« Season of Rot / Eric S. Brown | Main | “For Her” / Michael West »

Sha’Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse / Created by Michael H. Hanson and Edited by Edward F. McKeown

Altered Dimensions / May 2009
Reviewed by: Joan Turner

Sha’Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse is a unique anthology/novel hybrid built upon the concept that once every ten-thousand years, the walls between our world and that of the demons thin and monsters are able to gain entrance and attack. Creator Michael H. Hanson acknowledges that the end-of-days theme owns much to horror greats who have come before, and the book is dedicated to Lovecraft, Poe, Bloch and others. Hanson’s approach, however, is uniquely his own, and while the reader may be vaguely remind of the Lovecraftain mythos, the stories are new, contemporary, and equally spellbinding.

Hanson wrote the entire outline as well as the interludes between the eleven “chapters” or stories. Certain characters who reappear throughout the book – the most fascinating of which is Johnny the Salesman, a time traveler who always arrives with just the right trade to give humans a chance – also connect the eleven stories that comprise the volume.

Johnny’s real identity and purpose remain a mystery until near the end. 

The theme of each chapter or story is the same. When the walls between worlds thin, evil monsters attempt to break through to destroy humankind. They can only be stopped by a Champaign, however unlikely, who is able to defeat the demon charge. Yet within this framework, individual authors offer stories in a wide variety of styles and approaches, ranging from humor to extreme horror.

The same sense of awe and wonder that inspired readers to suspend disbelief and made Lovecraft’s fiction so popular and enduring is evident in many of the stories in Sha’Daa.

Editor Edward McKeown’s “The Dive” is a case in point. New York sewer workers investigate what may be a hollow space in a city tunnel near where bodies of transit cops were found and discover uncharted tunnels and a horde of demons out for blood.

“Lava Lovers” by Wilson “Pete” Marsh pits Agenor, son of Poseidon, against the demon invasion.

In “The Way of the Warrior” by Arthur Sanchez, a brave apprentice may find a way to outwit a demon with a little help from the Salesman.

“Dixie Chrononauts” by Duncan R. MacMaster finds a group of Confederate soldier Civil War re-enactors fighting a battle for their lives.

“Prana” by Sha’Daa creator Hanson and “The Salesman” by Rob Adams tie up loose ends and leave only the Epilogue to bring the volume to its conclusion.

Michael Hanson’s Sha’Daa is a unique concept, written in a form that falls somewhere between an anthology and a novel and packed with first rate stories that are fresh, exciting and leave the reader wanting more. Fortunately, Hanson promises a forthcoming sequel — Sha’Daa: Last Call.

Sha’Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse is an enjoyable read from beginning to end. Highly recommended.

Purchase Sha'Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse created by Michael H. Hanson and edited by Edward F. McKeown.

Posted on Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at 04:37PM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend