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The End in All Beginnings

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  38 reviews
THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS is a collection of horror that's a literary tour de force through the emotional pain and personal anguish of the human condition. Praised as one of the best collections of heartfelt and gut-wrenching horror written in recent history, it's a disturbing trip through the ages exploring the painful tragedies of life, love and loss.

Each of the five mas
Paperback, 319 pages
Published May 2014 by Grey Matter Press
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Cameron Chaney
Thank you, Grey Matter Press, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Over a year ago, Grey Matter Press reached out to me and offered to send me a few of their books in exchange for honest reviews. I was over-the-moon about this because I had been hearing great things about Grey Matter's catalogue, and I was even more excited when a big box of their books showed up on my doorstep. Unfortunately, life got busy at that time. Work was demanding, I wrote and published a
Kelly| Just Another Horror Reader

"The End in All Beginnings" is described in the blurb as a collection of five novellas exploring the horrors of life, love and loss. Although they're based on the same theme each one is a very different type of story. If I had to choose a favorite it was "Object Permanence" but I really enjoyed them all. I'm looking forward to reading more of this authors work.
Mark Matthews
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Best of What Makes Horror Work

Horror works best when the fantastic, the macabre, the twisted, (you name it) is used to highlight the universal human experience. When it is done to bring forth the most basic of human emotions and relationships and throw a spotlight on it through speculation. That is what I found inside these novellas. They are smart and rewarding, and the situations the humans find themselves in are familiar: childhood friendships, family ties, lost loves, and the things that
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, horror
It was Josh Malerman who recommended this book on the Booked. Podcast.

This collection of five novellas was, well, just terrific. I went into them knowing absolutely nothing about them other than Malerman highly recommending it. This is the way I go into most novels and stories. The surprising thing about this collection is that they weren't as horrific as I thought they'd be. Certainly the cover implies this. Sure, they're dark, but really the overlying theme will all of these stories is love an
The Grim Reader
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stunning collection.

This admittedly is my first time reading the works of John F.D. Taff. This is a truly wonderful and unique collection and every story is so different. Taff has a way of engrossing the reader in such a short amount of time with his superb prose. The characterisation reminded me of King at his best. My personal favourite was the last story for it's emotion alone, but all were excellent. A certain five stars.
Stephanie (That's What She Read)
This was the first book I read by John F.D. Taff, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The End in All Beginnings is a collection of five novellas, each of them, playing with a different genre. I personally loved What Becomes God and Love in the Time of Zombies. What Becomes God starts out as a poignant story about a boy with a rough home life dealing with the imminent death of his best friend and becomes a horror story. Love in the Time of Zombies is a bit more comedic, dealing with fal ...more
D.K. Hundt
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just, WOW, and that's not hyperbole, folks, Taff is a damn good writer, as many of you already know. If you've never read one of his books, THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS is a great place to start. Taff’s writing has a way of pulling at your heartstrings, never letting up, and as the reader, I’m more than okay with that. If I had to pick my favorite novellas in this collection, it would be all of them, but, those that made me laugh and cry: ’WHAT BECOMES GOD’, and ’THE LONG, LONG BREAKDOWN’.

Latashia Figueroa
I have so much respect for this writer. These stories go beyond horror, science fiction,or thriller. They should come up with a new genre named Taff, for John F.D.Taff writes stories like no one else. The characters created in John's mind come to life. Beautifully written, almost hypnotic. I have never read a collection of stories where I had a hard time picking a favorite, so I won't. They're all my favorite. In fact, John F.D.Taff is my new favorite writer.
John, you Rock!!!!!
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015, horror
If there’s a reason John F.D. Taff is called “The King of Pain” it’s because of the stories found in the pages of The End in All Beginnings. From the opening novella titled What Becomes God, he immediately tears our hearts out with strong emotion. This felt like my life as a kid. The story is about two young kids, not quite teens, and how life is spent when days are endless and summer stretches forever. I was instantly taken back to the same time in my young life and how I spent all those great ...more
Joshua Allen
Oct 05, 2014 rated it liked it
The End in All Beginnings is a collection of unrelated novellas that span a variety of horror devices and themes, from the zombie story, to a childhood horror story, to science fiction horror. While not particularly frightening, they are all solid stories in their own right, comprising a book that is a quick, enjoyable read. Nothing here felt particularly deep and earth-shattering, but all were well constructed tales with a few interesting ideas in each.

