Eric J. Guignard




After Death

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Death. Who has not considered their own mortality and wondered at what awaits, once our frail human shell expires? What occurs after the heart stops beating, after the last breath is drawn, after life as we know it terminates?

Does our spirit remain on Earth while the body rots? Do the remnants of our soul transcend to a celestial Heaven or sink to Hell’s torment? Can we choose our own afterlife? Can we die again in the hereafter? Are we given the opportunity to reincarnate and do it all over? Is life merely a cosmic joke or is it an experiment for something greater?

Included within this critically acclaimed anthology are answers to these queries alongside tales and suppositions relating from traditional ghosts to the afterlife of e-coli.

• In “Someone to Remember,” a steam-boat captain crosses the river Lethe with a modern-age Charon.

• In “Afterword,” an author is welcomed into the afterlife by all he has created.

• In “I Was the Walrus,” a man contemplates reincarnation and particle theory, while waxing on past life memories of the rock band, The Beatles.

Also explore the afterworld of an Australian cowboy. Discover what the white light really means to the recently departed. Consider the impact of modern, or future, technology on the dead. Follow the karmic path of reincarnation. Travel from the 999th level of Fengdu’s Hell to the gates of Robot Heaven.

Enclosed are thirty-four all-new dark and speculative fiction stories, each beautifully illustrated by Audra Phillips, exploring the possibilities AFTER DEATH . . .

** Winner of the 2013 Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in an Anthology **

* Download the Press Release Here! *


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  Product Details:                    
  After Death...   Edited by Eric J. Guignard  
  Trade Paperback ISBN-13: 978-0-9885569-2-8   Illustrated by Audra Phillips  
  ebook ISBN-13: 978-0-9988275-5-1   Number of pages: 332 (about 123,500 words)  
  Library of Congress Control Number: 2013930612   Published by Dark Moon Books  
  First edition published April 5, 2013   Cover art by Kevin Scott Sutay  
  Made in the United States of America      
  Full Contents Include:              

Introduction by Eric J. Guignard
Someone to Remember by Andrew S. Williams
Boy, 7 by Alvaro Rodriguez
Sea of Trees by Edward M. Erdelac
The Last Moments Before Bed by Steve Rasnic Tem
The Resurrection Policy by Lisa Morton
High Places by John M. Floyd
Circling the Stones at Fulcrum’s Low by Kelda Crich
I Will Remain by David Steffen
Tree of Life by Aaron J. French
The Reckless Alternative by Sanford Allen & Josh Rountree
The Thousandth Hell by Brad C. Hodson
Mall Rats by James S. Dorr
Afterword by Ray Cluley
Like a Bat out of Hell by Jonathan Shipley
The Overlander by Jacob Edwards
Forever by John Palisano
My Father Knew Douglas MacArthur by Bentley Little

  Robot Heaven by Jamie Lackey
Beyond the Veil by Robert B. Marcus, Jr.
Prisoner of Peace by David Tallerman
A Feast of Meat and Mead by Christine Morgan
Be Quiet At The Back by William Meikle
Cages by Peter Giglio
Hammerhead by Simon Clark
Marvel at the Face of Forever by Kelly Dunn
The Unfinished Lunch by Trevor Denyer
I Was The Walrus by Steve Cameron
The Devil’s Backbone by Larry Hodges
The Death of E. Coli by Benjamin Kane Ethridge
Final Testament of a Weapons Engineer by Emily C. Skaftun
Acclimation Package by Joe McKinney
Hellevator by Josh Strnad
In and Out the Window by Allan Izen
With Max Barry in the Nearer Precincts by John Langan
* Illustrations by Audra Phillips
  Reviews and Praise:              

AFTER DEATH raises the eerie voices of many of today’s top horror writers in a ghostly chorus of wonder, magic, and tragedy. Highly recommended.”

Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Extinction Machine and Fire & Ash;


“I don’t want to die, and the stories in AFTER DEATH offer numerous examples why. This terrifying collection presents stories that are unsettling, disturbing, frightening, heart-breaking and, in the end, guaranteed to chill your bones and make your blood run cold.”

