Death. Who has not considered their own mortality and wondered at what awaits, once our frail human shell expires? What occurs after the heart stops beating, after the last breath is drawn, after life as we know it terminates?
Does our spirit remain on Earth while the mortal body rots? Do remnants of our soul transcend to a celestial Heaven or sink to Hell's torment? Are we offered choices in an individualized afterlife? Can we die again in the hereafter? Is life merely a cosmic joke, or is it an experiment for something greater?
Included within this critically acclaimed anthology are answers to these queries alongside tales and suppositions relating from traditional ghosts to the afterlife of e-coli. Explore the afterworld of an Australian cowboy. Discover what the white light really means to the recently departed. Consider the impact of modern, or future, technology on the dead. Follow the karmic path of reincarnation. Travel from the 999th level of Fengdu's Hell to the gates of Robot Heaven.
Enclosed are thirty-four all-new dark and speculative fiction stories, individually illustrated by Audra Phillips, and exploring the possibilities "after death."
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Introduction by Eric J. Guignard
Someone to Remember by Andrew S. Williams
Boy, 7 by Alvaro Rodriguez
Sea of Trees by Edward M. Erdelac
The Last Moments Before Bed by Steve Rasnic Tem
The Resurrection Policy by Lisa Morton
High Places by John M. Floyd
Circling the Stones at Fulcrum's Low by Kelda Crich
I Will Remain by David Steffen
Tree of Life by Aaron J. French
The Reckless Alternative by Sanford Allen & Josh Rountree
The Thousandth Hell by Brad C. Hodson
Mall Rats by James S. Dorr
Afterword by Ray Cluley
Like a Bat out of Hell by Jonathan Shipley
The Overlander by Jacob Edwards
Forever by John Palisano
My Father Knew Douglas MacArthur by Bentley Little
Robot Heaven by Jamie Lackey
Beyond the Veil by Robert B. Marcus, Jr.
Prisoner of Peace by David Tallerman
A Feast of Meat and Mead by Christine Morgan
Be Quiet At The Back by William Meikle
Cages by Peter Giglio
Hammerhead by Simon Clark
Marvel at the Face of Forever by Kelly Dunn
The Unfinished Lunch by Trevor Denyer
I Was The Walrus by Steve Cameron
The Devil's Backbone by Larry Hodges
The Death of E. Coli by Benjamin Kane Ethridge
Final Testament of a Weapons Engineer by Emily C. Skaftun
Acclimation Package by Joe McKinney
Hellevator by Josh Strnad
In and Out the Window by Allan Izen
With Max Barry in the Nearer Precincts by John Langan
|Publisher:||Dark Moon Books|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wow. This book of Anthologies is intense! Who hasn’t wondered what happens to us after death? Does our soul go on? Are we reborn? Is it just endless emptiness?It seemed I was always reading this at night. In the dark. I guess I like to torture myself, because some of the anthologies are just plain creepy. Like “Boy 7″ by Alvaro Rodriguez doesn’t sit well right before bed.Most of the anthologies were good, some I found myself skimming through. Of course, what I found insightful or scary you might find boring and vice versa. Some of them were so good that I thought a whole novel could be written around the storyline. The two that come to mind are “The Resurrection Policy” by Lisa Morton and “Acclimation Package” by Joe McKinney Overall, it is such a great collection I can’t imagine being without it. This is the type of book you could easily gift at Christmas (or Chrismahannaqwansika:P ) to any book lover.
In the introductory words of editor Eric Guignard, "...I would argue there is no greater mystery than that which occurs after we die. What exactly is the destination of our journey?" He also asks: "Can curses transcend the life-death boundary? Are there different hereafters to accommodate multiple religions? Do we all share a common singularity?" You will find 34 different answers to those questions, each one simply fascinating. It's rare when I read an anthology of such consistently good stories that I have a terrible time finding a stopping point. AFTER DEATH is one such collection. I was going to just read the first story, maybe the middle and the last story. Oh, and of course Joe McKinney's, Lisa Morton's, and Steve R. Tem's, a couple more and be done. How wrong I was! I started with the first story, "Someone to Remember" by Andrew S. Williams, a writer I'd not heard of. It was so good, I gave it a Stoker rec right after finishing it! Then went on to the next, and the next --two hours later, I was still reading. I had to stop at that time. But I've returned again and again. I found so many well done and wildly different ideas about what happens after death, it's hard to pick more favorites. I think you will find, as did I, that this is a treasure chest of fiction you'll want to keep and return to many times. -Marge Simon
These anthologies all put together do something that apart they could never pull off. Although I guess that is the point right? After some of them, like John Palisano's "Forever", I had to put my kindle down for a little while before moving on. Very thought provoking and I'm sure I will read it again.
I never realized there were so many different views on death. As a Catholic, I grew up with knowledge I would go to Heaven or Hell. Maybe make a pit stop in Purgatory. After reading this I know what the Greeks, Jews, and Indians (to name a FEW) think happens after death. Of course some of the analogies were straight out of the authors head, and some of them were very thought provoking. I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, but that is the great thing about having such a awesome variety. Everyone can have a different opinion and still come away satisfied.