"What Becomes God" is probably the most sc
Eric Guignard
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
REVIEWED: The End in All Beginnings
WRITTEN BY: John F.D. Taff
PUBLISHED: September, 2014

“The End in All Beginnings” is a solid collection of novellas by John F.D. Taff, who’s been writing dark fiction for nearly a quarter of a century. Each of the stories is a thoughtful take, relating in some way to death and sorrow. Probably the least morose story happened to be my favorite, “Love in the Time of Zombies,” which was quite funny and with great content. “What Becomes God” is a long path into trage
May 03, 2020 rated it liked it

What Becomes God - Brian knows his best friend is dying. He makes a sacrifice in an attempt to save him, but things don't turn out at all how he expected.

Object Permanence - After escaping from a mental hospital, Chris begins to remember things from his past upon returning to his aunt's house.

Love In The Time Of Zombies - Durand and Scott are the only two men left after the zombie apocalypse. Durand falls in love with a zombie and learns Scott's darkest secret shortly after.

The Long, Lon
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The End in All Beginnings is billed by the publisher as “a disturbing trip through the ages in five novellas exploring the painful horrors of life, love and loss”. This is certainly an apt description, and readers who are into that aspect of the horror genre may well find this to be an essential read . Unique in their plots and subgenres, all of the stories here stand on their own and are excellent in their own right. Common themes and a prevailing heavy-hearted atmosphere, however, make the who ...more
Hal Bodner
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
The first time I reviewed work by author John Taff, I offered the minor criticism that at times the author seemed dwarfed by the scope of the stories that he'd chosen to tell. It is with great delight that I report that Taff seems to have matured past that small flaw and, insofar as THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS is concerned, he's given his readers a truly remarkable collection.

Each of the five longish short stories is a gem in its own right. Whether Taff is exploring a young boy's adolescent attem
These five novellas—approximately 30-50 pages apiece—are a horror lover's dream! As an aficionado of the genre (as I like to fancy myself), I was delighted by Taff's command of horror plots and the traditions that define this broad realm of literature. I kept seeing echoes of the all-time greats—Poe and Shirley Jackson ("Object Permanence"), Octavia Butler and Ray Bradbury ("Visitation"), Stephen King ("What Becomes God"), Isaac Marion ("Love in the Time of Zombies")—but Taff never feels like an ...more
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, favorites
One of the best collections I've read in years. The End in All Beginnings is both a brutal and a poignant look at the many facets of death, loss and pain. From the effects of cancer on a childhood friendship to a zombie love story, the novellas herein are written with honesty in the kind of language that doesn't just paint a picture but plays a movie in your head, while forcing you to ask yourself over and over the toughest of questions: What would I do in this situation?

These are not your typic
Matt Moore
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Taff delivers five challenging, gut-wrenching novellas.

This is horror not because of blood and guts nor monsters nor some psychokiller. There are zombies and ghosts and evil in a small town, but these stories are about the humanity of horror. How everyday people deal with suffering the unimaginable. It is not torture porn, but rather a struggle to find something within themselves to hold on to. There is hope, but the possibility of losing that hope is what is the most horrific.

Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This guy can write. I mean, this guy is Stephen King good.
A great imagination to go with that and you have one of the best collections of novellas that I have read in a long time.
A planet where you can go see your deceased loved ones. People stuck in a town and a time because of memory. Two boys that are best friends no matter what changes overcome them. And, I mean, what book of stories would be complete without a zombie love story?
Yeah, read this guy.
Estevam (Impish Reviews)
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was awesome, a pretty and frighful surpise, i loved all the stories the first one started pretty slow but then i started thinking in the meaning behind the things that the author was trying to portray and i got hooked, from them on each story was as strong as the previous one with concepts that we don't usually see, and as someone that wants to someday write, the author notes at the ending really help understand the process behind writing a good story. ...more
Jordan Whitlock
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. 4 of the 5 novellas were 5 star reads. I wasn't a fan of the last story, but it was well-written, and the problem was most likely just me...The first tale, What Becomes God, is a story that has surprisingly stuck with me since reading this book over a year ago. Every time I go for a long walk in the woods, the ending comes to mind and my eyes scan any and every log I come by. Make sure to check this book out soon, so you're walks in the woods will no longer be the same! ...more
Peggy Coffey
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Four short stories very different from each other but very good. Twilight Zone type of stories.
Jess Landry
Sep 18, 2014 rated it liked it
As the old saying goes, there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes. Although a compilation of tax-themed stories would be quite horrific, author John F.D. Taff chose to create his solo collection, The End in All Beginnings, about death and the human condition.

