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Phoenix Tales: Stories of Death & Life Paperback – April 14, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: WheelMan Press; 2nd edition (April 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615186467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615186467
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,649,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The author has marvelous figures of speech; I don t think I ve seen it as thick and apt since the early career of Roger Zelazny. Death is a central theme; one of the stories, A Cup of Time, has death agents reminiscent of the Incarnations in my novel On A Pale Horse. That s not to suggest it is any copy of mine; the death agent here is a luscious young-looking woman. (It can be hard to tell a woman s age, especially when she s immortal.) The lead story, Escape Velocity, sets the tone: folk are kept alive interminably, and some really want to escape that fate. That is, to die. It makes perfect sense to me. So the adventure is how he manages to escape to death. Touched made me remember Olaf Stapleton s Odd John. Some are slice of life (or death) pieces, with human insights... But for an experience in description and emotion, this is good. --FeBlueberry 2005 newsletter

In this collection of seventeen stories written by Gregory Banks, death is constant death of individuals, cultures, worlds and always there is mystery. The mystery of what lies beyond death is present, of course. And the narrators of these stories usually have a positive optimistic view of death a faith either spiritual, cosmic or magical, that all things are working together. But there is mystery in these stories. Often the puzzle or conundrum surrounds the actual cause or generative force that causes the death. There is also the long wait that accompanies dying. Whether the person waiting is a dying man who is continually revived, a faithful best friend beside a respirator, a long-dead son awaiting a spiritual reunion with his now-dead father, or a dying person who doesn t quite understand that death has occurred or is in fact taking place... ...Many of the stories touch on healing of some kind, healing created by a group, healing for a group, unwanted healing. The characters are normal everyday folks most probably African-American but their races generally do not matter. They face something common to all people: death and dying when racial identification, wealth and politics take a back seat to finality. Race, wealth, and politics aren t dismissed, mind you, the viving people at the nursing home are definitely powerful figures backed by a powerful government. But for the most part, in these slice of life supernaturally-tinged stories, death is a lonesome valley that these characters usually travel alone... ...A collection of stories about death could be troubling and haunting to some. But it is the most common of human journeys. And Greg Banks has written about it with hope, faith, love and joy. I highly recommend this book. Especially for those spiritual and psychological types who ponder the importance and meaning of death and the journey of the dying. --Carole McDonnell, author of Wind Follower

From the Publisher

This collection, with stories ranging from flash fiction to novelettes, is about people dealing with life or death situations in unique and moving ways. Piers Anthony, author of the hugely popular Xanth series, recently commented in his FeBlueberry 2005 newsletter that "(Banks) has marvelous figures of speech; I don't think I've seen it as thick and apt since the early career of Roger Zelazny..." Author C.D. Moulton says of the book, "The subject matter is both varied and consistent. The style is captivating. Unlike most things I’ve reviewed, I wanted to read past the first page...Truth be told, I wanted to read past the end of the book." Author Angela Hooper says, "(This is a) brilliant collection of short stories of life and death, each one very different and individual, a separate story adding to make a truly awesome book." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

GB Banks is a sufferer of Osteogenesis Imperfecta, also known as "Brittle Bone Disease", and has been wheelchair- and home-bound and cared for by his parents for all of his 48-years. But through the power of his imagination, he has been able to escape to far-off lands and go on magical adventures, and now he hopes to use that very same ability to better his life, to give back to his parents for everything they have done for him throughout his life, and to free himself of the fear of being left alone and placed into a nursing home when they are gone. He has published several works in small publications over the last few years, but his dream is to become a full-time, financially successful author so that he can finally live a more independent life and be able to travel to see the numerous places that he has only been able to explore in his fantasies.

Among Banks' works are the novel "Three Hours to the Apocalypse" and the series WALKERS, which are stories based in the universe of The Walking Dead. His latest book is entitled "Revolution Z", an epic zombie war novel.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
Phoenix tales by Gregory Bernard Banks was a gift of time.
S. Miller
Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy and straight up human drama.
Timothy Mulder
Banks is a masterful story teller with a vivid imagination.
Jeffry S Hepple

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Julie A. Dawson VINE VOICE on July 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
Breaking the boundaries between literary and genre fiction, Gregory Bernard Banks' Phoenix Tales: Stories of Death and Life is a stunning collection of short stories that confronts the meaning of life and death with beautiful bravery. Part science fiction, part philosophy, with a little horror thrown in, this collection should be on everyone's reading list.

Each tale is a wonder in and of itself, and combined into a collection, creates a dramatic and insightful tool with which to uncover our own thoughts and fears on the subject matter.

