Note: This book contains graphic violence and gruesome sex and religious themes. MAY BE OFFENSIVE!!
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Reverend Steven Rage
vivid, explicit, inventive and engrossing...with fangs on it!
, May 30, 2009
Overall, I found this to be a great, rather grizzly book with a fine grasp of horror, modern culture and even a certain reverence. Rage blatantly gawks at the darker side of our modern world and draws certain biblical parallels...using vampires. He adeptly mixes our current youth venacular with graphic, brutal horror imagery, a respectable dark poetic prose and a decisive intelligence. This is an author I'd like to see more of. The violence, and sex references are raw, explicit and he just holds nothing back. His grasp of the underside of our culture and the drug trade filter through in a gritty, unapologetic in-your-face prose. But he's not afraid to display an impressively morbid poetic side. The plot is well-thought-out. It is a grimly well paced thrill ride of horror and suspense. You just have to keep turning pages to see what happens next. His parallels to the modern story and the biblical text of the last days of Jesus are inventive and inspired, in a grotesque deformed sort of way. There is material here that I'm sure would cause religious conservatives to say, "There is blasphemy here that would make Jesus roll over in his grave (you know, if he hadn't already risen from the dead)!" Yet, there is a strong, revery that shows a certain connection to faith. Personally as an agnostic, I would have enjoyed the book more if Rage had avoided the religious connections and just stuck with a straight vampire story. But that's just my personal opinion. There is a religious connection that comes together as the book rolls along, but it is still a graphic, nasty horror tale with vampires, drug lords and even a little sex. Rage's command of story and pacing shows a lot of promise for the future. And although I'd like to see him stick to more strictly secular horror stories, this is a brutal, graphic author I'd like to see more from. As someone who enjoys graphic, explicit horror, I can strongly recommend this book...and keep 'em coming, Steven! Never let your fangs go dry!
Steven Rage's "Pilate: A Brutal Bible Tale" - Worth getting your hands dirty for!
, January 19, 2009
Look at your hands. Lines tell tales that without the right exposure live completely disguised within crevices that no amount of washing can remove. We yearn to have them clean - enough. Spend hundreds of dollars on this or that to wash ... them ... clean. But some stains never come out, no matter how much we scrub, steam, or sterilize. And what becomes of the hands that are soaked in generations of sins committed by their owners, perpetual motion of offenses against their fellow man time and time again? Isn't there something that we've all done that we just can't seem to cleanse ourselves from? And what if you were Pilate?
Steven Rage's "Pilate: A Brutal Bible Tale" explores the depths of sin, the way it stains our lives, and graphically illustrates the things we fear most. He forces us to look at true sin, true villainy, and truly offensive images of alternative realities. Sometimes it takes a shock to wake up!
Rage creates a dismal post-industrial future, a look at man defiled and in decline. Evil has arrived and this is NOT our Father's World! Dominion has been taken by those who walk as the damned, demons, Halflings, products of debauched rampages and sins against nature, and then, of course, the vampires. Sex, drugs, and broken souls are the only things of value. Life is more like a disease, and the only salvation is the right amount of Plata to numb the conscience and, if one is lucky, to bring on a cleverly disguised demise.
Introduce into this world a savior, a light for a dark world. Rejected in one life as a man, rejected in another as spiritual being, now returning in the form of woman, Immanuel returns to give God's creation another chance. Following religious folklore, parables, and beliefs, Rage presents the readers with a God who truly is the Shepherd that leaves no sheep behind. While this tale is deeply woven with the intricacies of a dark, drug-infested world ruled by evil forces, this is the story of a lost sheep. All are God's children, even the most foul creatures who by their own will have become so through their spiritual and physical copulation with the Devil, and as such, in God's mercy, still are given a chance to be saved.
All members of the passion play are present, but it is the one lost sheep that is the center of this tale. The one who by his denial of Christ, his rejected opportunity to do the honorable thing, is cursed to live as a vampire that walks century after century making the same mistakes. But is his curse to be a vampire or repetition?
Hell is repetition. Pilate is in hell. Hell has dominion over the earth, but will evil, and all those who since the birth of Christ committed sins against the innocent by turning their backs and betraying the Lamb, continue to play the same roles? Is this some predestined condition, roles for the damned that have no place for an alternate ending? What has become of free will? And if we exercise free will, does that guarantee a different ending?
Through the sheer shock of his presentation, Rage forces his readers to consider the alternatives, to look at the garbage in the streets, to see what is swept into the gutters at night right before all decent people awake to see another cleaned up version of the day. He uses tradition to break tradition, to push our imagination in ways that are uncomfortable at the least and border on the offensive at worst. Yet, in doing so, he illustrates what real love is. He gives to us a God that truly goes to the extreme, any extreme, to give the prodigal son a chance to come home.
