Monday, October 22, 2007
Light at the Edge of Darkness: Anthology of Hope in Evil Times
A mysterious horseman, assorted demons, zombies, werewolves, generous aliens, angels, sadistic persecutors, lunatic killers, stoic martyrs of the faith, fearful victims, secret agent hit men who travel through time, Evil One State Government, supernatural deliverance, the battle of good versus evil, a battle of wills, hope, faith, the power of God. All this and more awaits the reader in Light at the Edge of Darkness, an anthology of twenty-seven short stories, collected by Daniel I. Weaver from members of the Lost Genre Guild, edited by Cynthia MacKinnon of The Writers’ Café Press. This impressive collection is somewhat loosely tied under the umbrella of Biblical Speculative Fiction. There are too many tales and too much variety to do it justice in this brief review. The sub-genres include dark horror, supernatural thrillers, cyberpunk, futuristic science fiction, space travel science fiction, fantasy, and dystopia (I had to look it up: a place where everything is as bad as it can get, anti-utopia). The antagonists are usually horrendous and are often evil spirits. The protagonists vary in their strengths and character traits, but they always have hope and faith; they see the Light at the end of whatever their individual darkness is.
I will try to give you a few examples of what to expect. The first story, “Frozen Generation” by Andrea Graham, is an instance of dystopia. In this future World Empire, some mothers sell their unborn fetuses, labeled POC (product of conception), to companies that will either sell the children as slaves or harvest the organs of unsold babies. One of the workers is a Black Christian woman who rescues Black embryos but has no compunctions about destroying the White fetuses. In “Miracle Micro,” Frank Creed offers a cyberpunk special that any techno-freak will appreciate. Fast forward to Chicago around 2036, when Fundamental Christians are labeled as terrorists and criminals, and the Federal Bureau of Terrorism hires an electrical-technical whiz to become a spy with the Underground Body of Christ. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but suffice it to say the Holy Spirit interferes with his plans of sabotage. A. P. Fuchs creates an extremely dark and emotionally charged “Undeniable.” It explores the very real possibility of Christians who are brutally tortured simply because of their faith in Jesus Christ and just how much they might be able to bear without denying Him. At the other end of the spectrum is a pun-infested fantasy wormhole-travel piece by Stephen L. Rice called “At the Mountains of Lunacy.” A motley band of adventurers (including a priest and an Amazon woman with a mustache) are hired to open up a mountain pass and find a lost alchemist. Told from the point of view of one of the adventurers, this tale is full of lunacy: maniacal kings, werewolves whose leader is Lord Lovaduc, greedy but fragile zombies, and a nutty alchemist.
Many of the tales were horrific, sad, dark, and oppressive, but one thing remained the same throughout: there was always THE ray of Light at the edge of the Darkness. Sometimes the heroes were saved from physical death, sometimes they weren’t, but always they knew they would be saved to eternal life. The truth of the gospel, of Jesus’ redemption, was ever present. This is the core that holds everything together. One of the strong points overall is the way the authors weave the Biblical truths, particularly of Jesus’ sacrifice, love, and redemption.
Personally, I enjoyed the majority of the stories, but in an anthology like this one, individual preferences will play a part. If you are an aficionado of any type of science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, horror, or cyberpunk, you are going to want a copy of Light at the Edge of Darkness. It will keep you at the edge of your seat.
LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF DARKNESS
Edited by Cynthia MacKinnon
Publisher: The Writers' Cafe Press
Paperback: 384 pages
Retail Price: $14.95
Now available at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.cbd.com, as well as from the publisher and other fine book stores.