Review: The Last Day and the First by Tim Lebbon

cover of The Last Day and the FirstThe Last Day and the First by Tim Lebbon
PS Publishing (July 2023)
72 pages; $24 hardcover
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

In Tim Lebbon’s novella The Last Day and the First, we miss the apocalypse. It’s already happened. We miss the confusion, the destruction, the panic, the bloodshed. We miss the desperate struggle for survival. We miss the loss of life and the downfall of society.

What we get instead is the last few, quiet breaths of humanity as we give way to the next inhabitants of this world.

Lebbon’s greatest gift as a writer is his ability to find the beauty and strength in otherwise horrific circumstances. Here we have a village with a handful of inhabitants, living out their lives deep in the safe green spaces between the crumbled remains of cities. As long as they stay off the roads they’re relatively safe; cross one of those ribbons of asphalt and they’re apt to be killed by something they call a scorer.

Soon they stumble across a strange new sight, something they come to call the bloom. Before long, it becomes apparent that this, and other blooms that crop up in the wild, are not a new danger; rather, they are a next step for a healing planet.

There’s a melancholy tone to this story, a peaceful sort of acceptance the main character, Rose (who may in fact be the last woman alive) adopts as she realizes she is witnessing humanity’s final days. There’s no anger, no last-ditch effort to turn the tide, no race for a cure or a weapon or an answer. There’s just understanding, and a strange kind of hope for a future none of us will be around to witness.

Tim Lebbon is an author we don’t talk about enough. The Last Day and the First is a reminder of how powerful his work is, and how lucky we are to have him out there, creating stories for our enjoyment.

Also, I’d be remiss not to give a quick shout-out to artist Tamislav Tikulin for the gorgeous cover art gracing this book.

The Last Day and the First is highly recommended.

Review: Horrific Punctuation by John Reinhart

cover of Horrific Punctuation by John ReinhartHorrific Punctuation by John Reinhart
Arson Press (July 2021)
34 pages; paperback $3.99; $0.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

An arsonist by trade, John Reinhart lives in Maine. He is a Pushcart, Elgin, Rhysling, and Dwarf Stars Award nominee, and has had over 500 poems published internationally in print and on the internet. He was the 2016 Horror Writers Association Dark Poetry Scholarship recipient. His newest collection is Horrific Punctuation.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The End of Halloween: Four Tales of All Hallows’ Eve’ by Greg Chapman

Cemetery Dance Reviews

The End of Halloween: Four Tales of All Hallows’ Eve by Greg Chapman
Self Published (September 2016)
60 pages; $1.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

halloweenWriter Greg Chapman loves Halloween. Not exactly a bold statement; the man is a horror writer, after all. What makes this interesting, however, is that Greg is from Australia, where Halloween is not nearly the big deal it is in the United States.

In his novella length collection of short fiction The End of Halloween: Four Tales of All Hallows’ Eve, Greg writes with the passion of a long-time devotee of the holiday on which Americans are expected to spend 8.4 billion dollars in 2016.Continue Reading