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“Becoming” from Bodies Full of Burning

“Becoming” by Ali Seay is rooted more firmly in a contemporary setting, and anyone who has experienced the terror of seeing their body act in a way that is out of their control will appreciate it. When Ruby first learns that her hormones have waded waist-deep into perimenopause, she experiences a range of emotions, none of them positive. “‘I’m becoming something new,’ she breathed as anxiety crawled through her. ‘I’m fine. I’m good. I’m worthy,’” she insists to herself. Trapped under the oppressive weight of hot flashes, she decides to fight fire with fire. Anyone who has issues with excoriation, regardless of gender, will identify with Ruby on a whole other level. The tale scared the bejesus out of me.

-Rebecca Rowland/Ginger Nuts of Horror

“Jesus or Jacob” from The Big Book of Blasphemy

‘Jesus or Jacob?’ by Ali Seay – this is my favourite of the bunch. A devout father, led astray by a bigot in his church, tries to reconcile the loving teachings of Jesus with the more smite-y aspects of Christian teachings, as he and a group of compatriots prepare to storm an LGBT+ church meeting. Seay really places us in the father’s head as he agonises over making the right decision, a dilemma he sees as a choice between two Gods. Beautifully written and quite tragic.

-Ginger Nuts of Horror

Two of the stories hurt because they mirror the idiocy I’ve seen in religious folks regarding the way they treat their children. Because of the empathy they aroused, Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth by Ray Garton and Jesus or Jacob by Ali Seay are stories that demand to be read. If you read the bible as a curious youth, I mean really read it there is no denying it is a genuinely disturbing book. A lot of death; infanticide, filicide, mass murder, and the popular death by fire. Is it any wonder a child force-fed these holy stories would suffer nightmares? And if your entire life has been steeped in the rock-steady rules what actions do you take when your kid defies them, just how far do you take it?

-Kendall Reviews

Anthologies are tough to assess, as they are made of separate, individual pieces but I will try.  There are 30 stories in here, and my absolute favorites are these four:
“Scriptures” by Edward Lee.  Not surprisingly gross fun from the master
“Jesus or Jacob?” by Ali Seay.  A heartbreaker
“Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth” by Ray Garton.  One of my favorite stories from Garton.
“Selling Salvation” by Ryan Harville.  One of the few writers in the anthology that I’d never heard of.  But that’s the beauty of these right?

-Dead Head Reviews (now Divination Hollow Reviews)