This is probably the second or third Barker collection I came across, way back in 1987. I was a high school kid, immersed in King, Straub, Lovecraft, Koontz, but Barker was a writer I had to think about, someone whose writing style aimed above the usual 6th grade average. His images were unsettling and confusing--I remember coming to the end of the title story and thinking, "Wwwhaaat?" but that was so long ago. I credit Barker with making me a more discerning, sophisticated reader. Horror could be sharp with wit, laced with the blackest comedy, and subversive like the punk rock music I loved. He approached topics like sexuality and psychology unlike any other writer I had ever read. This book, Volume 5 of "The Books of Blood," is one of the very strongest. He toys with religious fanaticism and fundamentalism in "Revelations," with the Devil in the modern world in the fable "Down, Satan!" and with eros and extreme arousal in "The Age of Desire," one of my favorite stories by him. This was one that I would retell to my shocked friends at lunch. They wanted to be weird, to be outcast, but Ha! they weren't willing to go all the way. Barker, he goes all the way. He is, along with Harlan Ellison and Lovecraft himself, the only writer of any type of fiction, that I can reread now, over a decade later, with satisfaction and awe and respect. Clive Barker. Make no mistake.