August 8th, 2006


Night of the Dead King

Review of 'Night of the Dead King' in Potato Monkey #4:

Ben Peek gives us “The Night of the Dead King”. In it, he experiments by providing the background through a series of footnotes. I’m not a big lover of footnotes and I found these distracting and really slowed down my reading pace. I didn’t find this style worked well for me and would recommend skipping the footnotes and reading them at the end of the story, if you are a completist. Allandros, a half human, and Balor, a dwarf, witness a ritual in the city of D’Naatsi where once a year everyone stops and waits for the birth of a child, in the hopes that this child will be their King. Of course, all is not as it seems. It never is. Peek explores religion and the ongoing repetition of long-established rituals. He questions the worth and meaning of blindly following rituals dictated by others.

How can people not like footnotes?

Anyhow, the Allandros and Balor stories were a sword and sorcery sequence of short fiction that I was writing a few years back. They were a mix of real faerie mythology, spaghetti westerns, and the Leiber Mouser and Fafhrd sword and sorcery for influence, but no one seemed real interested in them. I didn't get it, myself: what's not to like about a black, chicken footed dwarf and his slightly psychotic sword and gun wielding friend? I sold the four I wrote, but it's been a while since I thought about the two characters, and I have pretty much just drifted into different things now. Still, I reckon one day I'll return to them--if only to scratch the itch in the back of my head.
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