Banks opens the collection with "Escape Velocity," a telling and frighteningly pertinent story of the price of heroic life saving efforts when the government, not the people themselves, decide if they should be allowed to die. With "Touched," he delivers a futuristic Pinocchio tale involving a genetically enhanced boy who learns what it means to be human. While the stories have a strong science fiction bent, the reader always feels they are in a familiar place.

"An Elysian Dream" tells the story of a young woman who quickly discovers that paradise without freedom is nothing more than a prettier version of hell. A man learns it's never too late to make amends with the past in "Home Going." In the hands of another writer, these stories may have come out as either empty nihilist tales or shallow reaffirmations. But Banks has a knack of taking what might otherwise be considered morose story concepts and turning them into uplifting, insightful, and poignant life lessons.

With "Living with Mrs. Klase," an abused woman and her children find Christmas with a retired farmer and his wife, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on July 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Supernatural and fantasy ultimately sums up PHOENIX TALES: Stories of Death and Life by Gregory Bernard Banks. The author has created a selection of short stories that feed into the sci-fi futuristic storytelling of life and death. Each original story is told in a style that keeps your attention page after page until the finale of each story.

Examples of some of the selections are "Escape Velocity", which is about a man in a nursing facility who doesn't seem to get it right when dying. He wants to go home to be with his granddaughter, but it is forbidden. When he finally does escape, with her help, his quest is finally fulfilled to the astonishment of his granddaughter. "Touched" is about a little boy who was genetically created and is shunned by the people of his town. What many come to realize is that this young boy has much to offer then just being different. A very touching story that really goes deep to the heart of being judgmental and hurting someone for no apparent reason. "Living with Mrs. Klase" is another unique story that deals with a husband who will go to great lengths to please his wife who is suffering from Alzheimer. She wants to relive Christmas over and over again, playing the role of Santa's wife. When they help a young mother and her two children who are running from an abusive boyfriend and are stranded in the snow, their lives take on a new turn of events.

Each story has a moral base that reaches into the heart of understanding the role of everyone when life or death comes knocking at the door. Overall, Mr. Banks put together a collection of stories that definitely went beyond anything we would attest to as being in our day and time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Mulder on July 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
Death is inevitable.
Everything that lives, dies.
This fact is one of humanities most feared commonalities.
Like life, death has many forms. For every person that breathes, thinks, loves and hates, there comes an ending equally unique.
Author: Gregory Bernard Banks, takes his readers on a tour of the multifaceted experience of death. A literary feast served up in courses that spans the gamut from the powerfully poignant to the seductively sublime.

Some of societies staunchest beliefs are called into question.
Who has the right to die, and when can they make that choice? Should the 'state' hold power over life and death? Can life go on for too long?
While raising other, stranger questions.
What rights to life does a clone possess?

Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy and straight up human drama. There's a bit here for everyone. Each story masterfully crafted with characters achingly real.
An examination of death that brings the reader to a better understanding of life.
What would you do if your nurses would not allow you to die? How would you cope if the 'voices' instructing you to kill, just wouldn't stop? Who would you seek out if your inability to forgive was keeping you from passing over?

Short stories, each one transformative and touching.
It will be a pleasure to read them again.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Anthony Montesino on November 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Book Review:

"Phoenix Tales" Stories of Death & Life

by Gregory Bernard Banks

There have been many reading milestones in my life, works from the masters such as J.R.R.Tolkiens Trilogy, Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn, Ernest Hemmingway's "Old Man & The Sea, Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" and others. In the past year from more contemporary genre writers such as Stephen King's "Everything's Eventual" Lisa Carey's "Love in the Asylum", Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" & Frank Peretti's "This Present Darkness". Also from lesser known under read authors like Lee Garrett's, "The Awakening," David Gardiner's "The Rainbow Man & Other Stories," Terry Lloyd Vinson's "Half Past the Witching Hour & Mary E. Rose's sci-fi thriller "Link Detonator."

And now the work of Gregory Banks author of "Phoenix Tales," Stories of Death & Life. For those who haven't read this author I admit this review only touches the surface, it is a body of work that is nothing short of amazing. What makes it so is the writer's ability to craft stories that capture your imagination, touch your heart and soothe your soul in the process. This collection of seventeen stories explores a difficult theme, a theme of death but does so with grace and the skilled competence of a master story teller.

In "Fireflies" the author weaves a haunting tale of a man torn by grief and guilt over the loss of his wife & daughter. Like a firefly that lights up the night then fades into darkness--he struggles to keep his sanity and is on a certain path to suicide until a voice from his past offers a simple solution. The surreal quality of the narrative in this story lends itself well to the state of mind of the main character.
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