« Legends of the Mountain State 2: More Ghostly Tales from the State of West Virginia / Edited by Michael Knost | Main | Isabel Burning / Donna Lynch »

Earthworm Gods: Selected Scenes from the End of the World / Brian Keene

Delirium Books / May 2008
Reviewed by: Jeff Burk

Last year Brian Keene and Delirium Books released a collection of thirty-two short stories taking place in the zombie-world of The Rising. This summer Keene and Delirium present a short story collection in the Earthworm Gods (or The Conqueror Worms, as re-titled for the Leisure release) universe. Before we go any further, it is essential that you have read the core novel to fully enjoy this collection.

The stories start with the first drops of rain and end far after the end of the human-dominant world. The first third of the book deals with the flooding of the world and reads more like a disaster-thriller than a horror story. Once the worms first appear, the book is a full-on monster-fest until the final page. Mermaids, mold-zombies, sea-monsters and lots of giant worms plague the (un)lucky survivors who populate these tales.

As with many of his stories, Keene references much of his other work (now referred to as "the Labyrinth"). Since each story was based on a real-life person who purchased the deluxe edition (limited to thirty-two) of this book, there is some character cross-over with The Rising: Selected Scenes from the End of the World which was written in the same manner. It’s comforting to know that many survivors of the Apocalypse will be bibliophiles.

Keene has proven time and again that he is a master of the novel format, less so with short fiction. His shorter works tend to either suffer from repetition (The Rising: Selected Scenes from the End of the World) or dullness (most of Fear of Gravity). Here, thankfully, the stories suffer from neither. Keene takes full advantage of the varied and numerous threats present, so the reader never knows what to expect from the next story.

If you enjoyed Earthworm Gods/The Conqueror Worms at all, you owe it to yourself to pick up this collection. This very well may be the best collection of Keene's short stories in print. Delirium has announced that due to the current economic climate there will be no paperback version in the foreseeable future, leaving a few hardbacks (limited to 500 signed and numbered) available through some internet sites. Our advice: Get out there and snag a copy of this while you still can.

Purchase Earthworm Gods: Selected Scenes from the End of the World by Brian Keene.

Purchase The Conqueror Worms by Brian Keene.

Posted on Monday, July 28, 2008 at 10:21AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend