The New Death and others

Rated 3.84/5 based on 32 reviews
A collection of short stories and poems by James Hutchings. More

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About James Hutchings

James Hutchings lives in Melbourne, Australia. His work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Enchanted Conversation and fiction365 among other markets.

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Kelli Flores on June 21, 2012 :
I have to admit this book got me from the cover: while I am not sure if the couple is Jose Guadalupe Posada’s work, they are certainly reminiscent of it. As I read, I realized the cover was just perfect, with a combination of satire and irony that makes you laugh, think, and just sit back and enjoy. This book also makes me wonder why short stories are such an unappreciated genre.

James Hutchings is definitely a wordsmith, in every sense of the word. The combination of poems and short stories in this book are like little jewels, and they are arranged nicely, switching from one genre to the other with no room for boredom. Most of the stories are quirky, some are funny, others moral, but they will all make you think. The quality did sometimes jump around a little, but overall I felt it ranged from average to excellent. Many of the endings were unexpected – and it is not easy to surprise me. I also really liked being able to read just a few pages, reach a conclusion, and go to sleep…just to continue reading the next day.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: pamela chismar on May 13, 2012 :
I appreciated the attempt at witticism and teaching of life lessons that many of the stories in this book had. Although some stories fell flat (such as Uncharted Isle, Compatibility, & The New God), many others were enjoyable (such as The Prince of Howling Forest & Under The Pyramids)
I thought most of the poems were great. I (being a cat lover myself) loved My Cat Is Not Like Other Cats. I may frame it and put on wall in room were my cat sleeps and eats.
As with Aesop, the stories have a moral to them that I think hit home and should really be heard and followed by todays society.
I enjoyed the play with words in some cases. The gangsta tailors creased coats/ vest coats war for example. Singles Bar will probably cause me to never eat at McD's again.
The new twists on Rapunzel and Rumplestilskin were cute.
All in all, while not the best book ever written, it was entertaining. I recommend The New Death and Others if your looking for a fun read.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Sloane Ewing on May 04, 2012 :
I just could not stick to it. Well written and clever but didn't grab or hold my attention, overall the technique is there but its not something to "get lost" in.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Smin on April 14, 2012 :
Some parts of this I found quite funny and laughed aloud. Sly digs and satire. But others didn't work so well for me - the entirely myth stories that had no sly digs were bland. It was unfortunate that the first three stories were of this sort - I probably would have stopped reading if it wasn't for reviewing it. But it did make me laugh and was good for dipping in and out of.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Ryan Carstairs on March 15, 2012 :
Really, Really entertaining. I think my favorite story is “The End”, but I honestly cannot think of any I didn’t enjoy. He inserts his God Commerce a bit much IMOP, but I think his mythic city of Telelee could stand beside the other great cities inspired by Lovecraftian Mythos.

I alos received a copy for free for review. I will happily pay for the sequel.
(review of free book)

Review by: Richaundra Patry on March 09, 2012 :
I was given an advance copy of this book, but I must say, I would have been more than willing to pay for it. I'll give you the bottom line first, in case you're the type to only read the first couple sentences of a review:

Some of the stories are better than others. A few are a bit derivative and many are very topical (*almost* to the point of being preachy), but for the most part, they were a lot of fun. Mr. Hutchings is quite fond of puns and inside-type jokes, which can be old if you don't like play on words (which I do) or are not familiar with what he is referencing (which, luckily, I was). He spins many idioms on their heads and I think what I enjoyed most was his strong use of voice and language. I was surprised by the number of poems in the work as I do not see many people who do both prose and poetry these days. I particularly enjoyed the poems based on works by HP Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert Howard (so if nothing else, at least I know that Mr. Hutchings and I would have similar tastes). I think the author provided a good mix of humor and tragedy (frequently in the same story), and all together, this is a collection of both heavy thoughts and light ditties. My absolute favorite story was 'The Adventure of the Murdered Philanthropist,' which was not only puntastic but the kind of story I'd love to see made into a little animated short. Some of the ideas and topics are repeated, such as love (or the frustrated search thererof), fame, the poor, the misuse of power, and theology, but while these are clearly things the author considers frequently, it never reached the 'beat the dead horse' level. I can't say this collection is for everyone, but as independent titles go, I must say this has been one of my favorites.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: silvana velickovska on March 06, 2012 :
“New Death and the others” is collection of 44 short stories and 19 poems. The stories are fictional with different topics which vitiated from modern to mythical and folkloric.
I think that all stories contain hidden message or they symbolize something. All that stories have unhidden sarcasm.
Some of the stories are funny and make me laugh like ”A Date with Destiny” it is about one man who has date with Destiny through meetallelgoricfigures.com (interesting name for site and also symbolic),but Ambition was to smart and used the pictures from Destiny and presented herself like Destiny.
Some of the stories made me think deeply and I’d agree with the point of the author, like “The God of the Poor” it’s about how Death became responsible and ruler to Fame and Fortune.
From the poems I like “The Moon Sailed Sadly Through the Sky”.
(review of free book)

