Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
edited by Douglas E. Winter
HarperPrism Books, 450 pages

Douglas E. Winter
Douglas E. Winter, a lawyer by trade, is known for his anthologies such as Night Visions 5 and Prime Evil, his short fiction (Black Sun), his essays and articles (The Face of Fear) and his inteviews with Stephen King, Peter Straub Charles L. Grant and Clive Barker. Most recently, he interviewed Christopher Lee at the World Fantasy Convention in London.

ISFDB Bibliography
Another Review of Revelations
Online Chat with Douglas E. Winter

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Alex Anderson

It's official. The end of the world is coming. Nostrodamus says so, The Bible says so and, more importantly, the street corner prophets say so and everyone knows God talks to crazy people and dogs. The Apocalypse has come; The Day of Judgement is upon us; it is the time of the Gotterdamerung; welcome to the Seventh Millennium. Let's see how many more heavy phrases can I squeeze in here. OK, not.

It's a fact that the millennium is coming to an end, and that is spawning all kinds of paranoia about time, specifically that time has run out. It's probably a safe assumption that we haven't achieved the state of grace we were set here to. The Middle East is, as ever, in crisis, the spiritual state of the western world is in decline, we consume the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge at an ever increasing rate (Silicon Valley has a special delivery schedule arranged) and that nasty bitch, The Third Sister, is running around somewhere stirring things up.

Of course, no one is focussing on the coming End more than our entertainers. The market is being glutted with apocalyptic subject matter.

Strange Days hit the big screen and is now out on video, Chris Carter's aptly named TV show Millennium (which co-opted the original working title of this book) is reviving Lance Henrikson's otherwise forgettable acting career and a small army of writers are putting The End down on paper for our reading enjoyment. The theory must be that if the world's going to end we might as well enjoy it while it happens. Everyone knows we all love a good, morbid End-of-the-World story, after all it balances out all that rosy Gene Roddenberry stuff.

Of course, anyone who's read Neville Shute's On The Beach knows the same thing happened in the fifties and sixties. The inevitable outcome of an all-out nuclear exchange was publicized and people realized, with a shock, that we'd become powerful enough to destroy ourselves, a somewhat godlike ability, really. Of course, we could control that, and we did. We chose not to blow ourselves up. Not yet anyway. The situation we are faced with today isn't of our own making, and not under our control. If the prophets are right an alarm clock is going to wake up God who will then give us our final exam, and MAD policy just isn't going to help.

Revelations, edited by Douglas E. Winter is one of the better offerings available. A weird kind of anthology/novel where 11 writers of dark fantasy/horror contribute stand-alone stories, short novels more than short stories really, that combine to tell a larger tale, a tale of mankind's final century, one decade at a time.

The first tale, by Joe R. Lansdale "The Big Blow" tells us about a vicious boxer, race-hatred and a devastating hurricane that wipes out Galveston Island, Texas, in 1900. This is followed by contributions from the man who brought us Rambo. David Morrell describes a plague that makes the Black Death pale in comparison, F. Paul Wilson writes of a Jewish mystic who attempts to assassinate Hitler in 1923, Whitley Strieber examines the guilt of a cancer-ridden Manhattan Project scientist. Other contributors include Richard Christian Matheson, David Schow and Craig Spector.

Revelations is a strong piece of work by all the authors involved. Each story is unique in style and voice, standing apart from its comrades. For that reason more than anything else, the anthology is captivating, successful, and brilliant. All the pieces I've described stand out, but of particular note, and full value for the cover price on it's own is Clive Barker's contribution: "The Chiliad", which wraps around the other stories, both beginning and ending the anthology. In his afterword, Winter describes it as "majestic" and I wonder if this is understating things. I've never been a fan of Barker's work before now and I'm wondering if I've been missing something... something grand. Something I definitely want to get a piece of before Gabriel sounds his horn announcing Gehenna, the final Doomsday.

Of course if the world really is coming to an end, there can be only one thing left to do: Make sure you're on good terms with Granny's poodle and give money to your local animal shelter.

Copyright © 1997 by Alex Anderson

Alex Anderson is a long-time SF reader just pompous enough to believe other people may want to read the meanderings he scribbles down between fits of extreme lethargy he calls contemplation.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide