Copyright 2011 Karl El-Koura
To my parents.
This free ebook is a sampler of the author's collection Ooter's Place and Other Stories of Fear, Faith, and Love. This book contains the full introduction and the three stories that start each of the three sections, along with their forewords. The full book contains 13 stories in total.
The stories in this collection span my entire professional writing career so far, from the first story of mine to be paid for and published (“They Came From Ooter’s Place” in 1998) to one of the most recent (“Blink” in 2010). As the title of the book may have led you to believe, these works also span a wide range of genres: you’ll find stories of science fiction, fantasy, horror, detective fiction, military fiction, and even two pieces of superhero fiction. There are really short stories (the shortest is only 250 words) and longer stories (the longest is 7500 words). My hope is that the variety of this collection will be a virtue, containing something for everyone to enjoy.
Four stories appear under each of the three headings (Fear, Faith, and Love). These categories are rather arbitrary; most of the stories are really about love, or the lack of love. Love is at the center of the universe, and can hardly be avoided in life or fiction. As a bonus exclusive to this collection, the last story is about fear, faith, and love. All of the stories are accompanied by a foreword (an afterword in the case of the bonus story).
The Stories of Fear are not meant to fill your dreams with nightmare visions; that is not the kind of horror I like to read, and it isn’t the kind I write (although I recognize that there’s a place and an audience for it). The real horror in these stories, I think, comes from what they imply—about who we are as human beings, what we’re capable of, and how often we allow our weaknesses (such as laziness, pettiness, or just plain meanness) to usher varying degrees of horror into our lives and the lives of others.