I’m in this so I’m a bit biased. I also have the first anthology.
I found this one less disturbing, though there are a few stories that made me put the book down and back slowly away (Lucy Snyder, I’m looking directly at you). Most of the stories had me thinking about the nature of faith.
The ones that stuck with me the most:
Subletting God’s head, Tom Piccirilli: a guy living in God’s head and being privy to His innermost thoughts. A part of me felt rubbed wrong by his portrayal of Jesus.
The Cancer Catechism by Jay Lake: I’ve followed Jay Lake as he tweeted about dealing with cancer and this is his most poignant,vulnerable, open, honest take on it. His experience with anesthesia is very much as I found it, disturbing and unsettling. His last line is so strong, it is worth the entire book alone.
Kill the Buddha, Elizabeth Twist – most surreal and sad
Night Train, Alma Alexander – lonely story about belief and trains.
The Sandfather, Richard Wright – this can be considered a sequel to his story “Sandboys” in the first anthology. I didn’t find this one as devastating, but it still stood out.
Sacrifice, Jennifer Pelland – a cool alt-choice story.
Thou art God, Tim Waggoner – Loved this take on “All is God and God is All” belief
Wishflowers, Tim Pratt – I just listened to his story “The Secret Beach” on Podcastle, and this could be considered a continuation of that tale, sort of. Like all Tim Pratt tales, this one socked me in the gut at the end.
Starter Kit, RJ Sullivan – Cute story about the universe as a kid’s aquarium. The apocalypse could really be God hitting the reset button & starting over.
God’s Dig, Kelly Eiro- A kid hears God telling her to dig, and she does. Oh, so disturbing. This was one of those stories that made me put the book down and slowly back away.
The Birth of Pegasus, K. Tempest Bradford – A retelling of Medusa and Poisiden. Loved the style of the story, and loved how it lead into the next story, which is…
All This Pure Light Leaking in, LaShawn M. Wanak – Okay, yes, this is mine. But I reeeeeeeally loved how they juxapositioned this after The Birth of Pegasus. And, it led very nicely into what I consider the “angel” section of the book. Plus, every time I read it, I think, man, I write the freakiest stuff…
Fin de Siecle, Gemma Files – Another angel story that’s more creepy.
The Angel Seems, Jeffrey Ford – Scary folktale, though the ending fell flat for me.
Magdala Amygdala, Lucy Snyder – Holy crap this was disturbing. Probably the most disturbing story in the entire book. How Snyder describes the brain sucking…I can’t even look at someone’s head now without thinking, “Brain jelly…” Oh…guh ::shudders::
In Blood and Song, Nisi Shawl & Michael Ehart – Cool story about how different people have their different gods.
Little Lies, Dear Leader, Kyle S. Johnson – While Madgala Amygdala was creepy, this one affected me the most because it’s so close to real life, it could easily have happened. My inlaws were in South Korea a year ago, so they were able to see the reactions to Kim Jong-il’s death. How all the tvs showed women weeping as if they were heartbroken. This was a hard read, but also necessary, I think.
I inhale the City, the City Exhales Me, Douglas F. Warrick – a great story to end the anthology, this was a nod to all the apocalyptic anime where a blob engulfs Tokyo. Reminded me a lot of Paranoid Agent. Also was a strong theme on stereotype and how we believe cultures are/should be.
As a whole, I really enjoyed this one. It’s more dark fantasy than horror, but I really liked the focus on all kinds of faith throughout the book. This gets five angels out of five…and if I want to see an angel, I’ll ask the right way…