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One of my final reads of 2022, I returned to the stellar writing of award-winning (2022 Reader’s Favorite Bronze Medal) author Shane Scott. This time, I read the novella “Faith”, a sort of sequel to his main series, “The All”, and a book that follows the incredible “God of Nothing”, which is a favourite read of mine.

“Faith: Stories From the All” is set millennia after the events in “God of Nothing”. Yet, when you are dealing with Beelzebub, and other Demons, Bol, Gods, Titans, and other immortals, that inhabit Scott’s universe, for whom time does not have the same meaning as mortals, dates might not be that relevant.

In any event, Scott tells us that the setting for “Faith” is earth, the year is 3321, and our mother planet has essentially gone into the toilet.

Nuclear and intergalactic conflict, disease, malevolent governments, religious fanaticism, superstition, ignorance, ravishing of natural resources, greed, and destruction are rampant.

And that’s the good news.

Because the ultimate apocalypse is coming, and essentially, it’s somewhat of a zombie apocalypse, for the less fortunate ones. How will the fortunate ones fare, as opposed to morphing into flesh eating monsters called Veiners? Those fortunate ones will succumb to “brain-rot”. The end result of brain-rot is your head exploding into mush. Wonderful.

Heather Marks, works for one of those government agencies. She has a cowardly, snivelling, sanctimonious, ineffective partner. She also has lots of brains and moxie, a heart of gold, nerves of steel, a tough exterior, an AI guardian angel, and a BIG laser cannon. She’s pretty sure she’s going to die like everyone else, because the fate of brain-rot seems inescapable, with a staggering infection rate, of essentially: EVERYONE. Then, miraculously, an alternative appears.

But will the orphan girl she’s rescued be a burden, a hindrance to her escaping a horrible end? Or will the adorable Sarah be just the salvation Heather’s always been looking for?

Trying to save Sarah, and herself, Heather will find romance, heartache, and maybe a glimmer of hope for humanity along the way, if she can just survive long enough.

Will the gods (such as the ones we saw in “God of Nothing”) intervene? Or are they just having fun watching the train-wreck that is humanity?

With tight, efficient, yet smooth and haunting writing, Scott, in about 70-pages, gives the reader an emotional, action-packed, and heart-rending ride.

We get a tease, with a cameo by a few characters, including Evangeline and Wen from “God of Nothing” (The All #1).

If the reader has not yet read that book, the appearance of these fabulous characters won’t hamper your reading pleasure for “Faith”. But for me, who read that main-series novel, it only made me want more of those players, and further expansion on the linkage between Evangeline, Wen, and Heather and Sarah.

Shane Scott’s true brilliance is that he does so much more than just meld low science fiction, with epic fantasy, Biblical and classical mythology (and he does that in exceptional fashion).

Throw in all the modern colloquialisms and euphemisms of the 21st century, blurred and blended with more antiquated terms and slang, then combine irreverent, potty mouth, vulgar derision of human customs and traditions, black humour ( leading to some crude, side-splitting laughs) and thought-provoking, quick bite philosophizing, bending how oral and written tradition (especially regarding religion) has been misinterpreted and misconstrued down through the tumultuous years of post-apocalyptic chaos, and what do you have?

A phantasmagoria of bloodshed, love, hope, found family, advanced technology (and human regression), and laughs, in the backdrop of a confused and desperate world on the brink of complete annihilation.

Scott is a very witty and clever writer, who fills his book with levity, wonderful characters, great relationships and interactions, moral lessons, and amazing action. I love his books, and will read everything he writes.

I only read a few novellas in 2022, being very choosy with that type of book, because I prefer longer novels. But the novellas I read this year were exceptional, and the quality of these books, especially “Faith”, has encouraged me to add more novellas to my TBR in the future.

Five glowing stars for “Faith” by Shane Scott.

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