The Apes of Wrath

The Apes of Wrath


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The Apes of Wrath by Richard Klaw

In the Rue Morgue, the jungles of Tarzan, the fables of Aesop, and outer space, the apes in these seventeen fantastic tales boldly go where humans dare not. Including a foreword from Rupert Wyatt, the director of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, this provocative anthology delves into our fascination with and fear of our simian cousins.

“Evil Robot Monkey” introduces a disgruntled chimp implanted with a chip that makes him cleverer than both his cohort and humans alike. In “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” a murder mystery unravels with the discovery of a hair that does not appear quite human. Merging steampunk with slapstick, “The Ape-Box Affair” has a not-so-ordinary orangutan landing on Earth in a spherical flying ship—where he is promptly mistaken for an alien. King Kong sets a terrible example with booze and Barbie dolls in “Godzilla’s 12-Step Program.”

If you’ve ever wondered what makes humans different from apes, soon you’ll be asking yourself, is it even less than we think?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616960858
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication date: 01/08/2013
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Richard Klaw is the author of the acclaimed genre blog The Geek Curmudgeon and was the fiction editor at RevolutionSF. He is the co-editor of the ground-breaking original anthology of short fiction in graphic form, Weird Business; the editor of The Big Bigfoot Book; and the co-founder of Mojo Press, one of the first publishers to produce both graphic novels and fiction. Klaw’s essays and observations are collected in Geek Confidential: Echoes from the 21st Century. Over the past decade, he has written about fictional simians for a variety of publications, including Moving Pictures Magazine, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, King Kong Is Back!, and Kong Is King.

Read an Excerpt

The Apes of Wrath

By Richard Klaw

Tachyon Publications

Copyright © 2013 Richard Klaw
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61696-141-1



James P. Blaylock

Arguably the first American-penned steampunk story, Blaylock's inventive tale about the panic after an orangutan-piloted flying ship crash lands in St. James Park incorporates H. G. Wells and Jules Verne by way of The Three Stooges and Monty Python.

A good deal of controversy arose late in the last century over what has been referred to by the more livid newspapers as "The Horror in St. James Park" or "The Ape-Box Affair." Even these thirty years later, a few people remember that little intrigue, though most would change the subject rather abruptly if you broached it, and many are still unaware of the relation, or rather the lack of relation, between the actual ape-box and the spacecraft that plunked down in the Park's duck pond.

The memoirs of Professor Langdon St. Ives, however, which passed into my hands after the poor man's odd disappearance, pretty clearly implicate him in the affair. His own orang-outang, I'll swear it, and the so-called Hooded Alien are one and the same creature. There is little logical connection, however, between that creature and "the thing in the box" which has since also fallen my way, and is nothing more than a clockwork child's toy. The ape puppet in that box, I find after a handy bit of detective work, was modeled after the heralded "Moko the Educated Ape" which toured with a Bulgarian Gypsy fair and which later became the central motif of the mysterious Robert Service sonnet, "The Headliner and the Breadliner." That the ape in the box became linked to St. Ives's shaven orang-outang is a matter of the wildest coincidence—a coincidence that generated a chain of activities no less strange or incredible. This then is the tale, and though the story is embellished here and there for the sake of dramatic realism, it is entirely factual in the main.

Professor St. Ives was a brilliant scientist, and the history books might some day acknowledge his full worth. But for the Chingford Tower fracas, and one or two other rather trivial affairs, he would be heralded by the Academy, instead of considered a sort of interesting lunatic.

His first delvings into the art of space travel were those which generated the St. James Park matter, and they occurred on, or better yet, were culminated in 1892 early in the morning of July 2. St. Ives's spacecraft was ball-shaped and large enough for one occupant; and because it was the first of a series of such crafts, that occupant was to be one Newton, a trained orang-outang who had only to push the right series of buttons when spacebound to motivate a magnetic homing device designed to reverse the craft's direction and set it about a homeward course. The ape's head was shaven to allow for the snug fitting of a sort of golden conical cap which emitted a meager electrical charge, sufficient only to induce a very mild sleep. It was of great importance that the ape remain docile while in flight, a condition which, as we shall see, was not maintained. The ape was also fitted with a pair of silver, magnetic-soled boots to affix him firmly to the deck of the ship; they would impede his movements in case he became restive, or, as is the problem with space travel, in case the forces of gravity should diminish.

