Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: The New Death and Others

The New Death and Others is a collection of short stories and poems written by James Hutchings of the Teleleli blog and also from the Age of Fable.

The book opens straight to the contents, before jumping right in with the short story 'The God of the Poor', which, though very short, is one of my favourite stories in the book, reminding of the works of Lord Dunsany, and giving me that same sense of wonder that Dunsany's works give me.

After this story, the book goes on with a fairly good pace, containing some very atmospheric stories, such as 'Todd', to ones filled with bad puns and jokes, though, as I am a real fan of puns, I find them quite hilarious. The most humorous story is, in my opinion 'Everlasting Fire', which I actually did laugh out loud when I read it, which is incredibly rare for me.

Others contain very original material, such as 'The Scholar and the Moon', which contains such inspirational work as a city where the temperament of the people change with every full moon, and where the rooftops are not quite connected to the ground floors of the city.

I can definitely see myself stealing such ideas for use in my games, as well as a few others culled from the various stories and poems.

The poems are fairly good, with 'Under the Pyramids', based on the H.P. Lovecraft story of the same name, and 'Charon', based on the story by Lord Dunsany, standing out from the lot, being quite well written, as well as very atmospheric.

The titular story,' The New Death', though amusing, I would not say is the best story in the collection, although the title I find incredibly inspiring, and may think of something to throw at players based on it....

The presentation of the book is fairly good, with all the hyper-links (I think that's what they're called) working very well. The layout on the pdf is good, with the stories and poems seperated from each other by a nice little divider. There are a few minor problems with the layout, such as the title of a story being right at the bottom of the page, and a few stanzas of the poems being broken up by the pages. These, however, are fairly minor problems, and do not really detract from the work as a whole.

I would definitely recommend buying this book if you either:
1. are looking for a some decent fantasy stories and poems, both humorous and otherwise, or are
2. looking for some inspirational work for gaming materials, or
3. if you are a fan of fantasy and horror works, especially the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

For its small price of $1 USD, this book is a steal, and I highly recommend it.