No Main Stories Until You Finish Your Short Tales
Review of Short Tales from Earths Final Chapter: Book 2
Review by Tom Pahlow
Stories within stories, dragon riders but underwater, Pirate towns full of extortion and Hunger Games with less fatality. All this and more await you if you read Short Tales from Earths Final Chapter: Book 2.
One of my favourite things about EFC’s Short Tales collections is that they often tell the stories of side characters in the main arc. It's exactly this, in my opinion, that makes EFC seem so alive. It makes me consider every character, no matter how small as a whole person with their own life. It’s what makes EFC a fully fleshed out world.
But enough raving and onto the actual stories. First up is The Sea Dragon by Christina “DZA” Marie and illustrated by Patricio Rodriguez. In the now submerged nation of Japan, a sea dragon has been found and captured. Scientist Aguri Sango, who regular readers might remember from Book 9, is tasked with researching and domesticating it.
Politicking, bureaucracy and the ever-unceasing process of militarizing everything all stand in the way of Aguri as she tries to understand the depths of Fatal, her captive specimen. If you like seeing bureaucrats stumped by the truth, the bonds of nature and the support of colleagues then this one is for you.
Like the town in Pirates of the Caribbean, the pirates of EFC have their own neutral city, Black Sails Sales. Who would stoop to thinking that a pirate town could provide anything but a sudden need for a peg leg or a quick trip to the hospital? Andrew Hinnis and Julian Fernandes give us the answer in their short story, illustrated by Ivan Dominguez, named after said pirate city.
Jarith and his companions from the ARK Community of Bunker 423 are on a mission to bring back weapons and fighters or else watch their home be destroyed by the ruthless Planetary Council. Their mission gets them caught up in the plights of the town. Turns out pirates aren’t all conniving, well…they are…but not always the bad kind.
What can I say about Family ties by Bradley Heywood and illustrated by John Hawkins? Half storytellers delight, half acid trip and half comment on the nature of truth. If you think that is the appropriate number of halves, then this story is for you.
Set in Tabbot’s Tack-Shop, follow along as stories are told, threats issued, and a talking mushroom becomes kind of normal. Heywood lets the creativity fly in this story that had me hooked from start to end. Just try not to let Duster ask you any questions.
Part Hunger Games, part coming of age and part class struggle, The Kingdom by Christian Terry and illustrated by Ekaterina Soyuznova follows Tif as she participates in the Grease Games. To determine who is to join the elite mutants and help to rule the many tribes of Bunker 79, the strongest is chosen through a series of competitive challenges.
Full of youthful idealism and pitting teens against each other in possibly fatal competitions,
The Kingdom is jam-packed with action throughout. All for the thrill of being in mutation grease.
Short Tales from Earths Final Chapter is filled with stories that are sure to engage you no matter what your preferences. Cold-blooded murder, Teenager pseudo deathmatches, pirates and the bond between humans and animals.