Rick Hautala, Author of Indian Summer and Chills;


“With stellar contributions by some of speculative fiction's most talented writers, AFTER DEATH offers a deliriously diverse array of imaginative hereafters. By turns chilling, poignant, funny, hallucinatory, and awe-inspiring, these stories fascinate in a manner worthy of the ultimate mystery they explore.”

Stephen Woodworth, author of the New York Times Bestsellers Through Violet Eyes and With Red Hands; Stephen Woodworth


Publishers Weekly"This anthology addresses one of the most basic questions of human existence: what happens when we die? The answers come in the form of 34 stories that explore diverse notions of ghosts (Edward M. Erdelac’s “Sea of Trees”) and demons (William Meikle’s “Be Quiet at the Back”), trapped souls (Steve Cameron’s “I Was the Walrus”), mishaps in resurrection (Lisa Morton’s “The Resurrection Policy”), and unbearable eternities (David Tallerman’s “Prisoner of Peace”). The newly deceased protagonists may be confused, angry, resigned, or unaware that they are dead, so even those vignettes with more exposition than plot convey a sense of personal discovery (if perhaps of the hopeless kind). Though the majority of the pieces come from the darker side of the genre, a solid minority are playful, clever, or full of wonder. This makes for good variety but a bit of emotional whiplash, somewhat mitigated by Guignard’s clever introductions and Audra Phillips’s portraitlike illustrations. This strong and well-themed anthology is sure to make readers contemplative even while it creates nightmares."

—Publishers Weekly; Publishers Weekly


Famous Monsters of Filmland"When we last saw an anthology by Eric, he asked the authors to explore ancient civilizations with his outstanding anthology “Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations”.

What happens when we die? The eternal questions that has haunted man since the first days of rational thought.

In Eric Guignard’s latest anthology he gathers some of the biggest and most talented authors on the planet to give us their take on this entertaining and perplexing subject matter.

I have to say that I have often pondered and speculated what happens after we die and after reading this outstanding collection of stories my imagination was set afire by the diverse, horrifying and mystifying tales that are gathered in this anthology.

I didn’t think there was a weak story in book but, there were a few that really struck a note with me and were my favorites;

The Resurrection Policy by Lisa Morton is my favorite story of the collection. Lisa has long been one of my favorite writers and she really delivers with this tale of resurrection gone awry. It is witty, funny, thought provoking and just a hell of a lot of fun to read.

Forever by John Palisano is a bit different from the other stories in the book. It is a touching, heartwarming, heart wrenching tale that will make you smile and make you cry.

Hammerhead by Simon Clark is a story for everyone that has ever been wronged. There is justice in the universe and in this tale justice is delivered by a man-eating shark.

Be Quiet At The Back by William Meikle is a tale that everyone who has gone to school can relate to and those who wished ill will upon the teacher who always treated their favorites better than the rest of the class.

These are just a few of my favorites and the ones that really struck a chord with me. I am sure that anyone who reads “After Death” will find favorites of their own. The tales are varied, well written and original. Mr. Guignard has once again delivered a fantastic group of tales and I highly recommend it to anyone who is fascinated by what happens after we die and just enjoys a great short story.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing illustrations by Audra Phillips."

Famous Monsters of Filmland;


Amazing Stories"It is part of the human condition to wonder what happens to us after we die. The irreligious say nothing happens to you after you die, other than the natural decay of organic matter. Maybe they are right, but that doesn’t make for a good story, does it? With Eric J. Guignard‘s After Death anthology, you are given almost three dozen tales of the afterlife that range from being horrifying, heartwarming and hilarious. You can see a full list of all the short stories here.

What is great about short stories is that it excludes the fluff, excess backstory and author fetishes (like food porn) that can sometimes hurt a good yarn. A short story forces an author to get to the meat of the story immediately or else risk losing the reader who sighs and skips to the next story in the anthology. Luckily for me I did not experience this pitfall with After Death. Although a couple of the stories were forgettable (in the sense that after I looked back at the table of contents I couldn’t remember what they were about) the vast majority were entertaining and thoughtful. Some were even emotional like “Forever” by John Palisano. I admit I cried reading this tale about a woman on her death bed being guided to the afterlife by her pet dog.

