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Posted December 9, 2012
If you like anthologies check out The New Death and Others by James Hutchings. This is a book of flash fiction and poetry that deal with mythology, fairy tales and horror. Most of the stories that are here are less than 1,000 words. They make you think and laugh while looking at the dark side of fantasy. This collection has a little of everything, including monsters who are afraid that people are no longer scared of them, A man longing for the perfect woman and a funny tale of two demons in love.
The first story in this collection is called The God of The Poor and deals with the gods deciding on which one of them will have dominion over the poor. In this story, I felt the gods were a metaphor for how most people think of the poor and it really set the stage for the rest of the book. In the next story called How The Isle of Cats Got Its Name, James Hutchings creates his own mythology. It is set in the fictional city of Telelee and follows a powerful sorceress named Abi-simiti as she collects all the cats in the city to take to an unnamed island. Her plan is to torture cats as part of a musical instrument that is meant to impress a god. Abi-simiti makes a crucial mistake and the cats have the last laugh. Anyone who is a cat lover should enjoy this one along with another story in the collection called My Cat Is Not Like Other Cats.
There are a few stories in The New Death And Others that I really enjoyed. One in particular was The Doom That Was Laid Upon Fame. In this story the goddess Fame is blamed and punished for giving people who are unworthy fame and fortune, but she finds a way to get out of trouble with help from the seldom heard about fifth member of the four horseman of the apocalypse. Another good one is Weary Love, that is a funny short poem that tells what happens when the god Commerce takes over for Love. Some other stories here that were very similar that I enjoyed was Fame's Beloved, The New Death and The New God. If you like short stories and poems that are funny, dark and gives a satirical look at life, you will enjoy The New Death and Others. There are a lot of good ideas in this book, in particular I enjoyed The stories involving the land of Telelee. I enjoy it when authors create their own mythology and I hope to hear more stories set in Telelee from James Hutchings in the future.
Posted March 8, 2012
James Hutchings’ The New Death and Others is a fascinating blend of short stories and poems that are amusingly dark and disturbing. The collection did not have any valid reasons to the way it was assembled because the stories were very random. I found that this unpredictability to be a delight as each story or poem was something new. Aside from being dark, there is certainly humor in it.
Hutchings delivers a very witty and entertaining book. He touches serious topics like death and not-so-serious ones like the relationships with our phones. I love how Hutchings take everyday things and convey them in an entirely different and original way. There are very important matters in each story that are disguised very well. You will have to think outside of the box to fully appreciate the meaning behind each story.
The stories are definitely dark fantasy, humorous, and flat-out cynical. Hutchings’ creative way to write a serious matter into something hysterical is brilliant. He is like the blacksmith of words: hammering, bending and cutting words and forging them to create a beautiful story. If you enjoy sharp and twisted stories, I highly recommend this collection.
Posted February 29, 2012
The New Death and Others is a collection of 44 stories and 19 poems. Some of the stories are so short they could be a vignette…if they’d been drawn instead of written.
Irreverent, cheeky, sarcastic and very amusing is how I’d describe this collection. I skipped only three items: Under the Pyramids, The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune and The Garden of Adompha because I couldn’t get into them. The rest were pretty funny, at least to me they were. I’ve been told I have a strange sense of humor sometimes though, so what amused me in this collection may not be quite so amusing to others.
A fast easy read and an enjoyable way to pass the time. I groaned, snickered, giggled and even LOL’d my way thru this hodgepodge collection. A great way to pass the time.
*The author provided a copy of this book to me for review. Please see disclaimer page on my blog.
Posted February 18, 2012
When the author asked me to review The New Death and Others I was quite chuffed. I'm not normally one to review books but I thought it was a great time to start. The genre of this book isn't really what I would seek out to read, so it was going to be out of my normal comfort zone. The New Death and Others is a collection of short stories, very short stories and poetry. The subject of these tales is quite dark at times. I have to say that some of them left me a little cold - meaning that I read them and at the end my thoughts were 'What was all that about?'. But on the other hand many of them showed me a completely different way of looking at things. I liked the clever way that Hutchings uses Death, Destiny, Fame and many others as characters - certainly a different spin. The author has a talent to look at everyday things and present them in a completely original way - and as you read - if you look behind the words you can pick up the hidden messages in the stories. I see these stories as a very original way of reflecting on the norms of society. This can provoke the reader into personal contemplation about ourselves and how we live.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 7, 2012
This book was hilarious. James Hutchings has taken the simplest things and turned them into something fantastic! This book is perfect for those days when you have 5 minutes spare, you can quickly grab it and read one of the short stories or poems. I am not a huge fan of short stories, but I will be recommending this book to all readers, and people who just love to have a laugh!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 23, 2012
Just finished reading this and I liked it. It's a mix of cynicism, humor and a touch of irony. Each story and poem is well written and I liked each one. They are set apart from each other, but have a touch of the same elements. I found my self laughing so much from this book. It's an awesome read and I would recommend checking it out.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 21, 2012
The description of this book was definitely interesting. I enjoyed the way the writer switched between short stories and poems. Unfortunately, I didn't really like the short stories. They were full of puns and I think would be funny if they were told on stage by a comedian, but not so funny as the written word. The author definitely has creative ideas and it would be interesting to see what kind of stories he could tell that were a little more serious.
On the other hand, I did like most of the poems. The author has a penchant for cats, and I liked it when he wrote about them. I especially liked the poem "My Cat is Not Like Other Cats." It wasn't written for laughs, but was written to show why this cat is different from other cats. "How the Isle of Cats Got Its Name" was humerous and enjoyable.
For those that like puns and silliness, then this book is for you. For those who don't like groaning at the end of a story because you got to the punchline, then you will probably not enjoy this book.
Posted January 13, 2012
I really enjoyed reading this collection of poems, flash stories, and longer works. It made me laugh and made me think. The poems were great to read out loud with the rhythmic pattern of writing. The longer stories were very interesting, but the flash stories really made me think. The collection is a mishmash of dark fantasy, ironic fairy tales, satire, and twist minds, which obviously Mr. Hutchings has. My favorites are The Auto-Pope, where a robot is elected Pope, an untitled poem that will make you stop and think, and My Cat Is Not Like Any Other Cat, in which Mr. Hastings must have the sibling of my cat! I normally do not read collections, but the subject matter peaked my interest in this book. I am very glad that I read something so different for me. It made me laugh out loud on the bus and that's totally out of my comfort range, but I just couldn't help it. I know I will read pieces of this collection again and again. Mr. Hutchings has written a winner!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 4, 2012
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