karen_m said...

I am a rather picky reader myself, which is why I've shied away from most Christian fiction for a while (and a lot of secular fiction too) but books like Light give me a reason to come back for more. AP's story was indeed excellent....very visceral...and I'm excited to hear that he's nominated for an award. He deserves it.

A.P. Fuchs said...

Thank you for the kind words.

I also can't help but wonder if the day we'll all be in Duncan's shoes will be soon. Look up Europe's "Alliance of Civilizations" for what I mean.