Horror and sci-fi short stories involving physical, emotional, and other types of apocalypses.
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Got your nightlight on?
A man journeys with a pregnant stranger, while unseen aliens deal out punishment from above.
A phone call in the middle of the night reminds someone of a chilling mission.
A priest's skin oozes a healing elixir.
Are your blankets pulled up tight?
A self-absorbed husband monitors the end of his existence over the internet.
A teenager digs through a deep crust of waste and bone to win his freedom.
A school field trip reveals a disturbing method for protecting our children.
Are all your doors locked?
If so, then perhaps you're ready for Joel Arnold's 'Bedtime Stories for the Apocalypse.'
"Joel Arnold is the real deal. He elicits a subtle element of terror and justice through his writing, delivered without a heavy hand. His exceptional imagery effects readers in a way that leaves them chilled and disturbed; causing the kind of behavior that will leave friends asking "what's bothering you," for days afterwards." D.L. Russell, editor of Strange, Weird & Wonderful Magazine.
Bedtime Stories for the Apocalypse is a collection of short stories by Joel Arnold. The stories themselves range from a trip with a pregnant stranger, a man obsessed with his name on the Internet, to my personal favorite of a man who is digging his way out of the crust of human waste toward freedom. Each tale has its own voice, so reading this slim volume is not like listening to a concert with all the music in the same key.
Author Arnold has a deft touch with horror that will leave a chill in your spine, but without the violence and gore of much modern horror. The stories remind me of Ray Bradbury at his darkest with their ability to play on the difference between what we know might happen and what we want to happen. These are complex tales with layers below the surface enjoyment of a story well written.
As the title suggests, these stories hint at many ways in which the world we know could be broken or ended. Sometimes the character is alone, sometimes with others, but in each case they are faced with the consequences of what it means to be human.
I heartily recommend this book for fans of true horror.
Armchair Interviews agrees.
Minneapolis Literature Examiner - Deanna Howe Hirman
Local Author Joel Arnold Proves Suspense Can Come From a Short Story
Joel Arnold’s short story Shiners adorns the opening spot in his new compellation book Bedtime Stories for the Apocalypse. This collection is the first publication to exhibit Shiners within its pages and it proves to be the perfect story to open up the mind of this unique author.
The story has a very sci-fi feel to it, reminiscent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It could even be said that it has a zombie-esque quality to it; without the obvious outward appearance to tip off the victim. Arnold’s imagination capitalizes on the reader’s natural fear of a worldwide disease outbreak or worse yet, a parasitic alien invasion and takes that fear to a new level of terror.
The blinding light and the active sky brought upon by the Hubal have also brought the world into a state of panic and possibly the onset of the apocalypse. Our would-be hero Gibson, sworn to protect, Julia, a pregnant teen, is in over his head when he somehow finds himself following her. The plot thickens to the point that you will not believe the outcome.
Arnold gives you a glimpse into his imagination with Shiners and gets the reader excited to continue reading the stories that fill the rest of the pages of Bedtime Stories for the Apocalypse. Read with caution and prepare to be scared!
Verdict? Bedtime Stories for the Apocalypse by Joel Arnold - from 'The Scattering'
If you’ll allow me to get meta, science fiction as a genre has a history of doing more than scary or unsettling. Under the guise of invention or far-future fantasy, science fiction can tackle deeper, darker issues than a casual reader might expect. It makes you think, even as it’s raising some goosebumps.
That’s what the jury has to say about Joel Arnold’s Bedtime Stories for the Apocalypse. They’re chilling in the classic campfire story way, sure, but all the more frightening for the dark societies they posit for perhaps the not-so-far future. One theme that seems to thread through a number of the stories–”Branding Day,” “Mr. Blue,” “Harvey’s Favorite Color”–may be surveillance (in both that creepy totalitarian way and elsewise). ”Shiners” and “Burrow” have something to say about trust (or lack thereof). ”Padre Sapo” raises the specter of some really terrifying faith healing, and “Mr. Blue” some terrifying medical healing.
Reading time: At 65 pages, this could be polished off on a lunch break. But it’s a short story collection, not a novel, and since each individual piece does leave an unsettled feeling in the pit of the stomach–the Scattering advises breaking up the scary sci-fi diet.
Recommendation: With engaging (if dark) ideas and clean, clear prose, Bedtime Stories for the Apocalype is accessible to all audiences. And since the holidays are approaching, it might just be a conversion tool for all those haughty doubters of the powers of science fiction.
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