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Alphabet Anthologies #1

A is for Apocalypse

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What do you get when you take twenty-six amazing writers, randomly assign them a letter of the alphabet and give them complete artistic freedom within a theme?

A is for Apocalypse

A is for Apocalypse contains twenty-six apocalyptic stories written by both well-known and up-and-coming writers. Monsters, meteors, floods, war–the causes of the apocalypses in these tales are as varied as the stories themselves.
This volume contains work by Ennis Drake, Beth Cato, Kenneth Schneyer, Damien Angelica Walters, K. L. Young, Marge Simon, Milo James Fowler, Simon Kewin, C.S. MacCath, Steve Bornstein and more!

304 pages, Paperback

First published August 1, 2014

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About the author

Rhonda Parrish

99 books221 followers
Like a magpie, Rhonda Parrish is constantly distracted by shiny things. She’s the editor of many anthologies and author of plenty of books, stories and poems.

She lives with her husband and cats in Edmonton, Alberta, and she can often be found there playing Dungeons and Dragons, bingeing crime dramas. making blankets or cheering on the Oilers.

Her website, updated regularly, is at http://www.rhondaparrish.com and her Patreon, updated even more regularly, is at https://www.patreon.com/RhondaParrish.

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5 stars
31 (35%)
4 stars
33 (37%)
3 stars
13 (14%)
2 stars
7 (7%)
1 star
4 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews
Profile Image for Joseph.
349 reviews9 followers
April 16, 2017
This is a great anthology, I'm enjoying the different takes on the Apocalypse. There is a tremendous variation in style and approach, and I have enjoyed something from each of the stories here, with some that are particularly fine. There are some authors here I will be searching out other works from. I quite liked the tale by Milo James Fowler, and will check out some of his other work.
Profile Image for Jared.
19 reviews1 follower
April 16, 2017
Having been at the book launch for D is for Dinosaur (book 4 of the series), I was quite intrigued by the idea behind this anthology series. And I was not disappointed. The main idea was vague enough to allow for a HUGE variety in tone and content which allowed me to get much more invested in the volume than many of the other anthologies I've read recently.

I will say a though you should be in a good headspace when you read this, as if you are like me you'll start thinking about how you'd deal with the end of the world. Thinking like that can go in dark and strange places.

The Stories that stuck with me
I - Kenneth Schneyer - I loved this take on the idea of long life. It went in a direction I've never seen or considered before, giving me a lot to think about
K - Gary B. Phillips - I am a sucker for stories told using alternate frameworks. This story utilized its unconventional format in a way that truly strengthened the story and ideas they were putting forward
W - Lilah Wild - I think I connected with this story the most, reading through created intense visuals that captured my attention and had me heavily invested in the fate of the characters.

Would recommend 100% and am looking forward to diving into the other volumes of the series
Profile Image for Samantha Strong.
Author 15 books85 followers
February 9, 2017
I recently read a different anthology of apocalypse stories headlined by some big names (George R. R. Martin, Arthur C. Clarke, and Neil Gaiman, to name a few). It was terribly disappointing; half the stories I couldn't finish and the other half were only passable, except the Neil Gaiman story. But whatever, this isn't a review of that book (The End of the World: Stories of the Apocalypse), which seemed to be thrown together haphazardly as a money maker riding on the backs of well-known names.

When someone loves something, they create it with care. The editor of this book had a clear and interesting vision, and most of the authors in here obviously loved the stories they told. The anthology itself and the individual stories were compiled with a passion that shone through the pages.

This is the second anthology I've read by editor Rhonda Parrish, and it didn't disappoint. I absolutely adored her collection of fairy stories, called Fae, so I couldn't wait to read more. Possibly the only reason I'm giving this book a lesser rating is because it wasn't quite as absorbing as the first. Some of the stories were a bit strange and confusing; however, I think that was part of the vision for the book. It is, after all, stories of the apocalypse. So many, however, struck me as beautiful and haunting. The lonely, afraid robot in "Y is for Yolo" will stay with me for a long time.