Review by: Darcy Richardson on March 05, 2012 :
I have to admit, I was skeptical of my decision to keep reading this book at first, thinking that somehow, someway, the stories would relate back to each other at the end. Although the genre of mystical/fantasy isn't my favorite, I did enjoy several of the stories as stand-alone pieces. I would say to give this book a chance; several of the selections are well-written and even comical at times. My favorites were the long-form poetry, especially those with a contemporary connection.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: C.C. on Feb. 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.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Sam Burns on Feb. 28, 2012 :
Some of the most quirky short stories and poems you will ever read. Just to name a few; How The Isle of Cats Got It's Name, The Prince of the Howling Forest, The Bird and The Two Trees. Do yourself a favor and read this book. You will love it, I did. I won this book from LibraryThing
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Rita K on Feb. 27, 2012 :
The stories and poems were combinations of modern themes, ideas and/or phenomenons (things like Facebook or bad music that's inexplicably popular), and an older style of story-telling - something akin to folklore or myths. It was a cute and quick read but not the best thing out there because sometimes the wording just didn't work with the setting. It was something different for me to read though, I don't think I've come across this kind of book before.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: dana nelms on Feb. 26, 2012 :
i loved the mixture of poems and short stories. i'm not realy a poem buff but i liked the stories. a must read and good writing.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Lorraine Prickett on Feb. 26, 2012 :
I found the New Death and others a little difficult to follow initially. It proved to be an interesting mix of short stories and poems. I especially enjoyed the poetry. I would highly recommend this book to any one looking for something a little different.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kaitie Dever on Feb. 21, 2012 :
Honestly, I hated this book when I first started it. Granted, when I started it I couldn't remember what it was about and just went in blindly, so I wasn't really prepared. The stories and poems are all often kind of odd, so I had no idea what I was reading for the first few stories. Once I got in to the swing of things though, I enjoyed a lot of it. There were parts I loved, parts that were ok, and parts I hated, but none of the stories or poems are long enough that too really slow you down or prevent you from enjoying the book as a whole.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Dorothyanne Brown on Feb. 16, 2012 :
I read this book on the airplane and nearly got myself put in a quiet area after giggling to myself so endlessly. Hutchings has a way with a surprise. I'd be reading one of his startlingly grim stories or poems and he's come out with the punch line and it was all I could do to stop braying out loud. I loved it. It's a quick read, but it's a keeper. I want to go back to it again and again and follow this author. I love his sense of humour - twisted, dark, and oh so right on. Highly recommended!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Marcia Carrington on Feb. 10, 2012 :
James Hutchings’ book THE NEW DEATH AND OTHERS is an anthology of various poems and short stories covering a wide variety of topics, too numerous to name. This is an irreverent, creative work which satirizes some of society’s ‘sacred cows’ through witty observations. The content is both contemporary in tone, and also, is based upon ancient written texts and mythology, but, the author turns all of these on their head for his own purposes.

