"It would be our duty, as citizens on this earth to document its end the best way we know and if that means a second by second update of the world going up in flames, or down in rain, or crushed under the feet of invading monsters so be it." -- Shivangi Narain
No one understands an apocalypse like the people who have experienced it. Mad Scientist Journal has brought together twenty-three tales of people who have seen the world end. These accounts range from irreverent to surreal to heartbreaking. Zombies share space with global wars, superviruses, canned peaches, and the death of the sun.
Included in this collection are Rhoads Brazos, Samantha Bryant, Garrett Croker, Nathan Crowder, Matthew R. Davis, Kate Elizabeth, Mathew Allan Garcia, Sylvia Heike, B. T. Joy, Herb N. Legend, Samuel Marzioli, Mary Mascari, Nick Nafpliotis, Shivangi Narain, Brandon Nolta, Alexis J. Reed, Natalie Satakovski, J. C. Stearns, Charity Tahmaseb, Nicole Tanquary, Kristopher Triana, Dusty Wallace, MJ Wesolowski, and Caroline Yoachim.
So proud to have my short story "Smoke Scream" included in such a great collection! Selfies from the End of the World is a diverse group of stories, narrated by characters from many walks of life, locations, situations, and ages. From the teenage narrator of Nicole Tanquary's Sounds of Silence a story about the complicated emotions of surviving when people you love don't to the old man telling Sylvia Heike's Winter in My Bones who tries to meet his end with dignity, each story elicited strong emotion in me as a reader.
"Happy at the End" by Matthew R. Davis and "The Adventures of Zombiegirl" by Garrett Croker both broke my heart for different reasons. "The Last Real Man" by Nathan Crowder was one of my favorites for the way the story changed as I read it, becoming something quite different than I thought it was going to be. For views of what humanity falls and aspires to when the world falls apart, you can't do better than this anthology.
I'm such a big fan of this collection, which takes a simple premise -- there are a lot of different ways the world could end, and a lot of different people who could tell those stories -- and pulls together a set of stories that shows how diverse, how complicated, and how lovely it can be.
While the collection strikes a lot of tones -- funny, contemplative, heartbreaking, loving, hopeful, afraid -- it feels focused and polished throughout.
Some of my favorites are Sylvia Heike's "Winter in My Bones," Caroline Yoachim's "An Impromptu Guide to Finding Your Soulmate at a Party on the Last Night of the World," Nathan Crowder's "The Last Real Man," Dusty Wallace's "Not Even a Whimper," Kristopher Triana's "Dog Years," and Mary Mascari's "Limbo."
Selfies from the end of the world: historical accounts of the apocalypse is edited by Zimmerman and Vogel. They have chosen 28 dystopian stories about 5 pages long - double space would be preferable. They all stand alone and not one is better than the other. But if I had to choose - The Adventures of Zhombiegirl by Garrett Croker. All in all a great read as you are presented with different ways you could die.
I was member of the Kickstarter campaign that made this collection possible. I was very impressed by the different directions the authors took when faced with title. So many different ways for the world to end! The quality of writing was high, and the curation of the collection showed off the stylistic differences of the contributors.
Another well above average collection of short stories from the people who bring you the Mad Scientists' Journal, this one about what happens after the world ends. As the title evocatively suggests. It's not all Mad Max in there--the world ends in a lot of creative ways. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, but it's probably just the flash from somebody's phone cam.
The title alone made me add this to my "To Read" list a good while ago. After finally ordering it and letting it sit on a shelf for a while I finally picked it up. I don't remember the last time I poured through a collection of short stories so quickly. Each story is about the end of the world in one form or another but every time I thought I had found my favorite in the book I would then say the same thing about the next story. A few of them really stuck with me. Winter In My Bones by Sylvia Heike was emotionally moving. The Adventures Of Zombiegirl by Garrett Croker left me wracked in the end and wondering what had happened, could she really still be out there? The Last Real Man by Nathan Crowder made me laugh because I think hipsters are like that anyway. The Men on Eldama Ravine showed bravery in a horrible situation and Last Stop: Hanover by J. C. Stearns left me with an "I didn't see that coming" feeling. I could seriously dive into detailed reviews on every story but you should just pick this one up for yourself. A great read across the board.
If you know me, and know that I can't normally read horror, you might question why I would pick up a collection of apocalypse stories. I don't know. It sounded great, and I know that this publisher tends to highlight humor, art, and wit. So I tried it. And I couldn't stop reading.
I'm so glad that I read this. Even with my extraordinary low tolerance for horror, there were only a handful of places where I was cringing. (And it does amp up a bit near the end.)
So I guess if you're like me, proceed with caution. There is a level of terror and gore. If you're not like me, it's actually very light horror.
My bottom line is - I loved how they took the common theme of "end of world short fiction" and...celebrated the world out of it. The stories are quality throughout the whole book. They are creative. They are trippy and creepy and amazing. It was...satisfying.
If this theme appeals to you and you've like to see really creative takes on an old theme, you will not be disappointed.
(Note: I did finish reading it right before the pandemic, so I don't know how that experience would change now? I think most of us were already feeling a way even then.)