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The Skewed Tales

by H. C. Artmann

Atlas Press 2000

Austrian novelist H. C. Artmann is the author of many books. In The Skewed Tales, he takes classic horror and fantasy characters and situations and mixes them into a potent satirical brew. His "Frankenstein in Sussex," for example, has the classic monster of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly meet Ernest Dodgson's Alice in an underground mansion a hundred stories deep in the ground. Frankenstein, you see, is still looking for a bride....

In "Dracula, Dracula" Artmann runs Bram Stoker's characters--and assorted 19th century English fictional types--through the blender. And in "Tok Ph'rong Suleng," a werewolf (who may be a yeti) is being hunted in the Himalayas.

While these stories provide little in the way of chills, despite their sometimes chilly characters, they do present a properly skewed take on familiar archetypes of English horror and fantasy literature. There are odd, sometimes disconcerting, chuckles along the way for those readers adventurous enough to tag along on these episodic narratives.

I'd like to see Artmann try his hand at skewing the old "lost race" genre. After all, one need not travel half way round the world to find creatures of the most exotic breeding anymore. Just glance out the window. Those hunched figures in the distance, swinging their arms, coming closer....