The Sha’Daa has its dark, eerie, terrifying roots anchored deep in the soil of fictional horror and mythic apocrypha. The end-of-days is a concept reinvented multiple times by each generation of writers with every new century, and our own 21st is no exception. We offer up this humble tribute to those who came before us.
A gruesome shout out is given for Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Bloch, H.P. Lovecraft, F. Paul Wilson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Bram Stoker, Charles Dickens, Brian Lumley, Homer, Arthur Conan Doyle, and all the rest who have given us reason to fear the night.
Be warned. The Sha’Daa is coming.
“Even in a field that prides itself upon being unique, Sha’Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse, is a most unusual book…a world visited by hideous things every ten thousand years…stories ranging from those involving Greek and Norse mythology, to one about video-gaming warriors…it’s a hell of a book.” – Mike Resnick
From The Dive by Ed McKeown:
As I met Johnney’s gaze, the tunnel around me faded and I felt as if I was floating in air. A gray fog enveloped me, then a few seconds later images appeared below. With a shock, I realized I was floating over an immense stone city. A ghastly, greenish light emanated from walls of the buildings, pallid and somehow unclean. A foul odor wafted from it. Foul even by the standards of sewer workers.
I drifted down and then… I saw them. And I frantically prayed to the Virgin that they did not see me. Things shuffled and lurched through the ghost-lit streets, hideous horned-and-tailed things. Some had green, leathery-looking skin, while others walked upright like men, yet had heads like alligators.
“They see you not,” Johnny whispered in my ears, “because you are not. Long ago this place ended. Many of your kind died in its walls as a sacrifice… as food… as entertainment… for these.”
I whipped my head around and searched frantically for him, but he was invisible.
“Dread Falkaya this was,” Johnny’s theatrical whisper continued. “Once linked to your world. Those that lived here feasted on your distant ancestors. Sometimes they did worse, mating with them to produce demonic half-breeds. Some humans they broke the souls of and made them into the Shadalka: servants of demons. The Shadalka seek to outdo their masters in cruelty. Because they are part human, they can cross more easily to your world.”
From The Way of the Warrior by Arthur Sanchez
The General chuckled. “A true warrior is ever vigilant. We’ve been watching your kind since before you lived in caves. I know about video games. Let us begin!” Shinzo gulped hard.
Two-player games are different than playing the computer. There isn’t as much finesse. A player chooses an avatar and tries to use its strengths while protecting against its weaknesses. Shinzo chose a fighter who was fast and precise. That came at the cost of strength and endurance. General Kra’tchaz’ chose a fighter with limited mobility but a devastating punch. I guess, Shinzo thought, people stick to what they know.
Shinzo wiped the sweat from his hands on his pants and held his controller pad. General Kra’tchaz’ stared at the screen. He looked as immobile as a house. “Let’s do it,” Shinzo said.
From Talking Heads by Nancy Jackson
Professor Veronica “Ronny” Johns stared at her grandfather’s picture on the wall of her tidy study at Exeter University. He’d been everything to her as a child, after her parents died in a car crash. The resemblance between her tall, elegant grandfather and herself was clear in the reflection from the portrait’s glass. The same long, straight nose, brown hair and dark brown eyes, the same gangling body that looked better on him than it did on her.
“But you left me something else, Gramps,” she sighed. “You left me a terrible burden that even now I only half believe in. Perhaps we’re both mad.” She turned back to her laptop, where she was working on the details of the Exeter University expedition to Easter Island. It was a long way from Devon, UK, to the Pacific.