Expiration Date

This new anthology focuses on the what-ifs of the “end-dates” that surround us, and how they impact our lives and our world, and ourselves.

“Modern lives seem littered with expiration dates” says anthology editor Nancy Kilpatrick. “Packaging tells us when our food will go bad; when we can expect appliances to cease functioning; when contracts for the internet finish! But as annoying as these small expiration dates are, they fade to nothing compared to the larger events: when a species goes extinct; when a body of water evaporates, or dies because the PH balance alters; when giant icebergs break apart and glaciers melt forever, threatening the ecosystem of this planet.”

Kilpatrick reminds us “From the micro to the macro in terms of expirations, we are faced with the one termination with which we are all too familiar — the up-close-and-personal end of life for each of us and for the ones we love. It?s the personal that terrifies us most because it feels the most real.”

Expiration Date features 25 original pieces of short fiction by some of the world’s top Dark Fiction writers. Arranged in three sections, the table of contents include:

Negotiating Oblivion
Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word — Kelley Armstrong
Banshee — Daniel Sernine (translation by Sheryl Curtis)
Riding Shotgun — Elaine Pascale
The Twenty Seven Club — J. M. Frey
Trinity Death — Steve Vernon
What I Said to Richie was? — Ken Goldman
To Dance, Perchance to Die — David McDonald
Death Doll — Lois H. Gresh

Resisting Extinction
The Long Wait — R. B. Payne
That Brightness — Mary E. Choo
Night Market — Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem
Sooner — Morgan Dambergs
The Great Inevitable — Patricia Flewwelling
In a Moment — Christine Steendam
Death Drives a Cordoba — Ryan McFadden
Prison Break — Tobin Elliott
This Strange Way of Dying — Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Deaths of Jeremiah Colverson — George Wilhite

Best Before/Best After
The Shadow of Death — Paul Kane
An Inspector Calls — Rebecca Bradley
What Would Lizzie Do? — Sèphera Girón
Ashes to Ashes — Amy Grech
The Greyness — Kathryn Ptacek
things in jars — Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Right of Survivorship — Nancy Holder and Erin Underwood

The stories span a range of emotions. Some will make you laugh, other will make you cry. They are grim and hopeful, sad and joyous, horrifying and comforting. Each has its own personality and will touch you in its own way.

“Every one of us comes with an alpha and an omega stamp, an inception and an expiration date.” says Kilpatrick, “Knowing this is what allows us to focus on what is truly important: paying attention to our best-before date and treating ourselves, each other and life in general with kindness, understanding, respect, and experiencing the awe of the miracle that we are, at this very moment, alive!”

“A horror anthology focusing on endings is almost by definition going to be filled with depressing stories, but these are still well worth reading. The recent death of contributor Melanie Tem adds inadvertent poignancy to “Night Market,” her collaboration with Steve Rasnic Tem, which links the compassionate euthanization of animals with a depressed veterinarian’s own near-death experiences. Numerous stories have been told from the vampire-hunter’s point of view, but Kelley Armstrong presents the vampire’s perspective on the hunters in “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.” Ryan McFadden explores crushing survivor guilt in “Death Drives a Cordoba.” A deal with the devil in J.M. Frey’s “The Twenty-Seven Club” serves as a reminder that one can rarely choose the manner of one’s death. Of course, one way to select the way you die is suicide, which Morgan Dambergs’s “Sooner” explores. When humor does enter these tales, it is often bleak and dark, as befits the subject matter. These stories work best in small doses, but they offer a variety of compelling visions of deaths and other endings.”
– Publisher’s Weekly

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