Book Title: Chronicle Worlds: B-Movie – Future Chronicles, Book 16
Authors: Matthew Stott, Eamon Ambrose, Jessica West, Christopher J. Valin, Stefan Bolz, Daniel Arthur Smith, Artie Cabrera, Forbes West & S. Elliot Brandis.
Series Editors and Presented By: Artie Cabrera and Samuel Peralta
Editor: Ellen Campbell
Publication Date: October 27, 2017
Available On: Amazon as an eBook
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
B-Movies. The first thing that comes to mind is cheesy movies made on a shoestring budget featuring science-fiction or horror themes. Some of the typical tropes from these kinds of movies are bad dialogue, wooden acting, crazy events and plot holes you could drive a tractor-trailer through.
There are fake scares, real scares, horrific scares and poop your pants scares. Now, imagine an anthology filled with stories like that, but the writing is terrific, the dialogue is well done, the plot holes are non-existent, and the special effects budget is unlimited. What you get is this anthology, bringing top-notch authors together and letting them cut loose, their imaginations running wild!
There are nine short stories featuring crazy, zany and terrifying events. Some of them are firmly tongue-in-cheek, some of them knowingly wink at the audience in homage to B-Movies, some of them will make you laugh out loud and some of them are just plain strange and off-kilter.
From werewolves to killer clowns, to mutant clowns and mummies that know kung-fu, from alien invaders and giant robots to Australian folklore and much more. There are a couple of stories when you are screaming at the characters in the book, saying things like: “don’t go down into the spooky basement” and “don’t do something stupid when a killer is on the loose”, just like you would when watching a B-Movie on a screen.
I enjoyed every single one of these tales and found something gratifying and highly entertaining in each one. These are the stories that epitomized the B-Movie theme the most for me:
Christopher J. Valin’s “Gorillabot vs Mermaids from Neptune” – The title says it all and Vice-President Richard Nixon must come up with a way to prevent an alien invasion in 1955. Luckily, there’s an unconventional solution for this.
This one features the author’s signature humor combined with thrills and wonders at the wackiness of it all as hell breaks loose. I laughed heartily and often when reading this one. From the historical asides to the literal machinations of strange scientists, this one is full of storytelling surprises and whimsical dialogue.
Daniel Arthur Smith’s “Attack of the Kung-Fu Mummies” – Stosh runs a café, takes care of his crazy uncle Leo and has a friend who owns a strange artifact. The problem is, mummies need it to become immortal! The zaniness factor goes off the charts as Stosh and his friends embark on a madcap escapade to prevent that.
Plenty of twists and turns ensue, as this one feels like Indiana Jones crossed with The Mummy on an adventure that was so FUN that it ended far too soon but still told a complete and fulfilling tale. I also appreciated the use of ancient gods and their history in this one, giving more depth to the story.
Artie Cabrera’s “The Legends of Boone Ridge” – Nathan and Kurt are brothers visiting their home in an offbeat community located in upstate New York. Each one hides a secret, going back generations. But when malevolent forces come after them, they must use their abilities to protect themselves and those they care about!
First, this is a compelling tale of two dysfunctional brothers who care about each other, trying to come to grips with their heritage. Second, the community of Boone Ridge is completely fleshed out with a deep history filled with strange beings. The backstory alone of the world built here could fill many novels.
Third, the finale of this tale is epic and wonderous, wrapping up all the different storylines put in motion. I feel this is the author’s best work to date, featuring fully rounded characters, heartwarming moments, shocking powers, deep emotion, and bold inventiveness, all compressed into this one impressive story. More, please!
The other stories are notable as well. “Nightmare” by Stefan Bolz lives up to its story title and packed the most scares into its short tale that chilled me to my bones. “Bubbles” by Eamon Ambrose wins the award for making a clown protagonist into a hero to root for.
Also, major bonus points for the lazy pug who turns out to be so much more than he appears when trying to help out. Jessica West brings out the sadness of someone just trying to fit in along with really creepy darkness to her tale of murder in the woods.
Matthew Stott’s “Plagued” was pure evil distilled into his visceral story that made me shiver. “Jeffboy at the Drive-In” by Forbes West has the most unconventional ending I’ve seen in a long while.
And S. Elliot Brandis’ brings out the craziest tale of all in “Drop Bears” for the major “what the hell is going on here” moment, how it uses its events to wrap it all up in a satisfying manner and tells the tale of an adorable romance all at the same time.
Emotionally, I felt for each protagonist, hoping they would survive their madcap adventures and achieve their goals. Each one also provoked a strong, poignant response when the unpredictable happened. And when I say unpredictable, I mean UNPREDICTABLE. The off-the-wall events in each of these stories made me chortle at their humor, sad (or happy) at their fates, awe-struck with their escapades and cry out in disbelief when the unbelievable happened.
This anthology completely captured the essence of B-Movies and made awesome stories out of them that I completely enjoyed. Each one was unique, weird and engrossing, drawing me into the wacky worlds that they created, made them captivating and told a unique story you won’t find anywhere else.
The distinctiveness of each tale was exceptional and was filled with stories that I couldn’t stop reading. I devoured this anthology very quickly as I found each story to be more refreshing and fun than the last. From scares to laughs and everything in-between, this is a blockbuster collection deserving of two thumbs up from critics everywhere.
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Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about anthologies and stories published by Samuel Peralta include “The Doomsday Chronicles“, “Memory’s Children,” “Chronicle Worlds: No Way Home,” “Chronicle Worlds: Crime & Punishment“, “The Gamer Chronicles” and “Chronicle Worlds: Legacy Fleet”
Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about anthologies and stories published by Artie Cabrera include “Gravity City: Flesh and Blood“, “The Legends of Boone Ridge” and “Once Upon a Time in Gravity City“.