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The Apocalypse Reader

by Justin Taylor (Editor)

Other authors: Grace Aguilar (Contributor), Steve Aylett (Contributor), Robert Bradley (Contributor), Dennis Cooper (Contributor), Lucy Corin (Contributor)30 more, Elliot David (Contributor), Matthew Derby (Contributor), Carol Emshwiller (Contributor), Brian Evenson (Contributor), Neil Gaiman (Contributor), Jeff Goldberg (Contributor), Theodora Goss (Contributor), Nathaniel Hawthorne (Contributor), Jared Hohl (Contributor), Shelley Jackson (Contributor), Ursula K. Le Guin (Contributor), Stacey Levine (Contributor), Tao Lin (Contributor), Kelly Link (Contributor), HP Lovecraft (Contributor), Gary Lutz (Contributor), Rick Moody (Contributor), Michael Moorcock (Contributor), Adam Nemett (Contributor), Josip Novakovich (Contributor), Joyce Carol Oates (Contributor), Colette Phair (Contributor), Edgar Allan Poe (Contributor), Terese Svoboda (Contributor), Justin Taylor (Contributor), Lynne Tillman (Contributor), Deb Olin Unferth (Contributor), HG Wells (Contributor), Allison Whittenberg (Contributor), Diane Williams (Contributor)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1703115,145 (3.03)4
These are the ways the world ends. Thirty-four new and selected Doomsday scenarios: an enthralling collection of work by canonical literary figures, contemporary masters, and a few rising stars, all of whom have looked into the future and found it missing. Across boundaries of place and time, these writers celebrate the variety and vitality of the short story as a form by writing their own conclusions to the story of the world. Obliteration has never hurt so good. Contributors include Grace Aguilar, Steve Aylett, Robert Bradley, Dennis Cooper, Lucy Corin, Elliott David, Matthew Derby, Carol Emshwiller, Brian Evenson, Neil Gaiman, Jeff Goldberg, Theodora Goss, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Jared Hohl, Shelley Jackson, Ursula K. Le Guin, Stacey Levine, Tao Lin, Kelly Link, H.P. Lovecraft, Gary Lutz, Rick Moody, Michael Moorcock, Adam Nemett, Josip Novakovich, Joyce Carol Oates, Colette Phair, Edgar Allan Poe, Terese Svoboda, Justin Taylor, Lynne Tillman, Deb Olin, Unferth, H.G. Wells, Allison Whittenberg, and Diane Williams.… (more)



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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 3 of 3
This was meant to be airline reading, but it's very poor. It's an uneasy mixture of escapism (more or less what I expected), literary pretensions, and selections from history (Hawthorne, Poe). The writing is often full of solecisms, awkward overstuffed tropes, and poorly managed anachronisms meant to sound ancient or portentous (Lovecraft is the model there).

Rick Moody's piece is accomplished and glib. I wonder how quickly the sense of accomplishment fades for a writer like that. Reading it is like watching a sparkler: it's ash in seconds.

Dennis Cooper's piece is a meditation on the asshole of a 13-year-old boy: it is harsh and strident, and reminds me of a critique of "The Exorcist": someone said it was like grain alcohol, very strong but probably not good for you. Is a single strong image really an effective critique?

The rest is often weakly imagined fluff, with the usual one-off lines that sprinkle postmodern fiction and make it seem worthwhile: the moment the President comes on TV and shows people it's OK to eat cockroaches; an apocalypse that happens suddenly at the end of a story, when "a torrent of blood comes crashing through the trees." (Robert Bradley) But Nietzsche's critique of Wagner's reliance on small-scale effects would be pertinent to much of contemporary North American postmodern fiction: it has no sense of larger architecture, it feels that emotions are tiny, sharp things that can only be captured haphazardly, in minute quantities, like pins found in a haystack. ( )
  JimElkins | Jun 2, 2010 |
Mixed bag. ( )
  chriszodrow | Apr 20, 2010 |
An anthology of short stories concerning various ends of the world ... personal, political, religious, ecological. Though it was a Christmas gift from last year, it's been an especially timely read in late 2008, as the economy collapses and dire predictions surround me. The microfiction was less successful, in my opinion, than some of the extended narratives; some of the work here is decidedly experimental and inaccessible. Still, I welcomed the variety of styles and voices on display. Especially notable for me were pieces by Rick Moody, whose narrator is writing a term paper on the commonalities between himself and St. John, author of the Book of Revelation; Shelley Jackson's post-apocalyptic love story; Brian Evenson's hilarious account of his ascendancy to Messiah status, Lucy Corin's astonishing description of eating a salad; Ursula K. Le Guin's apocalyptic hypotheses; and a piece by Hawthorne that reads like satirical humor until the last page, when, as always, he has to be a moralist. ( )
  andystardust | Mar 27, 2009 |
Showing 3 of 3
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Taylor, JustinEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aguilar, GraceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aylett, SteveContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradley, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cooper, DennisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Corin, LucyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
David, ElliotContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Derby, MatthewContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Emshwiller, CarolContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Evenson, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goldberg, JeffContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goss, TheodoraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hawthorne, NathanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hohl, JaredContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jackson, ShelleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Le Guin, Ursula K.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Levine, StaceyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lin, TaoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Link, KellyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lovecraft, HPContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lutz, GaryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moody, RickContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moorcock, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nemett, AdamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Novakovich, JosipContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oates, Joyce CarolContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Phair, ColetteContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Poe, Edgar AllanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Svoboda, TereseContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Taylor, JustinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tillman, LynneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Unferth, Deb OlinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wells, HGContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Whittenberg, AllisonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, DianeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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