Some might be scratching their heads right about now and asking: isn’t this supposed to be horror? Yes and no. There are certainly several trips to a hell, but I would classify most of the tales as weird fiction myself. Yes there is a lot of supernatural and mythical elements to these stories, but also modern (and future) science finds its ways into the stories such as in “Someone to Remember” by Andrew S. Williams where Charon drives a diesel-powered ferry and “Be Quiet At The Back” by William Meikle where demons have found out just how useful a pit full of bureaucrats with computers can be when torturing the damned.

Still, in my humble opinion, the most frightening tale of the afterlife was also the one with the least elements of religion or the supernatural. In the near future of “In The Resurrection Policy” by Lisa Morton, humans have perfected the ability to preserve their personalities in case they ever die. Perfectly preserved memories can be inserted into young and healthy bodies to carry on where we left out. But that begs the question: who benefits? I doubt anyone would work to collect, preserve and resurrect humans out of the goodness of their heart. They want to be paid. So what happens when you miss a payment? What made this story so terrifying is how real it felt. I am sure we have all felt the frustration and rage of dealing with an uncaring bureaucracy that feels like they hold your life in their hands…but what if they actually did?

Regardless what you believe waits for us when we die, I strongly believe you will find After Death an excellent collection of imaginative tales of what waits beyond the veil."

Amazing Stories;


Collings Notes"The idea of an anthology of stories devoted to visions of an after-life is inherently intriguing. After Death: An Anthology of Dark and Speculative Fiction Stories Examining What May Occur After We Die, it is an article of faith.

To some degree or another, each of us has a sense—an intimation—of what we expect will happen after death. For some, it is clear, precise, highly detailed; for others, it is amorphous, vague, a presentiment only; for others still, it is merely a window onto emptiness, nothingness. For all, however, as Eric Guignard notes in his introduction to After Death: An Anthology of Dark and Speculative Fiction Stories Examining What May Occur After We Die, it is an article of faith.

Even for those of us who share a particular perspective based on religion, philosophy, or reasoned conclusions, the specifics of what we might expect will vary widely. I suspect that if a group of thirty or so like-minded ‘believers’—regardless of the source of those beliefs—were brought together in a room and questioned directly about heaven, the after-life, whatever it might be called, no two of them would agree in every detail. Even among religions that overtly preach a world beyond this, details are sketchy and, usually, left up to the individuals’ imaginations.

That is why a book like After Death appeals. Its point, as Guignard also states, is not to “deliver affirmations but to offer suggestions. Anything is possible when the mysteries of the afterlife are concerned.” It is not a compilation of theological treatises, philosophical tracts, or anything of that sort—it is an anthology of stories, overt fictions, each set in a universe designed, implemented, and controlled by a writer’s unique, unrestrained imagination.

And in those universes, anything might happen.

The thirty-four tales present an extraordinary range of possibilities, from something approximating a ‘traditional’ view, as in Alvaro Rodriguez’s simultaneously horrific and comforting “Boy, 7” or Jamie Lackey’s sweetly satisfying “Robot Heaven,’ to situations as outré as that in Simon Clark’s “Hammerhead” or Benjamin Kane Ethridge’s “The death of E. Coli.” Some are stunning in their simplicity, as with Josh Strnad’s “Hellevator,” in which the single phrase “Well, what next?” takes on the weight of eternal damnation. Others are complex, capable of almost novelistic effects, as in Joe McKinney’s excellent “Acclimation Package,” a complex tale of life, death, and resurrection…sort of.

I find myself wanting to comment at least briefly on every story, since each brought an entirely different sensibility to the theme. Just flipping through the anthology’s 300+ pages—noting titles, authors’ names, and the remarkably evocative and apt illustrations by Audra Phillips—reminds me of thoughts, images, mental explorations of my own stimulated by the stories. There are favorites; there are a few that I found I could not resonate as completely with…no surprise, since no anthology can hope to provide everything for everyone. But taken as a whole After Death is a strong collections, well-constructed, beautifully illustrated, and certainly worth reading."

—Collings Notes;


Black Gate Magazine"As you can guess from the title, Eric J. Guignard has assembled an assortment of viewpoints about the afterlife. These thirty-four stories (illustrated by Audra Phillips) cover a surprising range, especially since the viewpoint most professed by science fiction fans is the least represented. Please do not interpret that remark as a criticism. There’s not a lot of story to tell in a story about nothing happening. Yet even the perception of the afterlife as nothingness is included with ‘The Last Moments Before Bed,’ in which Steve Rasnic Tem confronts the dreadful hole remaining after a loved one is gone.