Pick this up. Do it now. And then go read the rest of Rhonda's works.
Profile Image for Rakhi Jayashankar.
Author 2 books93 followers
February 20, 2016
The book is an alphabetical anthology of twenty six stories named with the twenty six English alphabets. The stories are quite refreshing and interesting. In spite of writing baseless and hollow words, each story is dedicated to a relevant issue or incident. From Zombies to Nuclear pollution, the authors touched every topic of concern. I never believed that I would like a story with Zombies but the book changed my every preconceived notions. Rhonda has done a praiseworthy job as an editor. The book urges us to turn the pages fast and swift, making us want to read more and more. Variety is another virtue I noticed in the book. No two stories are similar or have similar topics, which is noteworthy for a book with 26 stories.
As with every anthology, there were some weak links. One or two stories were not up to the benchmark set by the others.

One Liner
A refreshing alphabetical anthology compiled seamlessly
Profile Image for Ana Meyer.
Author 3 books97 followers
November 11, 2015
I was given this book and thought.....oh no end of the world. I don't like the idea of the end of the world....there would be no more wine and that is a problem. However, when I found out it was a collection of short stories about different end of the world situations my interest was peeked. Each story holds its own charms and uniqueness which keeps the topic (end of the world) from getting stale. It was easy to read as you can put it down easier. You can break between stories and come back without any worry of forgetting. The fact that so many authors took part in putting this together really made it unique to many other collections of short stories I have read. I liked some more than others but I won't tell which. I don't want to sway any readers as we all gravitate towards the types of stories we enjoy.
I will tell you this zombies or no zombies when the end comes I am keeping my wine!
Profile Image for Pete Aldin.
Author 29 books55 followers
November 26, 2014
Full disclosure: I have a story in this book. So read this with as many grains of salt as you think appropriate.

For the most part, I loved these stories. Honourable mentions: Gary B Philips' K (hilarious), Damien Angelica Walters' U (tear jerker), Beth Cato's D (believable, oppressive, dark), KV Taylor's J (masterful), Cory Cone's T (soooo nasty! I love it).
Profile Image for Tabitha Lord.
Author 7 books65 followers
February 7, 2016
A collection of very different stories united by their theme - Apocalypse. Some are fantastical, some are utterly believable, and all are haunting in their own way. Naturally, I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, but the individual voices contribute to a satisfying, devastating whole.
Profile Image for Xan Rooyen.
Author 34 books109 followers
May 4, 2014
These five stars are for all the other stories in the anthology - not my own!

A wonderfully eclectic mix of short stories from some truly stupendous authors!
Profile Image for K. Lincoln.
Author 16 books91 followers
April 17, 2019
There is a lot of story packed into this anthology. 26 to be precise....one for each letter of the alphabet. And I found myself purposefully not looking at titles so I could "guess" what the title would be at the end of each story (all were one word starting with the assigned letter somehow encapsulating the theme of the story). So that was fun.

It was fun seeing some familiar names and not-so-familiar names as well. There were quite dreamy and artistic stories, and some quite Twilight Zone-esque end of the world stories, a few seemingly set in alternate fantasy worlds (or unrecognizable earth futures), but most set on our planet.

The one that resonates most in my mind at the end (I like the longer ones) is Cory Cone's "T" wherein a Beethoven lover is left not-quite-alone at the end of the world with his piano, Victrola, and audience of stuffed rats. Very creepy. I also like Steve Bornstein's "Z" which chronicles the regrets of a high-powered working couple as a black hole barrels straight towards the Earth. It was so...realistic and simple (and thus relatable).

This is the kind of anthology you can definitely dip in and out of like a bag of multi flavored jelly beans and savor the individual flavor of each story.
240 reviews1 follower
March 28, 2018
Not for the faint of heart nor easily depressed

I am a fan of apocalyptic fiction like many others, I like novels where the author has time to develop the situation and characters prior to / during and after said apocalyptic event. The short story format never made me think that it could be otherwise.

I am happy to be disabused of such a notion! This collection of short stories are beautiful examples of how excellent writers make use of the format to pack a novels worth into so few pages by not hand holding the readers imagination (not that I dislike well crafted and detailed novels mind you).