Wow, this book is a profound collection of stories covering so many chilling and smart possibilities of what could happen after death. There's lots of ghost and devil stories, but there's also things I never thought up, like the afterworld for bacteria, what happens to animals after death, coming back after death from technology, stories of different gods from other cultures and bizarre interpretations of otherworldly rooms and worlds. I really liked The Reckless Alternative which was Joe Strummer (from the Clash) in his own afterlife; and Beyond the Veil in which we never die, but live our same life over and over; The Unfinished Lunch, where a man dies and his soul absorbs into a salad bowl (sounds weird, but really touching!); and Circling The Stones At Fulcrum's Low, about a witch who is cursed to remain in a superstitious town that hunts her down every time she is reborn.
Kudos to this anthology which tackles such a broad and introspective topic without coming out seeming preachy or shabby. This book has some amazing, amazing stories included, ones which cause you to ponder the mysteries of the universe in many different ways. It is a fiction collection, but these stories cover a broad range of theologies and popular culture, such as exploring Greek afterlife, Chinese afterlife, Viking afterlife, animal afterlife, afterlife for suicides, robots, bacteria, and angry killers. I was impressed with the editor’s thought in accumulating these stories – all new and collected just for this book. Good explanations from the editor for each story, as to why it was included and how it ties in (besides the obvious), which he did in his first book, Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations. Like before, this anthology is categorized under horror, but it’s not horror by the traditional definition. Many of the stories are bleak and dark, but many of them are just good old fashioned science fiction and some of them are actually very uplifting and spiritual (in a non-religious way). Well done, all around.
****Courtesy of Black Gate, review by Michaele Jordan***** As you can guess from the title. Eric J. Guignard has assembled an assortment of viewpoints about the afterlife. These thirty-four stories (illustrated by Audra Phillips) cover a surprising range, especially since the viewpoint most professed by science fiction fans is the least represented. Please do not interpret that remark as a criticism. There’s not a lot of story to tell in a story about nothing happening. Yet even the perception of the afterlife as nothingness is included with The Last Moments Before Bed, in which Steve Rasnic Tem confronts the dreadful hole remaining after a loved one is gone. These stories run the gamut from blissful to black; John Palisano’s Forever anticipates a joyful reunion while Kelly Dunn’s Marvel at the Face of Forever is one of the darkest horror stories this reviewer has ever seen. Several authors contrast the Christian afterworld with the pagan, as in the Christian displacement of the Greek afterlife in Jonathan Shipley's Like a Bat out of Hell, or Valhalla’s continued rowdy intrusion into the Catholic middle ages as told by Christine Morgan in A Feast of Meat and Mead. Naturally, the traditional views are represented. In Tree of Life, Aaron J. French presents the Jewish cosmogony, while in Hellevator, Josh Strnad portrays a simultaneously modern yet classical image of heaven and hell that is straight out of C.S. Lewis. On the other hand, Allan Izen shows us reincarnation and its rationale in In and Out the Window. Brad C. Hodson warns of the darker side of rebirth in The Thousandth Hell. And Mall Rats by James S. Dorr is simply a sad little tale of hungry ghosts. Whatever the medium, many authors felt that an afterlife must surely serve as a vehicle for justice. Lisa Morton inflicts the perfect sting on a corporate shark in The Resurrection Policy. William Meikle also shows us a biter bit in Be Quiet at the Back. Other writers believed that death would change little or nothing. Bentley Little documents a man singularly unimproved by death in My Father Knew Douglas MacArthur, while in Prisoner of Peace, David Tallerman suggests the dead take all their hurt and fear with them. There are a half dozen tales of less classifiable afterlives. John Langan takes a very different look at the bright light at the end of the tunnel in With Max Barry in the Nearer Precincts and Peter Giglio's Cages turns the whole concept of afterlife upside down. There are even comic visions of the afterlife, such as The Devil’s Backbone by Larry Hodges. These are only half the stories included in this excellent collection. That leaves seventeen more to surprise you!
REVIEW BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY: "This anthology addresses one of the most basic questions of human existence: what happens when we die? The answers come in the form of 34 stories that explore diverse notions of ghosts (Edward M. Erdelac’s “Sea of Trees”) and demons (William Meikle’s “Be Quiet at the Back”), trapped souls (Steve Cameron’s “I Was the Walrus”), mishaps in resurrection (Lisa Morton’s “The Resurrection Policy”), and unbearable eternities (David Tallerman’s “Prisoner of Peace”). The newly deceased protagonists may be confused, angry, resigned, or unaware that they are dead, so even those vignettes with more exposition than plot convey a sense of personal discovery (if perhaps of the hopeless kind). Though the majority of the pieces come from the darker side of the genre, a solid minority are playful, clever, or full of wonder. This makes for good variety but a bit of emotional whiplash, somewhat mitigated by Guignard’s clever introductions and Audra Phillips’s portraitlike illustrations. This strong and well-themed anthology is sure to make readers contemplative even while it creates nightmares."