BOOK OF THE BLOODLESS VOLUME 1 ALTERNATIVE AFTERLIVES By Christopher Fielden
Victoria Press p/b £8.99
I didn’t know quite what to expect with this book. I had never even heard of Christopher Fielden before. The cover though is what compelled me to read this anthology of short, brilliant and quirky stories. It shows the devil sitting next to an old woman who is knitting whilst a cat watches over her shoulder. Now if that doesn’t make you want to pick up this book, quite frankly what would?
Contained within its pages are fifteen stories that you will never have imagined.
For instance, imagine what would happen when you get to the gates of hell and Death is there to greet you. What do you think Death would think if you were dressed in cosplay? Or how about if you had come back from war with such horrific injuries that you would even make a deal with a demon called Colin to get better. All Colin says you have to do is drink a bottle of Devil’s Crush. Then there’s the tale of Scarlett Blaine. A female bounty hunter who walks into a deserted bar in El Paso looking for a serial killer. What about Detective Inspector Eric Carter. Whilst following up a lead about some con men in the local area, he makes a house call to Mrs Eckless (our cover girl) and her knitting circle. Except it’s not all about the knitting. But Detective Carter’s problems are nothing compared to Brian. This poor fellow is talking to his cat, not unusual for pet owners. But this cat is talking back and Brian can hear him. If that’s not bad enough Brian can also summon a talking bull just by reciting a nursery rhyme. Which sounds cool but the bull tells him to hurt people.
Have I whetted your appetite yet? I could go on. I haven’t even gotten around to telling you about Rage a female troll who is being used to fight in the gladiatorial arena. Or Charles Earnest Dorne a political leader who’s made some very bad political decisions. So many in fact that he wants to go back in time and change history. I also haven’t told you about my favourite story in the whole book concerning the metal band Dave Against The Machine. Whilst performing ‘Shot In The Head’ on stage at Wembley someone takes the song quite literally, needless to say, the end is not what you think.
None of these stories is what you would expect and therein lies the appeal, well for me anyway. The dark witty humour within the 174 pages is fantastic. Each story has it’s own appeal and for that reason alone I would recommend this book, Fielden is very talented. Throughout the book, there are illustrations for each story that also will amuse you, as will the cover. These were done by David Whitlam and they add to the appeal of the book. Oh, guess what? I am reliably informed that there’s a volume 2, well that’s what it says in the bio on the last page anyway.