For a world so focused on living, we certainly have a strange fascination with death. But not just your run-of-the-mill dying... No, we have to picture the world exploding around us, often with monsters chasing us down at the end of days. I view it as a form of reverse psychology: If we can imagine the absolute worst things that could destroy the world, they'll never happen... Right?
I certainly hope the visions shared by these fifteen authors never come true.
The Doomsday Chronicles is the newest incarnation of Samuel Peralta's Future Chronicles, and if it's not the best one to date, it's certainly up there. Starting with a poem and continuing though fourteen stories, the authors give us a glimpse of what Doomsday might look like.
While all of the tales are good, there are five that stood out and replayed in my dreams - and occasionally my nightmares. The first is Ann Christy's A Mother So Beautiful. Darker than the other books I've read by this author, this twisted tale shows us how the actions of a sociopath lead to the end of life as we know it.
Lockdown by Saul Tanpepper introduces us to an unknown virus that starts a zombie-type apocalypse. I loved this story enough that I immediately logged into Amazon and bought the other books in the same universe... I want to learn what happens next!
James Knapp has unintentionally created a new marketing idea with his chogg hats in At Depth's Door. Picture facehuggers, except these keep your head warm. Slight side effects include a stinger being inserted into your spine and possible loss of limbs. This is not just a horror story... It also shows how humans will sometimes accept atrocities around them - even knowing that it's wrong - just because it's easier than reaching for the unknown.
Mia + Vegan Cannibals by S. Elliot Brandis gives us a tongue-in-cheek tale of vegans and the consequences of nutritional fads. I couldn't stop laughing while reading this! This is an unapologetic story that needs to be read with a sense of humor.
The collection closes with Staying Behind by Ken Liu, a story that tackles the difficult themes of humanity, faith, and choice. When you can live forever, uploaded into a data center, are you really living? While this story can be read as a standalone, it's also a prequel to another story, giving the reader the opportunity to see if this really is the start of the end, or just another step in evolution.
I honestly can't think of a tale that I disliked in this collection, and the only reason that I'm not breaking down each story individually is that if I did, my review would be way too long! Each story gives us a unique take on a possible Doomsday, showing death and destruction in ways I had never before imagined. Even stories with more common themes hold a twist, something to give that extra edge that keeps your attention and interest. If you've ever dreamt of the darkness that might be waiting for us in the future, I suggest picking up this book.