Thirteen Wicked Tales
by Eugen Bacon & E Don Harpe
Two authors, thirteen stories, a collection of literary speculative fiction. Wicked tales geared for strangeness.
Keywords - click on word to search for more titles
surreal science fiction fantasy speculative fiction lapis lazuli
citron's glow platelets to history zipping with the wind
The artist sometimes known as Eugen Bacon is a non-android, full-blooded creature with two masters degrees and a doctorate in computing and writing respectively. The said qualifications do not endear this artist to editors any more than other artists. With much grovelling, repeat submissions, threats and sometimes fierceness, the artist has managed to secure publications in literary, scholarly and speculative fiction journals or magazines worldwide.
Award winning author, poet, and songwriter E. Don Harpe has had a varied career. From military service in the 60's to years spent as an industrial engineer for a major appliance firm, and more years in the Nashville music industry. Harpe has been a published and recorded songwriter for nearly 40 years, and continues to write new material almost every day. Harpe writes in many genres, and with 10 books and nearly 40 short stories now available, he is constantly working on his next idea.
Harpe currently lives in the mountains of North Georgia with his wife of over 52 years, Helen, and their three dogs and two cats. He is working on his 12th novel, and spends his spare time with his children, grand children and great grand children.
Thirteen Wicked Tales
By Eugen Bacon & E. Don Harpe
Quirky—short review by Dominique Hecq (Writer, poet, scholar)
In a famous piece titled ‘Why are we huddling about the campfire?’ Ursula Le Guin retells the narrative of the Plains Indian ghost story to illustrate that narratives are a universal phenomenon, which can sometimes cross-cultural boundaries. The reasons why this story was first invented may have been quite different, but apart from its very obvious entertainment value, the story may have functioned in its cultural context to inform about the group’s taboo against wife-stealing, and to warn of the consequences of infringing it.
Thirteen Wicked Tales springs from the same general impulse of wanting to cross cultural boundaries. Eugen Bacon and E Don Harpe are ways apart culturally and stylistically, and yet they deliver a collection where dialogue-driven narrative meets the short-cut of a prose poem, where mystery meets fairy-tale, where sheer jouissance in the writing meets morality and gender politics. To illustrate this wildly, let me quote from ‘A Mage’s Prophecy’, which partly owes its aesthetics to Tolkien:
This is the story of how the words of a soothsayer unbeknownst to the world came to be. How the daunting demigod and slayer of demons Sigerith of Sandark lost a war and ten thousand, five hundred and nine warriors in a single sunrise, felled by a woman and her Warriors of Right…
Thirteen Wicked Tales comprises thirteen stories that explore genre and gender and the workings of ideology in ourselves, our culture, subgroups within culture and all those that lie at the heart of how narratives work and how we read them. For all their quirkiness, they make us reflect on how each of us carries a series of values and beliefs about the world we inhabit. This is a serious theme, but it is approached with wit, verve, and highly inventive vocabulary.
My only reservation about the use of language in this collection, is the way the hacker in ‘Ambergeddon’ hacks at words instead of scanning them. I suppose it is the philologist in me. I suppose it is the point of the story, too.
(Dominique Hecq (Writer, poet, scholar))
Rating: 5 / 5
‘Best git, boy,’ Da said. ‘I seen me pops keel ‘n die on dis ‘ere land; I seen it boy. Curst flamin’ land if yeu ax me.’
There’s no safety in the short stories of Thirteen Wicked Tales. The collection is a mix of science fiction that for the most part explores morality and our relationship with technology. Hackers, old tyrants, space travel, demon bikies, and witches all make an appearance…. A number of the tales are beautifully eloquent in their description, giving neither too little nor too much upon the page. These stories flow with clear intentions, often with a chill down the spine as the plot is fully, masterfully, revealed... Every story has a fantastic cast, easily identifiable by their actions and voices. Oh, the voices… If you are a fan of Robert Louis Stevenson’s ability to narrate in full Scottish accent and you’re a fan of the Deep South dialogue, there are some stories especially for you. They were enjoyable, an unapologetic expression from the authors that created time and place better than the worded imagery. The narrator’s voice gave rhythm and pace, a swagger in the character’s step. Some of the tales are brilliant, hitting hard with unforgettable scenes and characters like Doc the green turtle… Overall, an enjoyable read...
(Chris Foster, Aurealis )
Rating: 4 / 5
From alien planets to medieval battles, athletes to clones, Eugen Bacon and E. Don Harpe’s collection of literary speculative fiction, Thirteen Wicked Tales, tackles a wide variety of places, people and themes in thirteen bite sized pieces: easy for any book lover to devour on the go... Indeed, originality is a big stand out for this collection. Aside from following typical generic conventions, Eugen Bacon and E. Don Harpe collaborate brilliantly to create thirteen speculative pieces that each take a new turn down another original and exciting train of thought. Twists and turns that I never saw coming unfolded in a matter of sentences, sometimes leaving me gasping at the page. As a reader very much in love with the idea of having some semblance of a conclusion, I also thoroughly enjoyed the way each piece seemed to circle back around to the beginning to tie everything up in a big, satisfying bow... Overall, there is something in this collection for anyone who has interests in anything fantastical, extra-terrestrial, otherworldly, or, futuristic. Thirteen Wicked Tales contains thirteen different universes, all ripe and ready for exploring. - By Kathryn Lamont
(Other Terrain Journal)
Rating: 5 / 5