The author combines humor, black humor, irony, flash fiction, and poetry, just for starters, into the book. It is obvious that the author has put a great amount of work into this anthology, and it is a literate piece which tries to include a little bit of everything within its unpredictable framework. One thing is certain - you never quite know which topic the author will next be tackling, and this lends the book an extra aura of zaniness which keeps the reader guessing who, or what institution, will next be made fun of.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Lisa on Feb. 07, 2012 :
I wasn't certain what to expect of this collection but I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it! I don't care to read poetry but the poems in this collection were filled with such humor as well as horror that I didn't mind taking time to read them. The stories were very pleasing and I can't praise the author's wit and use of puns enough. I especially enjoyed the references to McDonald's and Lovecraft and a ton of other humorous things that I could mention. It takes a very creative person to think like this author.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Georgina Anne Taylor on Feb. 05, 2012 :
This collection of short stories and poems is right up my darkened alley. Short, dark and witty.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: summerhawk on Feb. 05, 2012 :
Delightful! Magical and mesmerizing, this is a collection of short pieces in various styles that will be familiar to all: short stories, fireside tales, poems, ditties, commentary. The range of emotion presented and evoked is very satisfying. I laughed out loud, I giggled quietly, I shed tears, I was swept away to a time long ago and a place far away. Nothing boring here - all will move you emotionally in some way. My favorite pieces were the long tales that made me feel as if I were sitting at a desert campfire under the stars, listening to the archetypal Old Storyteller speaking of myths and legends, as well as the shorter pieces that were heartbreakingly poignant and/or bittersweet. This collection should have a wide range of appeal, from lovers of fairy tales to pop culture critics to goths and vamps and steampunks. There is also a curious revelation for the reader to uncover - this collection is not so much about Death as it is about _________. What is the connection? Read it and find out.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Marian Allen on Jan. 28, 2012 :
A wonderful book! Whether a poem based on a Howard story, an Arabian Nights tale, a fable or a surreal comedy, each piece is intriguing, engaging and entertaining.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Sara Thompson on Jan. 26, 2012 :
A great collection of short stories and poems. I found them all very interesting.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Grizzly21 on Jan. 24, 2012 : (no rating)
I so enjoyed this book. It is full of short stories and poems. Full of irony, love, loss, horror and humor. Such a cool collection. Thank you for sharing. I would definitely recommend.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: LS W. on Jan. 23, 2012 :
I just finished reading this on the weekend. I have a bunch of books on the go. I really enjoyed the short stories in this book, but not so much the poems. Personally, I think the 2 would be better as separate books. There were a lot of stories in this book. Lots of different topics. Some were just strange but good, some were rather humorous. I really enjoyed the humorous ones. :)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Tim Knier on Jan. 23, 2012 :
This compendium reads more like a writer’s sketchbook or workbook than a publishable portfolio. There is no central focus or thematic organization to this collection. The prose pieces are admirable by themselves, and they would create a charming—or chilling—world if assembled with more reason. The major flaw lies in the alternating poems that distract from any enjoyable flow.

Presented in some peculiar typesetting, the prose pieces are parables wherein characters such as Fame, Fortune, Destiny, Famine, or Death discourse with considerable humor and struggle with moribund morals. Hutchings’ invented persons and places, such as the Mayajat, Telelee, or the Owls of Yib, smack of Douglas Adams’ wit and result in Rod Serling’s thaumaturgy.

Humor within these pieces runs a gamut from risible malaprops to slangy puns to outright groaners. Simple jokes can lie in converting names (H.P.) Lovecraft to Hatecraft, or punishing Death with a life sentence, or detailing altruistic Sir Benjamin Envolent on the subject of benevolence. Footnotes are mere devices to insert additional or extended punnery. Humor can be tenuous and most comedy applied here reeks of locker-room chortles rather than consistent and polished routine.

The verse constructions interrupting the prose waft more as doggerel than Dionysian craft. They seem student attempts and imitation than studied craft. The meters are inconsistent although considerable attention had been given to end-rhyme patterns. Still, the poetry is more loony than lyrical.

Nevertheless and if the above-articulated points are ignored, Hutchings’ offerings could rise beyond being a mere pastiche of prosody. For the next two months, read one item while strumming a lute and pretend you are Scheherazade.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Heather on Jan. 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.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: trish earl on Jan. 20, 2012 :
I so enjoyed this book. It is short stories and poems that contain irony, love, loss, horror and humor. Such a cool collection. I would definitely recommend.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Shell Moore on Jan. 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!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Dennis Quinn on Jan. 13, 2012 :
This collection is a mixed bag of achingly poignant vignettes and snickering irony that entertains as well as it enlightens. The stories and poems read as beautifully as ancient parables, each piece artfully crafted and lyrically delivered. Hutchings shows a fondness for withholding revelation until the very last word of a tale, to powerful effect. He also indulges in the occasional punning spree, deploying wordplay with such reckless abandon that readers may dare commend him for his crimes. Archetypes and stereotypes populate the cast of characters, and absurdity and caricature abound, tempered by striking insight.