While this not a Christian book by definition, it is a religious and philosophical tale cleverly woven in a tapestry of darkness. Horror by definition and presentation. Depths reminiscent of Dante's Inferno. Do you dare enter this world? Bravery has its rewards, and Steven Rage's "Pilate: A Brutal Bible Tale" is worth getting your hands dirty for!
Pilate A Brutal Bible Tale ain't your Momma's Bible Story!
Steven Rage has written an alternate land, The Harbor. There are vampires, drug dealers, rank language that will shock you and make you stop. Pilate is a drug lord. A young lady named Immanuel is the Christ in this incarnation of the Passion. The story goes from brutal to brilliant to magestic and is an amazing read.
Is it for everyone? No.
This book will make you think. It reminded me of The Last Temptation of Christ - not because it reads like that, but with that book and this book, you MUST think - you will run the gamut of emotions and by the incredible ending, you will be spent.
Rage's treatment of Pilate is amazing. No matter if Christ is portrayed as a woman, or as He was before, the story is just as strong, powerful, and violent. And the triumph is with you to your core.
Can you tell I loved this book? Yes.
I have never read a book with so much palatible violence. The world Steven Rage created is a scary one. But some can triumph and transcend. Just know when you are thinking of reading this book, brace yourself for one WILD violent ride.
I will read the next 'Harborside' series Jonah Job. Rage is an excellent writer.
Pilate: Bizzaro Fiction..., December 6, 2008
Note: This book contains graphic violence, illicit drug use, non-consensual extreme sex, and potentially offensive material given the religious references.
In the drug lord controlled area know as "The Harbor", biblical figures have been reincarnated. Immanuel, also known as El Cristo (Christ) is a young woman who has come to save those enslaved by an extremely addictive drug. She changes the lives of those she encounters - such as Pedro (Peter). However, her success negatively impacts drug trafficking.
Pilate, one of the drug lords, is an immortal vampire working for Herod the mayor of "The Harbor". Due to Immanuel's success, Pilate misses one of his quotas resulting in Herod brutally torturing Juan de Batista (John the Baptist) and Mary Magdalene. Pilate is infuriated by this betrayal.
The story follows the resulting power struggle between Pilate and Herod as well as Pilate's frequent visions of his past vampire lives. Through these visions, released by Immanuel, he comes to understand who he really is and the ultimate choice he must make in this life.
Steven Rage's "Pilate" is Bizzaro fiction, a genre I admittedly have no experience with. I found the references to illicit drug use and associated language difficult to follow given my unfamiliarity with the subject matter. I also had difficulty the first few chapters given Rage's unique writing style and cadence. However, my inner ear eventually tuned into this style and rather than being distracted, it resulted in my complete immersion into the bizarre world Rage created.
I did find it odd at times that while the characters in the novel were well aware of historical biblical figures, other than El Cristo, no one seemed to realize they were the reincarnations of these figures. It was also occasionally confusing which "sides" the characters were on though I believe Rage was demonstrating the internal struggle they battled between good and evil.
Rage has created an incredibly creative and detailed, though disturbing world. Fans of this genre will find Rage's "Pilate" a unique, creative, fast paced, brutal, dark, and bizarre novel.
If Donald Goines wrote a vampire novel....., November 25, 2008
Truthfully, I'm not the hugest fan of vampire fiction. It's not that I don't like vampires..it's because there is so much trash that passes for vampire fiction nowadays (i.e. Twilight, etc). So I was pleasantly surprised when I had the chance to read this book.
It's sort of like Donald Goines writing a horror novel. It's similar to Goines because of the detailed use of the urban/drug culture. The author seems knowledgeable in the subject unlike many horror/crime authors who stick drugs into the story without knowing a damn thing about it.
The author writes dialogue as if he's actually hearing it (similar to how Elmore Leonard writes dialogue.) With the drug dealers and murderers we meet in PILATE, it would sound pretty silly if sounded like people straight out of suburbia. This is one of Rage's strengths.
Some of his prose is unique and relaxed which might turn some people off but will definitely grow on you as you read on. It also presents a style that is all his own.
I guess one problem I had was that it was a little bit confusing as to which side each character was on. I felt a little bit confused but I thought that the author more than made up for it in the violent and suspenseful scenes.
The idea of transferring biblical mythology and vampires to a modern ghetto setting is pretty unique. If you think about it (vampires in the ghetto..) it could've very much came out campy but Steven Rage avoids this completely.
Those of you who are fans of Hardcore Horror will be pleased. There are some pretty violent and bloody scenes.
Overall this is a unique book. I guess it could be considered a horror novel but it's not really scary. That's not a BAD thing, really. Edward Lee is horror but his stuff isn't scary either (at least not to me...). This is a new take on the vampire subgenre that's worth reading.
