I received a book I didn’t buy. And no, I didn’t steal it. Though for this little gem, it would be apropos. In fact, it might actually be considered a compliment.
Alas, however, I received a random email request one day from a brave author asking me to review his anthology: The New Death and others.
Now don’t get me wrong, I usually go out of my way to help my fellow scribes in whatever way I can. But this was a book of dark fantasy. I don’t read fantasy and had no feckin’ clue what would happen to regular fantasy with the adjective dark slapped in front of it.
I waffled and even rolled my eyes a bit at his line that this particular anthology had no “sparkly vampires” in it. Then I penned him a response letting him know that my reviews are honest, yet never cruel. If he could handle that, I’d be willing to review his anthology.
Thankfully, James Hutchings responded with enthusiasm and the okay.
Thankfully, I say, because I loved his delectable darkness, and was hooked by the very first story. And so I present to you, The New Death and others.
Death gets a roommate…
An electronic Pope faces a difficult theological
A wicked vizier makes a terrible bargain…
44 stories. 19 poems. No sparkly vampires. There’s a thin line between genius and insanity, and James Hutchings has just crossed it – but from which direction?
Seriously, did you click? I’ll wait while you try again.
I think Mr. Hutchings’ book blurb gives you a peek into the kind of quirky mind he has. But if not, let me elaborate.
Every flash fiction and poetry piece within this anthology will make you think. They force readers to look at life in a very different manner than we traditionally perceive it. The writing is lyrical and quite magical in most places. It captures the imagination and delights the soul, even as the topic is death, humility and more death with sexual undertones.
It is visceral and ethereal. Modern day mythology of sorts. In some ways it reminded me of reading The Odyssey. The language is vivid and the adventures are both delightful and tragic, written as a song. A dark, fantastical song reminiscent of the old television series Tales from the Crypt.
Yet because each piece is so different, I can’t begin to provide an over view of the anthology. I can only provide a word of caution.
Reading this anthology is a bit like walking into a fun house at the fair.
There is no rhyme or reason to the placement of the rooms next door, and the hallways are filled with magical mirrors that distort reality for even the most sane of us. And yet, we feel compelled to seek out every nook and cranny. Some of them will bore you, or simply not impress. Yet the majority of them will send you on your way with a delightful shiver and a chuckle in your heart. With forty-four short stories and nineteen poems, I guarantee at least one piece will strike your fancy.
Kudos, James Hutchings, and thanks so much for letting me read The New Death and others. It was a genuine treat, and provided the opportunity for me to read outside my traditional genre zones!
Have you recently read a gem by an unknown author? If so, what have you done to help promote him/her? How have you supported your favorite authors in this economic crunch? Do you have an eclectic taste in literature or do you typically read within a tight genre range?
Curious minds want to know.
PS: beware of the cats the occasional misplaced comma. Mr.Hutchings’ writing style is unique and the felines plentiful.