Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Twice Upon An Apocalypse - ed. by Scott Gouldsward & Rachel Kenley

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

From the Introduction from GaryBraunbeck

The idea of taking a traditional fairy tale and setting it in Lovecraft's universe seems so inspired that it has to already have been done, right?

Placing these stories with their black-and-white morality into a world where virtue, ethics, courage, decency, and goodness are at best cruel jokes freed the writers from having to worry about the moral core of their chosen fairy tale being compromised, because here, here that moral code is D.O.A., the characters just don't know it yet., so the core remains unaltered.

The Pied Piper of Providence William Meikle Based on The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning

A somewhat predictable story as many of these will be. But good fun in the hands of Willie.

Old lady Malcolm was the first to see them when, on descending into her cellar late in the evening, she was attacked by six large rats which bit her most grievously before she managed to fight them off with a broom.

The town fathers are willing to pay whatever it takes to rid the community of this growing problem, but when it comes time to "pay the piper" they, like many politicians, find a way to weasel out of their deal with odious consequences.

The Three Billygoats Sothoth Peter N. Dudar Based on Three Billy Goats Gruff by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen

So much fun.  True to form with a bit of whimsy

Little Maiden of the Sea David Bernard Based on The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson

But the Little Maiden was stubborn, and would swim to the surface and hide among the rocks, gazing upon the lights of the village that the hybrids said the air-breathers called Innsmouth.

An absolutely delicious tale.

The Great Old One And The Beanstalk Armand Rosamilia Based on Jack and the Beanstalk by Joseph Jacob

What Jack finds at the other end of the beanstalk...

They sang out, words I had never heard, and wished I could forget.

I know not what they meant.  But such was the chill I received when I heard them, and stared into the evil cloud-like entity they clearly worshiped.  That they will be forever be imprinted on my psyche and the words spoken in my nightmares until the day I die.

In the Shade of the Juniper Tree J. P. Hutshell Based on the Juniper Tree by Philipp Otto Runge

A new author and an unfamiliar tale for me, but a terrifically horrifying story.

The Horror at Hatchet Point Zach Shephard Based on Rumpelstiltskin by the Brothers Grimm

Another new author for me with a story true to the original, but with that Lovevraftian twist.

I loved his words...

The perfect night they’d been waiting for was upon them: the clouds were dark sacks full of writhing pythons, the wind a banshee’s breath. Hatchet Point cleaved oncoming waves in a spray of black water, while distant lightning illuminated the foaming sea.

The Most Incredible Thing Bracken MacLeod Based on Det Utroligste (The Most Incredible Thing) by Hans Christian Anderson 

I was not familiar with this Hans Christian Anderson tale, but researching it, I found Bracken to true to the original with the wonderful twist of the contest to determine the most incredible thing being a tv show along the lines of America's Got Talent.  Clever.

Let Me Come In! Simon Yee Based on The Three Little Pigs by James Halliwell-Phillipps

Yet another fun spin on a classic tale.

The Fishman and His Wife Inanna Arthen Based on The Fisherman and His Wife by the Brothers Grimm

Great opening for a Lovecraftian infused story...

From the way the Director-General's anterior tentacles writhed on his desk, like earthworms dropped onto hot beach sand, I suspected this conversation wasn't going to go well.

The Little Match Mi-Go Michael Kamp Based on The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson

The story had little in common with The Little Match Girl and delivered little in content.

Follow the Yellow Glyph Road Scott T. Goudsward Based on The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

I automatically love any story set in this realm created by L. Ftank Baum.  My only complaint was, I wanted more.

Just follow me.”“But I’m following a talking cat down a strange road in a place I don’t know.” The cat stopped and turned to look at Dorothy with golden eyes. “I don’t explain. I tell the lost ones to follow me, and I lead them through the maze before something comes out of nowhere and lops their head off with a giant bloody axe.”

Another fine story

Curiosity Winifred Burniston Based on Bluebeard by Charles Perrault

True to the original in most ways with the expected Lovecraftian twist.

The Ice Queen Mae Empson Based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson

I found this story to be as chilling as The Snow Queen.  Of of only a few fairy tales that actually scared me as a kid.

But no bee in any book I’ve read has wings that glow in the dark, or six pincer-like legs with saw-toothed claws, thick with white hair. In the space where a bee would have a head, a tangle of antennae writhe like tentacles.

Once Upon a Dream Matthew Baugh Based on Sleeping Beauty by the Brothers Grimm

Wow.  Great story, nothing like the fairytale you heard as a child.

After the two feasted on the Queen’s carcass, the King took little Cthulhu to the balcony of the tower and presented her to the people.

Bloody disgusting.  I loved it.

Cinderella and her Outer Godfather C.T. Phipps Based on Cinderella by Charles Perrault

An appropriately twisted telling of this oft-told tale.

Donkeyskin K.H. Vaughan Based on Donkeyskin by Charles Perrault

Sweet Dreams in the Witch-House Sean Logan Based on Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm 

A wonderful twist on this classic tale.

He saw his sister tear off a piece of the eave and chew, but it was not creamy chocolate that dribbled down her chin, but the brown blood of l a rodent carcass.

Fee Fi Old One Thomas Brannon Based on Jack the Giant Killer by Joseph Jacobs

The King of the Golden Mountain Morgan Sylvia Based on the King of the Golden Mountain by the Brothers Grimm

The Legend of Creepy Hollow Don D’Ammassa Based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving 

A well-told story with a true Lovecraftian flair.

Knowledge held in secret has no utility. When someone tells me he has learned some truth that transcends what we know of the physical universe, I can safely assume he is either lying, delusional, or a fool.”

Many the stories were played for laughs and weren't very terrifying at all, with a few exceptions.

Sometimes you just need to read for fun, not great literature, not groundbreaking prose, just to enjoy the read. This is such a book.  I'll never be able to hear these children tales as I've heard them all of my life.

Twice Upon An Apocalypse is available in both paperback and e-book formats from Crytal Lake Publishing.  If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can read it at no additional charge.  Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member you can read it for FREE using the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

No comments:

Post a Comment