Batch Review: Fangirling over Brian Fatah Steele

It was thanks to C.L.Stegall and Dark Red Press that it came about, me getting the chance to read some of Brian Fatah Steele‘s magnificent work. Oh yes, you heard me,  m a g n i f i c e n t !!
 So, as my title subtly suggests, this is going to be an overall fangirling post, with copious amounts of flailing about and the occasional squealing  No shame in going all groupie, girls, no shame at all!
 Not many of you have gotten to know my dark-woving side, but in this post you will see that aplenty. Bit by bit I will share with you my reading experiences of Brian Fatah Steele‘s novellas and short stories. Buckle your seatbelt, this is going to be one wild ride.

     Far House, Deep House: a novella of hell
Brian Fatah Steele; Kindle Edition, Published March 7th, 2011
Somewhere in a forgotten corner of the Underworld, rumors circulate of Satan abdicating his throne. When the Manager of The House leaves to investigate, she leaves behind a handful of bored Demons looking for ways to entertain themselves. But even this barren niche of Hell has its secrets and the bloody games of the Damned will have consequences.
 (this novella appears in the collection FURTHER THAN FATE)
 – Goodreads on Far House, Deep House: a novella of hell

Oh, where to begin? This little darkish gem is ripe with violent beauty and bloody delight, charming decadence and poetic justice.
Brian Fatah Steele‘s writing style is glorious, sprinkled with delectably darkish humor, it is rich, layered, textured, and sure to give you bouts of synesthesy. Of course, all my enthusiasm might be sort of amplified by the darkish, hellish, deliciously evil characters.
 I think my personal favorite is Cyan, she’s such a morbid little darling, I couldn’t stop smiling about her enthusiastic accomplishments.
 The plot is beautifully peculiar, the events perhaps troubling, but I wouldn’t say horrific. Of course, I enjoy a rich hue of dark, so others might feel it’s a thickly horrific art form – to each his own. Retracting from my cone of shadows, I can see how this particular piece of writing is not for the faint of heart, so I will warm you: there are some violent moments, scary one might think, nightmarish even perhaps, so thread carefully if you’re easily horrified (or scared?).
 Be courageous, I say, and give it a try, if you truly appreciate art.
 What could have been done better? I can’t imagine. Really, I can’t; even the cover is gorgeous. What is it with these Dark Red Press guys and their fabulous covers? *sigh*

     A Complicated Divine: a digital short
Brian Fatah Steele; Kindle Edition, Published September 18th, 2010
A digital short of Heaven, Hell and… “other.” Found in the collection FURTHER THAN FATE by Brian Fatah Steele, and presented here as a Kindle special edition.
 The Shining Above and The Darkness Below collaborated on an experiment… but they never expected it would work. Now they’re stuck with Kylie, who’s a bit of an embarrassment. What’s a divinity to do? Well, scam two disreputable entities into babysitting and hope for the best! Unfortunately with this crew involved, chances are things will end with a lot of swearing and not just a tad of violence.
 – Goodreads on A Complicated Divine: a digital short

 Remember I mentioned Brian Fatah Steele‘s delectable humor? Well, here it abounds.
 This is a lovely, very fun and entertaining short story. There’s an air of innocence about Kylie that you will surely find endearing and touching.
 It’s a bit of a bildugsroman, a bildungs-short-story if you will  Though Kylie does not age physically (I doubt she actually could, anyway), she grows up from a sort of newborn angel-slash-fallen to a young primordial entity. She’s charming, utterly irresistible, and soundly naked a big chunk of the story. Of course, that’s not why I loved her, though it did make her a lot fun (fu~fu).
 A clear display of writing genius, the tone and facets of this short story are in no way dark, there’s nothing sinister looming about, nothing too violent. Sure, there is a bit of metaphysical squabble, but it’s a story featuring a naked, beautiful, curious woman and several potent entities and elder deities, some squabbling is bound to happen. Well, it’s more of a morally oriented fight then a squabble, but it doesn’t reach cosmic proportions until the very last, and even then, it’s in low tones, contained, sort of calm.
 I loved the vast array of ideas so beautifully webbed together, and the characters are simply adorable, even the so-called evil ones. This is a short, lovely, fun and greatly entertaining story, that will surely win you over from the first 10 words in.

