The Eightfold Path by Steven Barnes and Dr. Charles Johnson, illustrated by Bryan Christopher Moss
Hardcover – Abrams – Apr 2022 – 233 pages
Eight strangers looking for enlightenment from an ancient spiritual teacher are trapped in a cave high in the mountains on their way to his temple. One of his acolytes directs them to each tell a story that the group can learn from as they wait out the horrible snowstorm that rages outside the cave’s entrance.
One by one the travelers each share a story that, unbeknownst to them, is actually a morality tale representing one of the aspects of final enlightenment as taught in Buddhism. As the wind howls through the night, they tell symbolic stories of horror, dystopia, high adventure, cyberpunk, and urban fantasy. Each story is a spoke on the symbolic Dharma wheel, and each interlocking tale gets the travelers closer to their true destiny—unveiling the future of the entire human race.
This remarkable collection borrows heavily from the traditions of pop-culture morality anthology series such as The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Night Gallery, Lovecraft Country, and the publications of E.C. Comics. Heavily influenced by the science fiction pulps of the 1950s and 1960s, this brilliant collection remixes classic social narratives such as Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, and The Arabian Nights, through an edgy, contemporary, yet spiritually centered lens. In The Eightfold Path, our destinies lie in heeding the lessons given in every one of these entrancing tales.