Hutchings' grim brand of humor and commentary comes highly recommended. I received a free download of this e-book from the author in exchange for a review, but would gladly have paid several times the advertised price had I known what clever fun awaited me inside.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Andrea on Jan. 13, 2012 :
This is a collection of poetry, flash fiction and short stories. There was quite a different mixture with most being either dark or fantasy. Many of them were quirky or had a twist in the end. I felt this either should have been organized differently put into 2 different books. I found it a little difficult after reading a rather lengthy poem to go into reading a short story and had to take a break to refocus. I rather enjoyed the poetry the most which is unusual for me as I'm not much of a poetry fan. There were some stories that I liked quite well and others I just couldn't get into all the way. There were a couple that made me chuckle too. Overall a fast read and a good collection!

I received this ebook for free through LibraryThing member giveaways in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Maxine on Dec. 08, 2011 :
If you like your short stories cynical and twisted, or your fairy tales fractured, then this is a perfect coffee table book full of cynical and twisted tales, interspersed with some very good dark poetry.

Mr Hutchings left a message on my blog asking if I would read and review his book. I had put the call out to ‘independent authors’ in an earlier post for my 2012 Reading List, but I think this was a random request and I’m so pleased to have been asked as this little book really tickled my sense of humour and touched those dark chords that draw me to unsettling and unusual fiction.

I have never read a book quite like this, it has no particular order, being a total mix of work which makes it perfect for picking up and selecting a page at random. I didn’t like some of the stories, but I did appreciate most of them, and the poetry I thought was wonderful.

An obvious cat lover, there are several references to cats throughout, such as the disturbing How the Isle of Cats Got Its Name and the gorgeous little poem My Cat is Not Like Other Cats, which all of us cat lovers can definitely identify with! In The Death of the Artist it is revealed that all writers and artists have cats, a fact which takes on a sinister significance; and now I fully understand that when my Tenshi is staring intently at nothing she is actually enhancing her mental powers!!

Of all the short stories I really liked the atmospheric The Scholar and the Moon which has less of the cynicism that prevails in most of the other work, and the nightmarish The Dragon Festival. The poetry, as I have said, is very good with some of it being based on actually stories by Lovecraft, Dunsany and an author I have only just recently ‘discovered’ - Clark Ashton Smith.

Yes, some of the stories are corny or just plain silly, but others have a touch of sheer brilliance to them. If you tend to get bogged down with some heavy reading, which I do on occasion, this is a breath of fresh air. I didn’t want to put it down, and looked forward to the twisted endings and the clever play on words and ideas. Even the corny stories got a giggle as well as a groan out of me.

If you want to inject a bit of random fun into your reading, I recommend you check it out.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: The Haunted Rose on Nov. 23, 2011 :
The New Death and Others is a collection of some entertaining short stories and poems. I could tell I was reading something that took alot of thought and talent because I laughed out loud several times to the point where my librarian told me to shut up. I would like to tell you my viewers about the most ironic funny ones.
The End-
This one had me laughing becuase what are the odds of 2 vampires, a succumbus, a demon, and a regenerate coagulate rage of murdered children on a camping trip together? They all come to the conclusion of what if all the humans are wiped out? And I thought to myself It's probably true seeing as how I'm a demon too.
How the Isle of Cats Got It's Name-
This is one of my favorites mainly because I love cats and I love how the sly and smug Artemisia is. I was sad towards the end becuase of the Kitty Killer Harp (read to find out), but the smug Artemisia won at the end at the wizard Abi-simti's demise.
The Doom That Was Laid Upon Fame-
I absolutely love how he uses gods and goddesses names and characteristics to make a story in this one. My favorite part was "You know how Pestilence and War and Fame and I are the 4 riders of the Apocalypse. Well he's the fifth. His name is Lawyers."
Everlasting Fire-
This one was the funniest and most ironic. A ironic punisher is punished because of her own lust even though she scourges the lustful.
Rumpelstiltskin-
A gnome who has the power to spin bullshit into gold becomes a consultant. The moral of the story ends up being if you can't do anything else, get into politics.

Now if you still don't think this story is worth the read then here is a little teaser poem.


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."
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Ruby Katharina on Nov. 10, 2011 :
The New Death and others was a spectacular choice in dark fantasy and fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed the book end to end, the stories even more so than the poems. Well-written, thoughtful, with recurring themes and characters, The New Death and Others is a must-read for many. Dark lovers, fantasy lovers and book lovers alike.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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