Finally, St. Ives connected a spring-driven mechanism in a silver-colored box which puffed forth successive jets of oxygenated gas produced by the interaction of a concentrated chlorophyll solution with compressed helium—this combination producing the necessary atmosphere in the closed quarters of the ship.

The great scientist, after securing the ape to his chair and winding the chlorophyll box, launched the ship from the rear yard of his residence and laboratory in Harrogate. He watched the thing careen south through the starry early-morning sky. It was at that point, his craft a pinpoint of light on the horizon, that St. Ives was stricken with the awful realization that he had neglected to fill the ape's food dispenser, a fact which would not have been of consequence except that the ape was to receive half a score of greengage plums as a reward for pushing the several buttons which would affect the gyro and reverse the course of the ship. The creature's behavior once he ascertained that he had, in effect, been cheated of his greengages was unpredictable. There was nothing to be done, however, but for St. Ives to crawl wearily in to bed and hope for the best.

Several weeks previous to the launching of the craft (pardon the digression here; its pertinence will soon become apparent) a Bulgarian Gypsy caravan had set up a bit of a carnival in Chelsea, where they sold the usual salves and potions and such rot, as well as providing entertainments. Now, Wilfred Keeble was a toymaker who lived on Whitehall above the Old Shades and who, though not entirely daft, was eccentric. He was also the unloved brother of Winnifred Keeble, newly monied wife of Lord Placer. To be a bit more precise, he was loved well enough by his sister, but his brother-in-law couldn't abide him. Lord Placer had little time for the antics of his wife's lowlife relative, and even less for carnivals or circuses of gypsies. His daughter Olivia, therefore, sneaked away and cajoled her Uncle Wilfred into taking her to the gypsy carnival. Keeble assented, having little use himself for Lord Placer's august stuffiness, and off they went to the carnival, which proved to be a rather pale affair, aside from the antics of Moko the Educated Ape. Actually, as far as Keeble was concerned, the ape itself was nothing much, being trained merely to sit in a great chair and puff on a cigar while seeming to pore over a copy of the Times which, more often than not, it held upside down or sideways or chewed at or tore up or gibbered over.

Olivia was fascinated by the creature and flew home begging her father for a pet ape, an idea which not only sent a thrill of horror and disgust up Lord Placer's spine, but which caused him to confound his brother-in-law and everything connected with him for having had such a damnable effect on his daughter. Olivia, her hopes dashed by her father's ape loathing, confided her grief to Uncle Wilfred who, although he knew that the gift of a real ape would generate conflicts best not thought about, could see no harm in fashioning a toy ape.

He set about in earnest to create such a thing and, in a matter of weeks, came up with one of those clockwork, key-crank jack-in-the-boxes. It was a silver cube painted with vivid circus depictions; when wound tightly, a comical ape got up as a mandarin and with whirling eyes would spring out and shout a snatch of verse. Wilfred Keeble was pretty thoroughly pleased with the thing, but he knew that it would be folly to go visiting his brother-in-law's house with such a wild and unlikely gift, in the light of Lord Placer's hatred of such things. There was a boy downstairs, a Jack Owlesby, who liked to earn a shilling here and there, and so Keeble called him up and, wrapping the box in paper and dashing off a quick note, sent Jack out into the early morning air two and six richer for having agreed to deliver the gift. Having sat up all night to finish the thing, Keeble crawled wearily into bed at, it seems, nearly the same hour that Langdon St. Ives did the same after launching his spacecraft.

