Finding new horror stories and end of the world fiction is easy enough. But finding such stories that are good can be a bit more challenging. David Dubrow has mixed both genres for a trilogy of novels that he’s almost completed, and you’ll want to check them out. And he writes other types of tales too, including some terrific short stories.
Full disclosure: Dave and I collaborated with Ray Zacek on Appalling Stories: 13 Tales of Social Injustice. I’ve previously published two articles here at The Loftus Party about the anthology. You’ll hear a little bit more about it later (BUY OUR BOOK!), including an announcement about a sequel to it where we will pay money for selected submissions. Also, Dave was a contributor to The Loftus Party but has since moved on.
With that note out of the way, here’s a look at Dave’s novels about the end of the world.
“By fall of 2018, Obsidian Point will publish the third and last book in my Armageddon series of novels: The Holy Warrior and the Last Angel,” Dave said when I asked him about the trilogy. “This book wraps up an epic tale of angels, demons, psychics, holy relics, occultism, and faith in the face of a Biblical apocalypse.”
And it isn’t like a lot of what you find today. “It goes old-school in the vein of The Exorcist and The Omen, where there’s an objective good and an objective evil, and where people of faith aren’t treated with eye-rolling contempt the way they’re typically portrayed in religious-themed fiction,” Dave said.
Like The Exorcist and The Omen, the trilogy includes elements of horror.
“In genre, I split the difference between horror and urban fantasy (minus the snark), with a good bit of graphic violence and disturbing content throughout: the end of the world’s not going to be pretty,” he explained.
But it’s not all blood and gore.
“The first book in the series is The Blessed Man and the Witch, and the second is The Nephilim and the False Prophet, and in them, you’ll find characters that are a lot like most of us: ordinary people doing their best under difficult circumstances. The only difference is that their world is coming to an end and ours, I hope, isn’t,” he said.
Dave writes more than just long-form fiction, of course, with our collaboration providing a perfect example of his short stories. And the different formats are very different animals.
“A novel’s like a waltz: come dance with me and we’ll spend some time together. A short story’s a punch to the gut, particularly in an anthology like Appalling Stories. I want you to feel something. Hopefully it’ll leave a mark,” he explained.
So which was his best short story contribution to our anthology?
“I’m really not supposed to talk about a favorite piece of my own writing because it exposes me as an egomaniac, and the last thing anyone wants is for me to expose myself,” Dave told me. “But I’ll do it anyway; we’re all friends here.”
“I guess if I have a favorite story, it’s the satirical Bake Me a Cake,” he said. “A writer friend of mine suggested the idea: what if a mom-and-pop store is asked to make The Aristocrats of cakes? And what if they refuse, like what happened with Sweet Cakes by Melissa? My wife still thinks I went way too far in describing the cake, which is really the whole point: it’s supposed to be at least little hard to read. Sick, even. Anyway, I think it’s funny.”
Satire wasn’t the only genre he worked in for the collection. And he laced a variety of themes into his tales as well.
“In my story The Bitterness of Honey, I show a fishing trip that goes way off course, and to talk more about it would spoil the fun,” he said. (The image you see at the top of this article ties into it.) “Melanie’s Becoming delves into transgender issues, body image, and the danger social media poses to all of us. In Cultural Overtones, I filter the issue of media influence on children through the lens of science fiction: we’ve been sending our radio and television signals into outer space for decades; what happens if we find an extraterrestrial civilization that’s been doing the same thing?”
“Production has already begun on a sequel to Appalling Stories, tentatively titled Appalling Stories 2: More Appalling Tales of Social Injustice. For this book we’re opening the field to other writers, and I’m pleased with the reaction we’ve received so far. That’s for later this year, around Christmastime.”
Header image © David Dubrow, 2018.