     Preeminent Hollows: prologues to the chaos narratives
Brian Fatah Steele; Kindle Edition, Published April 30th, 2011 by Dark Red Press
John Aurelius is the planet’s latest Chaos Emissary, the first ever to join The Department of Diversified Securities run by the mysterious Quantum Courts. However, there were many events that occurred before he joined Earth’s secret metaphysical police and some demand repeated whispers. More than just the haunted memories from associates and adversaries, these are the rumored incidents that led Aurelius to today. These are the stories of trickster gods and murderous ghosts, of Dimensionauts and S’allow Men. Stories of a mental asylum come alive, an occult shop best avoided, and a blacker house never seen. These are the Prologues to The Chaos Narratives(an e-novella of 12 tales).
 – Goodreads on Preeminent Hollows: prologues to the chaos narratives

As the description informs, this is a short collection of 12 tales, a prologue to The Chaos Narratives, and by the looks of it, it heralds great, great news.
 All of them are ridiculously charming, some in tones of a fun read, some in tones of old, intriguing tales, some in tones of gripping action and plentiful paranormal (dislike the term, but oh well…) twists and turns.
 The mastership of the pen is abundantly clear, and Brian Fatah Steele‘s writing gives yet again proof of genius. I loved all bits to bits, if I might say so. I especially, especially enjoyed “The S’allow Man” and “Always Katya”, though I did love them all, honestly.
 Ok, so maybe the quote might have swayed me over before even reading – the quote from Emil Cioran, one of the greatest reflective philosophic minds of a golden generation of romanian writers ; whoever appreciates a fabulous mind like Cioran’s, who happens to be one of my favorite all-time writers, alongside Mircea Eliade and Constantin Noica, is my spiritual friend and kin. Sorry, got carried away here. Anyways…
 I didn’t tell you about the quotes, did I? Aside being a magnificent writer, a refined connoisseur of myth, religion and what I like to think of as natural forces (as opposed to the term “paranormal”) Brian Fatah Steele also gives serious food for thought through the quotes that introduce you to his lovely works.
 You really need to read this, and you’ll really need to read The Chaos Narratives. You’ll be seriously missing out if you won’t, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

     The Stitching: a tale of butterflies and spiders
Brian Fatah Steele; Kindle Edition, Published December 1st, 2010
Imagine if you woke up in a dead world. A world much like this one, but devoid of all other life. A place where telephones rang at random intervals, written words appeared in some bizarre language and night fell whenever it so desired. This is where Luke and Anna find themselves, here to play out a deadly game between two ancient forces. It is here they’ll learn the truth about magic, the truth about each other, the truth about butterflies and spiders. Welcome to The Stitching. (appears in the book FURTHER THAN FATE)
 – Goodreads on The Stitching

 Oh, what a lovely idea! What a lovely idea, yet again!
 The world Brian Fatah Steele builds is surreal, beautiful, magic, and sort of darkish in places, a mix I thoroughly enjoy. The world is the part I truly deeply loved, more then the characters I’d say.
 The plot is very original, but then again, all of his writing is, so no surprises there  The characters are a bit twisted, well at least Anna is; but she’s human-twisted, not evil-twisted, you know? Smaller scale compared to his other characters from what else by him I’ve read. In fact, I sort of disliked her, she’s constantly off-balance, weepy and tragic here, off-of-her-heels nutty there…I don’t know. I think if she’d be viciously murdered at some point near the end, this would become a full on 5 butterflies review instantly  buuuut that’s just me being my evil self.
 Seriously though, the ride you’re taken on, the creatures, the notions you’re presented with, it’s all worth your time and plenty more. Maybe you’ll like clingy Anna, and her big, moist, deer-eyed visage, I mean she is interesting in her own way, she has her charm, that I won’t deny.
 You’ll find all sorts of beautiful here: zombie-things, evil-ish things, magical creatures, grudges, plotting and scheming, lies, a bit of cheating…and then, out of the blue, a lovey-dovey-like thingy. Now that really bumped me off my trajectory. I totally did not see that coming; I mean, it’s not lovey-dovey, sugar and spice and all things excessively nice, but compared to I guess my expectations (bad thing to have while reading, or in life in general, I guess) it struck me as…sweet-ish. I wasn’t hoping for sweet-ish, at all. I’m not sure if the ending would have been different, say Anna being swarmed by African-bees and then thrown into an acid bath, would have made me love the story more…(ok, so probably it would have). It feels to me like an open ending, so I will not lose hope someone will viciously murder Anna, or at least torture her mercilessly in a story to come. Hope never dies, does it? fu~fu
 But anyways, jokes aside, I still highly recommend it, even more so then my personal favorite, (which is Far House, Deep House) because thanks to the ingenious world-building and charming penmanship, adding a possible positive-note ending, it might prove easier to love for a larger audience.

All in all, I keep my general fangirling attitude concerning Brian Fatah Steele, and I feel confident while saying whatever he has written or will write in the future makes for very high-quality reading material. And if after reading him you won’t be fangirling (or fanboying…why isn’t there such a word? I refuse to think only girls go into squealing adoring frenzies…I have seem guys do the same, aplenty!) about his work, then you probably weren’t paying attention, so go read it again!

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