A great selection of apocalyptic short stories!
Profile Image for Ulla.
402 reviews18 followers
June 26, 2018
A - Not my taste. *
B - At least it was short, no star.
C - It seemed to be better, but not my taste. *
D - Best story so far. *****
E - Another highlight. *****
F - I think the musician in this story has gone mad. It's his personal Apocalypse. Much of it might be better understood by a musican or someone who can at least read notes. **
G - The part with the young lovers was nice, but I'm not sure if I understood the rest. **
H - Made me think of Atlantis. ***
I - I couldn't get into this. *
J - A fuzzy vampire story. *
K - I didn't finish it because it makes fun of religion. No star.
L - A fuzzy vampire story. *
K - I didn't finish it because it's all sbout fighting and I don't like so much swearing. No star.
M - No star. Would like to give less than that.
N - Quickly given up. No star.
O - I don't see the point in this. Nothing original. No star.
P - Well-written (kind of Hemingway Style), but I didn't like the story so much. **
Q - At least it was short, no star.
R - I didn't finish it, stopped when there was the bad f-word twice. Kind of boring anyhow. No star.
S - Writing style and monsters didn't please me. Given up. No star.
T - The last man and woman on earth. Stuffed animals. Interesting plot but the ending was gross. **
U - Fantastic, I've got tears in my eyes. *****
V - It was okay. **
W - It was okay. **
X - I didn't finish it, it contains ugly rats. But I stopped when there was the bad f-word. No star.
Y - Well written and captivating. Great atmosphere. A real highlight. *****
Z - Interesting idea. ***

Overall I give ***.
Average is two stars, but in anthologies there are always weak stories and here I have found some which are exceptionally good and I want to reread them some day.
Profile Image for Tess.
498 reviews2 followers
May 24, 2023
Alphabet spaghetti.

Short stories and a whole different range. It's taken me a lot longer to read than I thought it would because there is a lot of different thoughts on each letter. I would say that it's worth reading but give yourself time to think about each story before moving on to the next one.
716 reviews2 followers
August 18, 2017
There are some wonderful stories here. And some fairly dreadful ones. My favorites:
D by Bethesda Cato ****
I by Kennith Schneyer ***
N by C. S. MacCath **
U by Damien Angelica Walters ***
Y by Alexis A. Hunter **
Z by Steve Bornstein **
56 reviews
September 28, 2020
Apocalypse selection

Some better than others. Suitably short for a pre bedtime read.Didn't end as I expected every time. Actually prefer full length books.However well written and unusual.
Profile Image for Jenny_acc.
170 reviews2 followers
May 7, 2018
I liked a lot of the stories in this anthology. Some of them were a bit weird and not so enjoyable, but all in all i was pretty happy with the majority.
543 reviews
December 11, 2018
Anthologies of the end

Utilizing alphabet as guide, this book has 26 tales about end of everything happenings. The connection is how everyone's views are expressed.
Profile Image for Michael  Lasco.
60 reviews
May 26, 2022
Bought a long time back. Can’t believe it took so long to read. Superb range of stories.
82 reviews
August 25, 2016
"A is for Apocalypse" winds up somehow being less than the sum of its parts. When I went to grade the book overall, I decided on 2 stars ("It was okay"). But when I went through and graded each of the 26 stories, the average score wound up being 3 ("I Liked It"). There are a lot of good stories, a couple I didn't care for at all, and a few that I really, really liked. (Two actually got 5 stars, using the GoodReads.com scoring system.) I think the ones that weren't that good managed to drag down my overall enjoyment of the anthology. It's not that any of the stories were poorly written...I just didn't enjoy some of them as much as I thought I would.

For the record, these are the stories that got each score.
1 star: Q, X.
2 stars:B, D, G, M, O, S.
3 stars: A, F, H, K, L, P, Z.
4 stars: C, E, I, J, T, U, V, Y.
5 stars: N, R, W.

Obviously, with as many stories as received 4- and 5-star ratings, there's no logical reason for the collection to get only two stars. But there it is.

Fleeting reviews of some of the stories
"A is for Ascension" (Brenda Stokes Barron) was quite enjoyable.

"C is for Coyote" (Milo James Fowler) was one of the better stories, with good characters and some good weirdness to keep me off-balance.