The anthology begins with What Becomes God, a tragedy about a young boy and the sacrifice he makes in an attempt to save his ailing friend. Childhood innocence is the driving force here, allowing the reader to empathize with t
Rich D.
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2014
John F.D. Taff's The End In All Beginnings was easily one of my most anticipated reads of the summer ever since it was announced in late April by Grey Matter Press. The collection of five new novellas from Taff made its debut at this years World Horror Convention months before its late summer scheduled release date, but I was unfortunately unable to attend. I thought I would have to wait a few more months to snag a copy, so I was ecstatic when Grey Matter Press made a few of the autographed Spec ...more
Rayne Millaray
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a love affair with John Taff’s writing style. He lulls you into comfortable conversation. You know you shouldn’t fall for it. That around the next page, he’s going to step all over your comfort until you aren’t sure how you should feel. But you can’t help it.

He has this way of holding back his biggest secrets until he wants you to know them. You spend the whole story wondering what’s the point, and then it happens, and you’re like, “OH MY GOD! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!”

John is placed in the ho
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I read the advance copy. To borrow from the back cover description, it consists of five novellas on the horrors of life, love and loss.

Here they are:

What Becomes God. This one is about two boys who are best friends, one dying of cancer. It raises the question: What are you willing to sacrifice to save someone you love? The math in this story is tough, the aftermath tougher.

Object Permanence. This one is about a man who can remove things from existence and his great-aunt who
Brian Steele
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Some books hit you fast, leaving you stunned by concepts and plot. Other books creep over you subtly, the characters and storytelling having an effect that stays with you long after you’re done. Then, very rarely, a book like “The End In All Beginnings” manages to do both.

A disclaimer of sorts – I became aware of John F.D. Taff’s writing after we both had short stories appear in “Dark Visions, vol.1” His work was heartfelt, cathartic, and dark. After we were slated to appear in another anthology
Tony Entrekin
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I won this book in a First Reads giveaway, and I have to admit that I read it, at first, from a sense of obligation. With the emphasis on pain which the cover features prominently, I expected a collection of depressing and disturbing stories akin to the torture porn that seems to be so popular these days. I'm happy to say that is not the case. These are stories that deal with painful emotions. That much is true. However, none of them leaves the reader with the sense of hopelessness that so much ...more
Bryan Cebulski
Jan 29, 2017 rated it liked it
The first story, "What Becomes God", is fantastic. Well-plotted, original while working with familiar horror tropes, and genuinely shocking by the end.

"Object Permanence" is creative conceptually but I couldn't really get into it--I think that's because it spent most of its time building up its ideas, so the character connections didn't quite gel for me.

"Love in the Time of Zombies" was the weakest link in the collection in my opinion, a relatively lighthearted but extremely rapey story about
John Sonne
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book contains five tales of worlds in which very little makes sense other than the characters very human reactions to their environments. I had never before considered what it might be like to fall in love with a Zombie, but I felt the anguish of that sublimely absurd scenario. The torment of allowing your child to enter adulthood overwhelmed the backdrop of desperation brought on by catastrophic sea level rise. Losing a best friend in childhood and gaining closure on the death of your spou ...more
Dale Elster
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best anthologies I've ever read, horror or otherwise!
Reading it, I was very much reminded of Stephen King. Of Ray Bradbury. Of Rod Serling. Yet John F.D. Taff has a unique voice, and a unique take on the horror genre - transforming it, and transcending the genre with this collection of five novellas that explore death - and what awaits us behind the veil.
Great storytelling here. If it's strictly blood-and-gore you're after, you're likely to be disappointed. Taff's work is much, much m
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John F.D. Taff is a multi-Bram Stoker Award short-listed dark fiction author with more than 30 years experience, and more than 100 short stories and seven novels in print.

He has appeared in Cemetery Dance, Eldritch Tales, Unnerving, Deathrealm, Big Pulp and One Buck Horror, as well as anthologies such as Hot Blood: Seeds of Fear, Hot Blood: Fear the Fever, Shock Rock II, Lullabies for Suffering, G

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