A Strange Read.., October 4, 2008
Pilate- A Brutal Bible Tale is such a weird re-telling of the story of Jesus and His disciples and His Resurrection. However, once the reader becomes involved with the characters- vampires and all - it's a hard book to put down. Mr. Page does a fine job of drawing us in- into the violence and all. Demons work the streets of The Harbor, selling drugs, while "the good guys" do their best to stop them from spreading evil and discontent among the people. Brutal Bible Tales stays with us long after we've turned the final page. Good job, Mr. Rage.
"Blasphemy" s short by Steven Rage availble in the following anthology:
I wait for the Pharisees in their penthouse. I was summoned and, like a good boy, I wait patiently for them to arrive.
The wall slides behind me.
“Caiaphas,” I greet without turning. I smell the horrid stench of death in the old man. “You’ve changed.”
“Yes,” he replies, “So I have.”
I turn. The flesh of the old human’s face quivers and moves about. Caiaphas seems to be actually decomposing and he smells like a swamp fart. It’s as if the old man has not realized he is dead.
I smell oxygen coursing the Pharisee’s veins. He is definitely alive. Caiaphas Pharisee merely appears to be dead: his body a rotting shell. I conclude that something powerful is keeping his rotting shell and soul together. I don’t know what sort of entity could keep the Pharisee intact, or why it would even want to. But something is.
“Like you with us Pharisees, Pilate,” Caiaphas begins, ending the wondering, “I too have a Master to please.” He gestures for me to sit and I take a chair. “And our Master demands a sacrifice,” Caiaphais explains.
“What kind of sacrifice?” I ask.
“More on that in a moment,” he states with a cracked, false smile. “Let’s discuss you and your troubles of late,” he continues, “You are having difficulties?”
I look to him direct. “Yes,” I agree, “I’m having a great deal of trouble.”
Caiaphas reaches forward and removes a custom-made smoke from a thin titanium case. He offers one to me and I decline. The Pharisee puts the cigarette to the rotting, peeling parchment where his lips used to be. I’m there with flame to kiss the tobacco. If Caiaphas is startled by my unseen vampire movement, I can’t tell. I return to my chair with the same speed.
There was no comment from Caiaphas, so I decide to boogie right in: “Did Herod have your blessing to grab my spot and shut me down?” I ask one of the Caesars, “Or was the crazy fuck acting on his own?”
“Quite alone, I assure you,” Caiaphas replies, smoking.
I thought for a moment, then: “Where do you stand on this?” I ask. “I need to know what side of the fence you’re on.”
“Well,” Caiaphas begins, “Herod was technically justified sanctioning you due to your three missed quotas.” I try to protest, but the Pharisee stifles me with a raised hand, “But we feel he was too wanton in the implementation of said sanction.”
This shit, I tell you. It makes me quiet. Hell, I know bullshit when it’s set down in front of me. It seems I’m to be spoon fed this rot. But I don’t eat shit. It’s time to set the record straight. I lean forward, counting off:
“Your Herod broke into my lair, he killed my best nigga,” I retort, counting fingers as I list, “the motherfucker stole my product and my money.” I stop. “Three million dollars in washed cash he stole from me and I’m gonna take it all back,” I boldly tell the Pharisee through aching, clenched jaws. “I need you to look the other way.”
Caesar Caiaphas Pharisee considers me for a time, smoking.
“What about Herod?” Caiaphas asks next, the shadow of lipless smile showing through his collapsing face, “What do you suggest we do with him when you are finished? Herod isn’t exactly going to be thrilled with this. He could be a big problem for us.”
“I wouldn’t fret too much about Herod,” I assure the old man, “I don’t think there will be anything left of the motherfucker to worry about.” I lean back and cross my legs. “It will be as if he’s never been.”
“I see,” Caiaphas replies. “I believe you and I can come to an accommodation.” The Pharisee squashes out his cigarette. He leans in my direction with his folded hands on knees. “We need to agree on terms.”
“Will you consent to look the other way?”
“Better than that, Pilate,” the old man retorts, smiling big now. A surprise, he tells me: “I will give to you Herod’s throne.”
Perhaps, I think, Herod has tripped on his dick once too often.
To be sure I ask: “The business, all of it?”
“Yes, vampire, all yours, answering to none but us,” he tells me. “But you must do something for us first.”
Of course, I think, a nigga can see that coming. Gas, grass or ass, nobody rides for free. No matter.
“Just tell me what you need,” I reply.
“First you tell me something, Pilate,” the Pharisee counters, “What do you know of this little girl, this Immanuel?” The Pharisee stops, lights another cigarette. I stay put. “You know, the one they call the Christ?”