Three people—two indigent gentlemen who seemed sea-captainish in a devastated sort of way, and a shrunken fellow with a yellow cloth cap who was somehow responsible for the chairs scattered about the green—were active in St. James Park that morning; at least those are the only three whose testimony was later officially transcribed. According to the Times report, these chaps, at about 7:00 AM, saw, as one of them stated, "a great fiery thing come sailing along like a bloody flying head"—an adequate enough description of St. Ives's ship which, gone amok, came plunging into the south end of the Park's duck pond.

This visitation of a silver orb from space would, in itself, have been sufficient to send an entire park full of people shouting into the city, but, to the three in the park, it seemed weak tea indeed when an alien-seeming beast sailed out on impact through the sprung hatch, a bald-headed but otherwise hairy creature with a sort of golden dunce cap, woefully small, perched atop his head. Later, one of the panhandlers, a gentleman named Hornby, babbled some rubbish about a pair of flaming stilts, but the other two agreed that the thing wore high-topped silver boots, and, to a man, they remarked of an "infernal machine" which the thing carried daintily between his outstretched hands like a delicate balloon as it fled into Westminster.

There was, of course, an immediate hue and cry, responded to by two constables and a handful of sleepy and disheveled Horse Guards who raced about skeptically between the witnesses while poor Newton, St. Ives's orang-outang, fuddled and hungry, disappeared into the city. At least three journalists appeared within half an hour's time and were soon hotfooting it away quick as you please with the tale of the alien ship, the star beast, and the peculiar and infernal machine.

Newton had begun to grow restless somewhere over Yorkshire, just as the professor had supposed he would. Now all of this is a matter of conjecture, but logic would point with a stiffish finger toward the probability that the electronic cap atop the ape's head either refused to function or functioned incorrectly, for Newton had commenced his antics within minutes of takeoff. There were reports, in fact, of an erratic glowing sphere zigging through the sky above Long Bennington that same morning, an indication that Newton, irate, was pretty thoroughly giving the controls the once-over. One can only suppose that the beast, anticipating a handful of plums, began stabbing away at the crucial buttons unaffected, as he must have been, by the cap. That it took a bit longer for him to run thoroughly amok indicates the extent of his trust in St. Ives. The professor, in his papers, reports that the control panel itself was finally dashed to bits and the chlorophyll-atmosphere box torn cleanly from the side of the cabin. Such devastation couldn't have been undertaken before the craft was approaching Greater London; probably it occurred above South Mimms, where the ship was observed by the populace to be losing altitude. This marked the beginning of the plunge into London.

Although the creature had sorted through the controls rather handily, those first plum buttons, luckily for him, activated at least partially St. Ives's gyro homing device. Had the beast been satisfied and held off on further mayhem, he would quite possibly have found himself settling back down in Harrogate at St. Ives's laboratory. As it was, the reversing power of the craft was enough finally to promote, if not a gentle landing, at least one which, taking into account the cushion of water involved, was not fatal to poor Newton.

Jack Owlesby, meanwhile, ambled along down Whitehall, grasping the box containing Keeble's ape contraption and anticipating a meeting with Keeble's niece whom he had admired more than once. He was, apparently, a good enough lad, as we'll see, and had been, coincidentally enough, mixed in with Langdon St. Ives himself some little time ago in another of St. Ives's scientific shenanigans. Anyway, because of his sense of duty and the anticipation of actually speaking to Olivia, he popped right along for the space of five minutes before realizing that he could hardly go pounding away on Lord Placer's door at such an inhuman hour of the morning. He'd best, thought he, sort of angle up around the square and down The Mall to the park to kill a bit of time. A commotion of some nature and a shouting lot of people drew him naturally along and, as would have happened to anyone in a like case, he went craning away across the road, unconscious of a wagon of considerable size which was gathering speed some few feet off his starboard side. A horn blasted, Jack leapt forward with a shout, clutching his parcel, and a brougham, unseen behind the wagon, plowed over him like an express, the driver cursing and flailing his arms.

