by Filamena Young
Dark Faith. Editors: Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon. Apex Publications. May 2010. US $19.95. ISBN-13: 978-0982159682.
I love horror when it’s done right and I love the dark and macabre even when it’s done wrong. I also have a fascination with religion in all its splendor and decadence. So, when I heard about Apex Publications’ Dark Faith, I jumped at the chance to read it.*
There are a lot of amazing writers in this anthology and editors Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon brought together a collection of stories and poems that dance all over the theme of the anthology, and play with it in a most enjoyable way.
However, if you read this anthology for no other reason, please read it for Danny. He’s possibly my favourite part of this anthology, but I’ll get back to that in a moment.
There’s a lot to love here. D.T. Friedman’s “Paint Box, Puzzle Box” drew me back to reread parts every time I flipped past it on my way to other stories. The personification of Death was fantastic and beautifully human in its love of art. (I think any artist hopes, at their core, that Death is an art lover.)
Mary Robinette Kowal’s “Ring Road” chilled me straight through like a dip in an Icelandic pool. Crystalline in its mythological beauty, it played with the gods of the Vikings and broke my heart at the end so perfectly I read it twice to recapture the moment.
Of particular interest to those who love the Lovecraft, a poem called “Disparata” by Lon Prater struck me as part poem, sure, but also part artifact as the poem, it is suggested, was part of a Gentleman’s Estate and not affixed to the stone in the ruins of Arkham. The hint of a greater story around the poem really sets it apart for me.
“The Last Words of Dutch Schultz Jesus Christ” by Nick Mamatas is perfectly strange in all the ways religion really needs to be to exist in the real world. Strings of suicides, orgasmic religious experiences caused by indy filmmaking and biolocal time-traveling messiahs make it as hard to explain as it is wonderful to read. It’s almost my favourite story in the collection.
Except there’s Danny. Did I mention him yet? Danny, the main character of Jay Lake’s “Mother Urban’s Booke of Dayes”, and I fell in love with him from the first paragraph. He’s so real, and so truly a sort of person I might know. With the possible mystical quality of the events happening around him, I’d believe it as a true story because the miracles are so easy to explain away and yet, Danny is just such a sympathetic character that like him, I believe he really is responsible for all the things that happen around him, good and bad.
Like I said, if you’re debating picking this up and reading it, and the subject matter, fantastic writers and exploration of the theme aren’t enough to convince you, please, for me, read it for Danny.
You can purchase Dark Faith through Amazon.com.
* I received an ARC copy of Dark Faith from Innsmouth Free press for review purposes.