A review by Terri Kinckner
Before I begin this review, I will explain how this anthology even came to be. It started out as a Facebook contest created by Cynthia Shepp for her page. She had a few requirements and left the rest to the readers and authors that enjoy her page every day. I read them as they were posted, some were too long to post on Facebook, but Cynthia loved them and wanted to share them with everyone. Apocalypse: An Anthology by Authors and Readers, was born.
Here were the rules:
I want you to imagine that the world as we know it has ended. Total Apocalypse. You only have yourself and one other person you can rely on. There is no power, no water, and you are armed with only a backpack of supplies. In your backpack there are matches, four bottles of water, enough food to make it three days, and one weapon. Spin a web of survival, danger, and conflict. Tell us why the world as you knew it ended, tell us your fears, make up a world in which nothing is the same and survival is hard, and the world is against you. Tell us what you would do, where you would go, how you would get food and water, how you would protect yourself, and how you would make your life over again. You could even throw in some romance and meet some new people to help you on your journey.
The results were STUNNING! From seasoned author to writing novice, each tale was spun beautifully.
Fade to black, by Jase Brantson, had witty dialogue, humor, horror and a surprise ending I never saw coming. I loved how fast and fluid the story was, since it was mostly dialogue.
Artificial Life: The End Of Humanity, by Kate Charles, was amazing. The main character was the cause of the apocalypse, although she didn’t really have a conscience about it. The concept of causing the world to stop spinning for an instant, thereby causing it’s destruction, was a great idea.
I loved Shelf life, by S.L. Dearing, which also had a bit of a surprise ending. The characters were realistic, and I thought her choice of weaponry was quite brilliant! This was a love story at the end of the world… loved it!
Welcome to the End of the World (Population: Unknown), by R.M. Gilmore, is psychological horror at its finest! I was trapped inside that basement, losing my mind right alongside the main character. I rooted for her until the very end as her story unfolded.
Lotion, by Grayce Jantson (Jason Brant), was hilarious. The dialogue had me laughing out loud, The second character, Greg, is probably the worst person to survive an apocalypse with, but added a whole level of humor and frustration to the story. I didn’t expect it to end the way that it did, but it’s nice when things aren’t always “happily ever after”
Until the End, by Brittany Heister, was written by a young lady my son’s age. I was very impressed with her vision of the end of the world, and she had very amusing characters in her story. An egg roll selling zombie is quite unique and made it interesting. I really enjoyed this story!
I know my first name is Clossiana, by K.T. Hennessy, is brilliant. It was such a wonderfully different take on the apocalypse. I don’t want to really reveal why it’s different, because I don’t post spoilers. This story made me rethink how humankind would react to a failing world.
Save Me, by Heather Kirchoff, was written by a high school student. Her story was vividly described, emotionally heart-wrenching, yet a feeling of hope was still kept throughout. Hers is a story of family betrayal, surviving under extraordinary circumstances, and new love. It was a wonderful story!
Canyon Bound, by Jon Messenger, was one of my favorite stories in this anthology. He made everything so real that I felt I could see, smell, hear, the end of the world, his struggle to find others that were alive, his survival in the face of illness, and the inspiring “best friend” that helped him on his journey.
What If, by Jocelyn Sanchez, was short but action-packed. It also had an ending that I didn’t see coming! The paranormal cause of her apocalypse was different than the other stories and quite an interesting idea!
Cheyenne Mountain, by Nicki Scalise, was an amazing story. The ultimate betrayal a person can face. I really liked the idea of Anathema. This story had my rapt attention through to the end.
The editor, Cynthia Shepp came up with this idea and brought it to life. I watched this collection of stories go from an idea, a Facebook contest, to a wonderful anthology. This was a labor of love by Cynthia, and she deserves her own little blurb. She put her heart and soul into this project and without it, some of these fine young authors wouldn’t be in print right now. Incredible job, Cynthia! ❤
I give this anthology 5 out of 5 stars!