Following on from this request from the author James Hutchings, I did indeed take up the offer to look at “The New Death and others”.
I’m tempted to suggest you get it just because he asked, and it’s really rather good value at just under a penny a page for the price of a can of cola, but I’ll do as he asked review its contents anyway.
I’m not going to try and cover every piece, because it’s 94 pages in pdf and the works vary in length from shorter than this post to several pages, and it’s a grab bag of fiction in various styles, new and revised fairytales, poetry, and quick jokes. So I’ll focus on the areas of gamer and otherwise geeky interest.
(I will say that some of the jokes, although by no means all, made me laugh out loud. Those with an aversion to puns should tread carefully. And one of the poems gave me a story hook in passing.)
One recurring strand including the title story is a group of personification-based gods, including Death (different Deaths in different stories). Some of these are rather serious little myths, some of them are gags, and they could have perhaps been pulled out into a smaller book of their own. I could see something like Scion being applicable, or some of these being back stories for such beings in an urban fantasy setting.
Another series visits Telelee, a fantasy city dealing with some decidedly modern problems, reminiscent of Ankh-Morpork to a certain extent. Some are pure runs of gags, others are slightly jokey fantasy stories.
There are also a number of serious fantasy pieces with a bit of a Dying Earth vibe to them, one horror story (Todd) that could plug straight into The World Of Darkness (as well as a short satire of the classic WoD and general urban fantasy problem of monster oversaturation), a pitch-black comedy (Mourning Has Broken) I can see as a short film, and some sideways looks at writers from the golden age of genre pulps.
So there’s probably something in there that will make it worth the price of that can of cola.
(It’s also available from Amazon for the Kindle, B&N, and our friends at DriveThru. The Smashwords site has the nice preview, of course.)
Meanwhile, Mr. Hutchings also made a space opera game for Mini Six, and that alone would be enough to make me support him.