From the Bookshelf / A Stalled Ox Review

Layout 1BY: PAMELA STERN

The Spring Creek Sun is proud to review a novella (which is a type of book that has the focus of a short story, but the scope of a novel) by our very own contributing writer, Dean Moses. You might be familiar with Moses, as our game reviewer/ entertainment writer, but he has just had his first book published, A Stalled Ox.

A Stalled Ox makes its debut with California based publisher, 1888 Center/Black Hill Press. This novella combines the ideas of Christianity, the extremism of religious cults (think along the lines of the cult that was in Waco, Texas), addictive behavior and the pitfalls of blind faith.

This dark book keeps you on your toes and makes you think. The imagery in A Stalled Ox questions how religion plays a part in our daily lives. It doesn’t matter what your religious affiliation is, we are all programed to follow certain rituals, and this book makes us question why we do the things that we do.

Through Moses’ writing, we question the morality of man and explore humanity’s gluttonous desires for things we can live without. While reading this book, my mind started to focus on the characters, their experiences and the repercussions of their choices. In a way, this novella mirrors society, and in doing so it makes you question your everyday choices and outlook on the world.

Many of the characters in this book have their own selfish motivation, which leads to a mind-boggling conclusion. In A Stalled Ox, we question self-gratification, especially when it comes to our desires for trivial things.

The book’s synopsis describes the novella as: “An isolated religious cult has reportedly been consuming meat while the rest of the planet has been forced to live a life without it. Presuming this sect has resorted to cannibalism, two agents from an organization known simply as The Agency are dispatched to investigate. Will they find evidence of humans eating one another? Or is something even stranger taking place?”

With its unique blend of horror, this tale provokes the reader’s idea of the basic human need to eat, and the consequences of devout trust and faith in others.

A Stalled Ox was one of three books chosen during the 2015 Summer Writing Project held by 1888 Center and the indie serial website, JukePop Serials. The other two novellas that are also being published are: Let’s Stalk Rex Jupiter! by Allison A. Spector and Beneath Blair Mountain by Shannon Barnsley. Each with covers designed by Japanese artist Mariya Suzuki.

For more information about these novellas check out 1888.center

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