The dichotomy between fact and fiction, between the rationalizations of an intelligent mind and that part of us that just wants to believe, are central to what made this show as successful as it was. Sure, that loud pounding that woke you in the middle of the night after watching a scary movie could be explained in a number of ways, but you still wonder (and secretly hope) if there was something more to it. Paranormal, the supernatural, a world beyond our world that we can’t see but that’s there. And, of course, the conspiracies of governments trying to keep their flocks from the truth.
This is what we all want to believe, and Jonathan Maberry’s excellent intro to this anthology perfectly encapsulates that secret hope we all hold to (whether we admit it or not).
As for the stories found within this volume, there are some definite wins here. A few of the authors capture the characters so effortlessly that you feel you’ve been transported back to the nineties, and several of the tales would have made for amazing episodes. Others feel like “filler” material, with story lines that drag and character choices that feel quite forced and unnatural. Such, I suppose, is to be expected from this type of collection, but there’s a definite unevenness to the anthology in general, and it’s easy to spot who’s at the top of their game and who rushed to meet a deadline (not to mention who’s woefully unfamiliar with the show).
The good news is that the stories that succeed make this worth checking out. Tim Lebbon, Peter Clines, and Brian Keene spin some memorable tales and a few of the weirder stories — while far from perfect — still stay with you. Despite the ebb and flow, it’s great to get reacquainted with Fox and Mulder on a few new adventures, and fans of the TV show will have something to celebrate here.