Halloween Month Begins at BCC Press with The Darkest Abyss

From the very beginning of William Morris’s new book, The Darkest Abyss: Strange Mormon Stories, we are presented with an interpretive problem. Are these strange stories about Mormons? Or are they stories about strange Mormons? Fortunately, we don’t have to think about this much, because the answer is both—clearly, abundantly, terrifyingly, and marvelously both.

But strange in a good way. Like with Dr. Strange. Or Gerard Manley Hopkins’ praise of “all things counter, original, spare, strange.” The stories in The Darkest Abyss are all of these things and so much more. Morris, whose previous collection Dark Watch and other Mormo-American Stories was recently named one of 100 significant works of Mormon Literature by the Association for Mormon Letters, has put together another collection of dark, but also poignant stories about what Mormonism is or might have been.

The stories are “strange” primarily because they momentarily disorient us. They take us outside of the world we currently inhabit in order to represent our own world back to us in new ways. Sometimes, the stories treat alternate paths that Mormonism might have taken (or might still take), such as a world in which Emma Smith came to Utah to convert her nieces and nephews to a different kind of polygamy, or one in which Mormonism disappears in the United States and takes root in Japan.

And sometimes it is the world itself that is different and the Mormons have to adapt to witches (kind of), cherubs (arguably), and dryads (pretty sure about this one). All of them are surprising because all of them are true—in a way that only fiction can be true, by showing us things about ourselves that we have never considered before.

But don’t take our word for it. Check out our free story, the third from the collection, “Emma Travels West.” We know you’ll love it. And check back two weeks from today for the launch of Mette Harrison’s Genealogy of Werewolves, the long-awaited sequel to Vampires in the Temple. Don’t scream—it’s only Halloween.

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