Kick Ass Stories You Should Really Check Out: Part 5! Death, or Lack Thereof

Our pal Kit hits us up with some more Kick Ass Stories You Should Really Check Out!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been a little tied up by real life (and not in the fun way!) so these stories have taken a bit of a backseat. I’ll be bringing a couple back today though, with two of my absolute favourites. There’s no theme on these other than personal preference. The first is a Superhero tale, focused more on the Super and less on the Hero really. It’s effectively a Superman story but of course goes by a different name. So you’ll be learning about the Last Son of Tomorrow as opposed to the Last Son of Krypton. It focuses on what it would be like on a more individual level to be Superman (or Not-Superman as the case may be), his connection to humanity and in this version of events immortality.

Then there’s The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward. This is the (unfortunately) final part in the Mongoose series which I absolutely love. It again takes things in a different direct. My only issue with it is that right now it is the final part and looks like it’ll stay that way as things are. Still, what can this story offer than the other two haven’t? Minor spoiler warning, but its mad scientists and zombies. Because yeah, the series clearly isn’t awesome enough already.

As I said before, I’ve been a bit busy offline (mainly with coursework) but so this will be a shorter review. I’ll be back with more next time when I pick up some nonstandard zombie stories. Less about the slow-mo action shots and exploding heads and more well.. let’s just say at least two of them are VERY unique.

 

The Last Son of Tomorrow

“He coughed nervously. The questions stopped. Everyone was quiet. Everyone was waiting. “I’m John,” he said. “I’m here to help.” And for the next sixty years, that was just what he did. It was the least significant period of his life.”

As a Superman fan (apparently there aren’t that many of us these days) I really enjoyed this. The main character John is as close to Superman as copyright will allow so that’s how I choose to see him myself. It isn’t about the heroics as most superhero tales are but much more about the man. As you can tell by the quote above the heroics barely get a look in really. Hell, he considers them insignificant in the grand scheme of things, which you really get to see as he learns he’s immortal.

The story starts with our hero John living an apparently normal life, he drinks beer with his mates and is just getting by when he sees an accident in front of him. He then refuses to help on the off chance someone may see him, and lets his dad die while he rushes in to save their dog. Wait, no… that sounds like a terrible Superman story. Of course he saves the day.

As the story progresses we get to see John’s interactions with people change, until they seem to be not really people from his perspective any more.

The main focus of the second half is how he tries to deal with his immortality, that it seems he’ll live forever and what on earth he should do with himself.

This is one of those questions that rarely gets a look in with immortal heroes (with some notable exceptions – Dr Manhattan for example). And I like the idea that his heroics, where he fights his arch rival and saves the day aren’t what matters when he exists forever. It’s well worth a read.

And on a personal I’m going to use this article as a chance to say Batman vs Superman? Not too excited about that one, you’re currently looking at a C- DC, try harder next time.

Finally, this story is behind a pay wall on the Drabblecast. It’s worth paying, $10 a month and you get a load more stories. But I’ll put a link to a text version if you’d prefer too.

tomorrow

Author: Greg van Eekhout

Link: http://www.drabblecast.org/2014/07/16/drabblecast-b-sides-48-last-son-tomorrow/

Text: http://www.tor.com/stories/2009/05/last-son-of-tomorrow

 

The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward

“Looking away from the light that showed the Charles Dexter Ward was no longer entirely dead was as hard as opening a rusted zipper. But Cynthia did it, and didn’t let herself look back. She pulled Hester a little further down the corridor and said, “Now we really need to know how she killed him. And whether it’ll work a second time…””

Now we reach the last part of probably the best series I’ve picked up on these podcasts. The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward. The story follows Cynthia, a Doctor and scientist who has committed some horrific experiments in her time. She’s haunted by them as they follow her everywhere and leave her kicked out of each job she picks up. Until she gets an offer to join a vessel of other scientists, seemingly indifferent about her past.

We get to see more of this fantastic universe, we get to know the Archamers (crazy space scientists) and some of the even shadier sides to this fantasy setting. It’s a two part story as always, the first is far more suspense and build up which it executes brilliantly, you’ll be gripped and hold on to each sentence. The second half is a mad rush where after you’ll wonder how the last hour and a half flew by so quickly.

I’m going to have to hold back before I say much more or I’ll spoil well, everything. If you’ve listened to the other two then I’m sure I don’t need to say much more to get you interested than: space scientists and space zombies.

I really hope there is a fourth story to the series one day. Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette again leave hints to weird and wonderful sounding space monsters I would love to know more about.

2

Author: Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette

Link: http://www.drabblecast.org/2012/08/31/drabblecast-254-the-wreck-of-the-charles-dexter-ward-pt-1/

And http://www.drabblecast.org/2012/09/06/drabblecast-255-the-wreck-of-the-charles-dexter-ward-pt-2/

 

Kit

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