Review: With a Title Like _Monsters & Mormons_, How Could You Not Have Fun?, Part One

It’s taking me a while to get through  Monsters & Mormons, not because it’s not super enjoyable (because it is!), but because it’s a pretty long book (which, to me, is no flaw. The upcoming Saints on Stage: An Anthology For Mormon Drama which I edited for Zarahemla Books is a behemoth as well). Also when I finish a short story, I feel a temporary sense of completeness, so the book doesn’t always draw me back like a novel does because I’m not left “hanging” so to speak. So I’ve decided to break up my review of Monsters and Mormons over a few different reviews so I can write while the stories are still somewhat fresh in my mind. It will also allow me to address the short stories more individually instead of as a blurred whole.

First, my overall impression of Monsters & Mormons: it’s a winner. A big winner. As some one who has lived in imaginative waters since he was a child and hasn’t been afraid to invite his religion to play in those waters with him, I totally dig projects like this. Now, I’ve never been much of a horror fan, especially when it leads to copious amounts of blood and gore. I mean, like, yuck. Not my thing. However, I do love ghost stories and supernatural monsters (I keep wanting to read some H.P. Lovecraft), and, if it doesn’t lead to too much gruesomeness, I can definitely enjoy stories like this. This is definitely not something I would suggest to some of my less adventurous or conservative thinking family and friends, but it’s something I would suggest to the imaginative Mormon who doesn’t mind mixing fantasy and religion (and I know a number of non-Mormons who would get a kick out of it!) . So let’s get to the individual stories in the first part of the collection:

Continue reading “Review: With a Title Like _Monsters & Mormons_, How Could You Not Have Fun?, Part One”

Latter-day Saint, Latter-day Lovecraft: an interview with W.H. Pugmire

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One thing I often claim about my faith (and which outsiders generally snort at) is the size of the Mormon umbrella. Doctrinally, we welcome every truth, every person, every thing. All things are of God and part of being One and True is that we cover everything.

Brigham Young: “In a word, if “Mormonism” is not my life, I do not know that I have any. I do not understand anything else, for it embraces everything that comes within the range of the understanding of man. If it does not circumscribe every thing that is in heaven and on earth, it is not what it purports to be.”

That’s the Mormonism I believe in.

Yet, if you look around, our critics have a point. We appear to be rather homogeneous.

Even here in the radical middle we tend to, over time, draw our circles smaller and smaller. Think of how many Zarahemla Books releases have received our attention. And I’m about to give Angela Hallstrom her fourth (fourth!) AMV interview. Regarding Zarahemla’s new fiction collection.

Clearly we are at risk of becoming provincial.

I mention all this to explain why I am so thrilled when I meet an art-making Saint who could never pass for Gerald Lund in a crowded room.

Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire is a faithful artist could never pass for Gerald Lund in a crowded room. I caught up with him via email for a conversation. Continue reading “Latter-day Saint, Latter-day Lovecraft: an interview with W.H. Pugmire”