The long and the short of it is that Jack's box, or rather Keeble's box, set immediate sail and bounced along unhurt into a park thicket ignored by onlookers who, quite rightly, rushed to poor Jack's aid.

The boy was stunned, but soon regained his senses and, although knocked about a good bit, suffered no real damages. The mishaps of a boy, however, weren't consequential enough to hold the attention of the crowd, not even of the Lord Mayor, who was in the fateful brougham. He had been rousted out of an early morning bed by the reports of dangerous aliens and inexplicable mechanical contrivances. He rather fancied the idea of a smoke and a chat and perhaps a pint of bitter later in the day with these alien chaps and so organized a "delegation," as he called it, to ride out and welcome them.

He was far more concerned with the saddening report that the thing had taken flight to the south than with the silver sphere that bobbed in the pond. The ship had been towed to shore, but as yet no one had ventured to climb inside for fear of the unknown—an unfortunate and decisive hesitation, since a thorough examination would certainly have enabled an astute observer to determine its origin.

It was to young Jack's credit that, after he had recovered from the collision, he spent only a moment or so at the edge of the pond with the other spectators before becoming thoroughly concerned over the loss of the box. The letter from Keeble to Olivia lay yet within his coat, but the box seemed to have vanished like a magician's coin. He went so far as to stroll nonchalantly across the road again, reenacting, as they say, the scene of the crime or, in this case, the accident. He pitched imaginary boxes skyward and then clumped about through bushes and across lawns, thoroughly confounded by the disappearance. Had he known the truth, he'd have given up the search and gone about his business, or what was left of it, buthe had been lying senseless when old grizzled Hornby, questioned and released by the constables, saw Jack's parcel crash down some few feet from him as he sat brooding in the bushes. In Hornby's circles one didn't look a gift horse in the fabled mouth, not for long anyway, and he had the string yanked off and the wrapper torn free in a nonce.

Now you or I would have been puzzled by the box, silvery and golden as it was and with bright pictures daubed on in paint and a mysterious crank beneath, but Hornby was positively aghast. He'd seen such a thing that morning in the hands of a creature who, he still insisted, raged along in his wizard's cap on burning stilts. He dared not fiddle with it in light of all that, and yet he couldn't just pop out of the bushes waving it about either. This was a fair catch and, no doubt, a very valuable one. Why such a box should sail out of the skies was a poser, but this was clearly a day tailor-made for such occurrences. He scuttled away under cover of the thick greenery until clear of the mobbed pond area, then took to his heels and headed down toward Westminster with the vague idea of finding a pawnbroker who had heard of the alien threat and would be willing to purchase such an unlikely item.

Jack, then, searched in vain, for the box he'd been entrusted with had been spirited away. His odd behavior, however, soon drew the attention of the constabulary who, suspicious of the very trees, asked him what he was about. He explained that he'd been given a metallic looking box, and a very wonderful box at that, and had been instructed to deliver it across town. The nature of the box, he admitted, was unknown to him for he'd glimpsed it only briefly. He suspected, though, that it was a toy of some nature.


Excerpted from The Apes of Wrath by Richard Klaw. Copyright © 2013 Richard Klaw. Excerpted by permission of Tachyon Publications.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


FOREWORD Rupert Wyatt,
THE APE-BOX AFFAIR James P. Blaylock,
EVIL ROBOT MONKEY Mary Robinette Kowal,
TARZAN'S FIRST LOVE Edgar Rice Burroughs,
HER FURRY FACE Leigh Kennedy,
RED SHADOWS Robert E. Howard,
THE MAZE OF MAÂL DWEB Clark Ashton Smith,
AFTER KING KONG FELL Philip José Farmer,
FADED ROSES Karen Joy Fowler,
Author Biographies,
About the Editor,

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Impressive. . . . This is no gimmicky set of sideshows but a powerful exploration of the blurry line between animal and human." —Publishers Weekly (January 21, 2013, STARRED REVIEW)

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