These stories run the gamut from blissful to black; John Palisano’s ‘Forever’ anticipates a joyful reunion, while Kelly Dunn’s ‘Marvel at the Face of Forever’ is one of the darkest horror stories this reviewer has ever seen. Several authors contrast the Christian afterworld with the pagan, as in the Christian displacement of the Greek afterlife in Jonathan Shipley’s ‘Like a Bat out of Hell,’ or Valhalla’s continued rowdy intrusion into the Catholic middle ages as told by Christine Morgan in ‘A Feast of Meat and Mead.’

Naturally, the traditional views are represented. In ‘Tree of Life,’ Aaron J. French presents the Jewish cosmogony, while in ‘Hellevator,’ Josh Strnad portrays a simultaneously modern yet classical image of heaven and hell that is straight out of C.S. Lewis. On the other hand, Allan Izen shows us reincarnation and its rationale in ‘In and Out the Window.’ Brad C. Hodson warns of the darker side of rebirth in ‘The Thousandth Hell.’ And ‘Mall Rats’ by James S. Dorr is simply a sad little tale of hungry ghosts.

Whatever the medium, many authors felt that an afterlife must surely serve as a vehicle for justice. Lisa Morton inflicts the perfect sting on a corporate shark in ‘The Resurrection Policy.’ William Meikle also shows us a biter bit in ‘Be Quiet at the Back.’ Other writers believed that death would change little or nothing. Bentley Little documents a man singularly unimproved by death in ‘My Father Knew Douglas MacArthur,’ while in ‘Prisoner of Peace,’ David Tallerman suggests the dead take all their hurt and fear with them.

There are a half dozen tales of less classifiable afterlives. John Langan takes a very different look at the bright light at the end of the tunnel in ‘With Max Barry in the Nearer Precincts’ and Peter Giglio’s ‘Cages’ turns the whole concept of afterlife upside down. There are even comic visions of the afterlife, such as ‘The Devil’s Backbone’ by Larry Hodges.

These are only half the stories included in this excellent collection. That leaves seventeen more to surprise you!"

—Black Gate;


Shock Totem"I met editor/author Eric J. Guignard last year in Las Vegas while attending KillerCon. An amiable guy with a great sense of humor and an appreciation for beat-up red Chuck Taylors. We hit it off.

So when he asked me if I’d be willing to review his latest anthology, I said certainly.

After Death... is a collection of over thirty tales, all involving what happens upon the departure from this mortal coil. Some of them are good, others are amazing, and a few are merely okay.

The volume opens with Andrew S. Williams’s “Someone to Remember,” which is a wonderful meditation on loss and promises, all threaded through the mythos of Charon, the ferryman. “Sea of Trees,” by Edward M. Erdelac contains some horrific and lingering images and a story that is as jarring as it is resonant. Steve Rasnic Tem, an author I have adored for years, turns in a heartbreaking tale of the abandonment death leaves and those who remain. It is haunting and full of hurt.

In “Mall Rats,” James S. Dorr exposes the hereafter as trapped in the after mall. And in “Forever,” the strongest story in the lot, John Palisano weaves a quilt of sadness, loss, and heartbreak that will leave you reeling. I have no words to express the emotions this tale stirs, but stirs it does and quite violently. Brilliant!

Jamie Lackey turns in the sweet and wonderful “Robot Heaven,” and Simon Clark’s “Hammerhead” is an exercise in reincarnation and revenge that is spellbinding. Steve Cameron gives us “I Was the Walrus,” in which a man follows his past identities to some lofty and surprising conclusions. “Be Quiet at the Back,” by William Meikle, is a humorous parable of the definition of sin and consequence.

There are quite a number of tales I didn’t remark on, not because they were poor, but because they just didn’t have the same impact as those mentioned above. That is the rough cross to bear with an anthology. On the whole, Guignard has assembled a great roster of talent—quite a few of which I had never heard of or read before—and given us a rich and heavy menu of possible aftermaths to the grand finale. You won’t be disappointed."

Shock Totem;

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