"E is for Earth Station Six" (Simon Kewin)...is it possible for this kind of story to be like literary comfort food? This story reminded me of some of the classic sci-fi short stories I read when I was a kid, and I greatly enjoyed it. My heart goes out to Commander Vishnu, though.

"F is for Finale" (Suzanne van Rooyen), as disturbing as it was, was a good read.

"H is for Hieroglyph" (Sara Cleto) was really good...until the last paragraph, which I though stupid enough to drop it down a star.

"I is for Immortality" (Kenneth Schneyer) was one of my favorite stories; the only thing that kept it from being 5* was that I couldn't figure out the "why" of everything.

"J is for Journeyman" (KV Taylor) was another one that just missed being 5*. Not anything I could put my finger on, but it just didn't quite hit "amazing" in my eyes.

"K is for Kickstarter" (Gary B. Phillips), an amusing and quirky take on one of the hot internet things out there, was good. Not great, imo, but pretty good.

"L is for Leverage" (BD Wilson): I spent most of this story with a strong sense of déjà vu. I honestly felt like I had read this story before, in one of the other Poise and Pen anthologies, but by the end I realized that it wasn't a reprint. Considering it was a pro-wrestling-is-real scenario (which would ordinarily be right in my wheelhouse), I'm disappointed I didn't enjoy it more than I did.

"N is for Nanomachine" (C.S. MacCath) is quite possibly my favourite story of the lot. Well written, with a very different type of apocalypse (and a reminder of how little humans think of those not like them).

"O is for October 31st" (Michael Kellar) felt very formulaic and underwhelming.

"P is for Porkocalypse" (Cindy James) was good, but could have been better. It just didn't feel like it lived up to its potential.

"Q is for Queen" (Brittany Warman) left me wondering what the froo I had just read.

"R is for Rock and Roll" (K.L. Young) was far and away the best story in there. And I say that as someone who doesn't like H.P. Lovecraft.

"S is for Silence" (Pete Aldin): the first-person main characte is creepy as all get-out, and I couldn't get past that.

"T is for Taxidermy" (Cory Cone) is another one that just missed that fifth star. And even though I should have seen it coming, I was still gobsmacked with the main character did the thing.

"U is for Umbrella" (Damien Angelica Walters) is a very poignant and heart-breaking story, surprisingly so considering the theme of the anthology.

"V is for Vellum" (Samantha Kymmell-Harvey) took the disturbing nature of what was happening and made it into a quite enjoyable read.

"W is for Water" (Lilah Wild) had me bracing for tragedy the whole time. I was so relieved at the ending.

"X is for Xerxes" (Jonathan C. Parrish) was, like "Q is for Queen", a wtf story that I didn't care for at all.

"Y is for Yolo" (Alexis A. Hunter) was, aside from the ironic title, a very good story.

"Z is for Zoo" (Steve Bornstein) was, basically, a The Twilight Zone episode in print. A pretty good story.

I might go back and fill in tweety-y reviews for the other letters, I don't know yet.
Author 3 books2 followers
February 20, 2015
I am usually very ambivalent about zombie oriented fiction, but I was very, very impressed by Rhonda Parrish's anthology. Her attention to detail and energy shine through the anthology and make it a good read, even for the squeamish, like me. A great introduction to why this genre is garnering so many readers, and a must read for those already addicted to zombie fiction.
Profile Image for Aly.
1,839 reviews56 followers
October 31, 2015
I think this was a good collection for short stories. I am glad they are fun and I think the author has a good imagination. I enjoyed the book. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Bonnie Dale Keck.
4,680 reviews52 followers
April 4, 2017
Some Kindle Unlimited some permafree? D one I got as LibraryThing freebie please if you would reveiw of your own free will blah blah.
Each Letter has an anthology and each anthology has a theme and each one is an alphabet's number {26} of different shortish stories by different writers. For the 2 I got to read, must say Absolutely Astonishing and Definitely Different. Just read them already, see the stars.

A is for Apocalypse (Alphabet Anthologies Book 1) {permafree? has one of the B stories in back}
B is for Broken (Alphabet Anthologies Book 2) {not ku}
C is for Chimera (Alphabet Anthologies Book 3) {not ku}
D is for Dinosaur {ku, got it through LT myself}
Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews

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