Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous
edited by Tim Marquitz
Angelic Knight Press (2012)
Note: Since I've got an invested interested in this anthology (I'm one of the contributing authors), this is less a review than shameless self-promotion.
Fading Light, for me, offers the epitome of monsters in all their splendid forms. Oh sure, not all monsters are hulking beasts roaming the countryside like Bigfoot, but there's no question that monsters do exist. And the monsters you'll find in this anthology are not quite so benevolent like Bigfoot or the Cookie Monster. The book is full of sharp teeth and cruel intentions.
Tim Marquitz brings together thirty stories, all dealing in one way or another with darkness and the monstrous. Me, I went pretty literal with the premise in the story. The Sun goes missing and very big monsters come out to play. Other authors, like Dorian Dawes with "Angela's Garden," take a bit more subtle approach, while Gary Olsen's "Goldilocks Zone" a bit more surreal. The fact of the matter is: with thirty stories, plus a few more with the companion e-book, there is no shortage of variety in an anthology that might otherwise appear keenly focused on its theme.
To soothe my ego, I'll talk about my story for a little bit, then move on to the rest of the book. "Where Coyotes Fear to Tread" tells the story of a ne'er-do-well Tennessean named Lester who rushes to Knoxville to save his ex-girlfriend, Carla, when the world goes dark. Lester's intentions might be honorable enough when it comes to Carla, but otherwise he's a crook and a coward. And when Carla is chosen by a strange name Moon to save the day, Lester's overriding instincts for self-preservation are butted up against Carla's heroism. Oh, and there's a giant snake in it, too.
Adam Millard's "Parasitic Embrace" kicks things off with a really creepy story of a world gradually plunging into darkness after a volcanic eruption that unleashes something a wee bit worse than ash. Nick Cato's"The Equivalence Principle" was another cool one that didn't take the obvious route, instead using Nick's own agoraphobia to create an exciting approach to a character that is afraid to go outside--with a very good reason why.
One of the longest stories in the book also wound up being one of my favorites. Mark Lawrence wrote a story called "Dark Tide" that had such great pacing and escalating tension, as a family tries to survive as an oily liquid bubbles up from the earth and keeps rising higher with each ebb and tide. Gene O'Neil's "Lottery" is another good one, albeit one I'd read previously (maybe the only reprint in the anthology, but a fitting one). "Rurik's Frozen Bones" by Jake Elliott was a nice surprise with its viking adventure. William Meikle was another author who took to the adventure side of things in exploring the darkness with "Out of the Black."
Like I mentioned before, I'm biased about this book. I will say it's aimed directly at readers that are fans of monsters and things that go bump in the night. Lots to love in this book if you fall into either of those categories. If not, well, why are you reading this--or visiting my blog for that matter?