Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: The New Death and Others

Death Stalks you at Every Turn! Deeeeeeeath!
Grandpa, that's the cat.

Nigh on a month ago, I received a request from author, James Hutchings to review his e-book, The New Death and others. It took a bit longer than I expected, what with the invasions of 9 year-olds, Space Shuttle Trainers and other interrupting-type things that have come my way this past month, but I finally got my chance to sit down and read the New Death during a camping trip a couple weeks ago... for camping is the perfect time to really read.

The book is a collection of short stories and poetry, with a fantastical slant. Hutchings is at his best when writing with his tongue firmly in his cheek. At such times, I often found myself chortling out loud as I read. His poem, "If My Life Was Filmed" serves as an example of one of these moments.

If My Life Was Filmed
If my life was filmed, it would
go straight to DVD
and someone who was famous once
would have the role of me
and if five stars meant "excellent"
you'd give it two or three
and most of those who rented it
would watch ironically.
Years later they would track me down
and do an interview.
They'd say "I heard you died," and I'd
say "Yeah, I heard that too."
"Is any of it fictional?"
"Perhaps a scene or two.
There weren't as many ninjas, but
the rest is mostly true."
Many of the pieces in New Death utilize a fable-esque voice, assigning personae to concepts such as Death, Commerce and Fame. Though these pieces on occasion flailed their messages nakedly about, I generally enjoyed them. I have always been a fan of myth and folklore and have on occasion penned my own such stories. Hutchings also proves to be incredibly fond of puns, which I count as a good thing. His Sherlock Holmes-style mystery, "The Adventure of the Murdered Philanthropist" was pun-riddled enough to set my eyes doing laps in my head... again, I count this as a good, if groanful thing.

Anyway, The New Death is available for download from Smashwords. If you are looking for a light, amusing read, or perhaps need inspiration for cultural flavor in a tabletop RPG, picking up this book may very well do you right.


  1. Just started reading this myself. I'm liking it so far, and have been hit up for a review myself. Seems like most people he's approached have had good things to say, which bodes well for my future enjoyment of the book.

  2. Thanks for the review. I've linked to it from the 'New Death' page of my blog.



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