Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: THE TOBACCO-STAINED SKY (anthology)

The Tobacco-Stained SkyReading THE TOBACCO-STAINED MOUNTAIN GOAT by Andrez Bergen is a prerequisite prior to re-entering the post apocalyptic world where the city of Melbourne, Australia is the last inhabitable place on earth. The stories that comprise THE TOBACCO-STAINED SKY expand upon this unique and colourful environment while breathing new life into some of the shady and devilishly dangerous inhabitants.


Within the stories of THE TOBACCO-STAINED SKY therein lies Deviants, Seekers, The Dome, milk, Floyd Maquina, and other such familiars depicted against an inner city backdrop that really encompasses all the nooks and crannies of a city that's become it's own world.

The narrative is kept fresh by diversifying the stories and adding a splash of comic book inspired storytelling. Everything about this collection oozes the familiar while bringing something new and exciting to what already is considered a deep and satisfying fictional landscape.

The list of contributors is pretty impressive. Andrez Bergen chimes in with a few stories, Julie Morrigan's 'Sancity' revisits the time when Wolram E. Deaps died , Jay Slayton-Joslin delves into the rare and highly valuable milk commodity in 'The Great Milko of the People', Josh Stalling's 'Dream Juice' is one of the best in which the horror of a nurses station and the hope of freedom is both realized and washed away, as is 'The Holy Church of the Scalpel' by Liam Jose - a story that plays on physical enhancement and misguided beauty in a world that has moved on. 'Plan E' by Gordon Highland pits unlicensed health professional trying to do good in a place where kindness is considered a weakness, while Chad Eagleton's 'Blood on the Milky Way' picks up where THE TOBACCO-STAINED MOUNTAIN GOAT left off, as the first prose story, it really set the tone for the rest of the anthology.

I could go on and on about the remaining stories as pretty much all are of high quality and do a great job of recreating the unique world Andrez Bergen originally created. But best to go out and read it yourself.

I read this on my kindle but I wish I had done so on a physical copy. The artwork complimented the stories to perfection and there is loads of re-read value - especially if Andrez Bergen revisits this setting with a follow-up to THE TOBACCO-STAINED MOUNTAIN GOAT.

THE TOBACCO-STAINED SKY is a must read for fans of THE TOBACCO-STAINED MOUNTAIN GOAT. While I think new readers could get the gist of what the stories are trying to achieve, it's best to know where it all started.

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