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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irreverent Take on the World of Fantasy
This delightful collection of six short stories and two novellas is set in the mythical realm of Gundarland on a planet named Gundar, which, according to Quense, was named after "the omniscient god who accidentally created the universe with an explosive sneeze caused by snorting a larger-than-average dose of His favorite recreational powder." As you can gather, this work...
Published on September 3, 2010 by L. C. Henderson

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3.0 out of 5 stars Opens With a Sneeze
Imagine for a minute an alternative universe where Terry Pratchett and Monty Python could produce a love child. Now imagine that child had inherited both parents' skill at seeing a situation and sizing it up for satiric treatment but neither parents' talent for executing that satire. If you can hold that idea in your mind, you'll have a pretty good idea of how Tales...
Published on October 28, 2010 by Keryl Raist


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irreverent Take on the World of Fantasy, September 3, 2010
By 
L. C. Henderson (Velddrift, South Africa) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tales From Gundarland: Eight humorous stories from the land of the incongruous (Paperback)
This delightful collection of six short stories and two novellas is set in the mythical realm of Gundarland on a planet named Gundar, which, according to Quense, was named after "the omniscient god who accidentally created the universe with an explosive sneeze caused by snorting a larger-than-average dose of His favorite recreational powder." As you can gather, this work is only for older kids and their insightful parents...

Gunderland itself is populated by such diverse races as "dwarfs, humans, elves, half-pints, yuks and a few lesser races...[that]...live cheek-by-jowl in many cases and get along with no more than the usual interracial hostility". And, don't worry, you definitely don't have to be a geek to enjoy their adventures, despite two of the pieces in Tales from Gundarland being satires of two of the Great Bard's (i.e. Shakespeare's) most popular works: "Romeo & Juliet" and "Merchant of Venison" (a send-up of The Merchant of Venice). A few of the tales are under ten pages, while the others vary substantially in length. All of them, however, are side-splittingly funny, and, if you enjoy the writings of Terry Pratchett, you should enjoy these too. Quense's irreverent take on the world of fantasy is most amusing, I find, when he describes the relationships between fellow characters and between man and beast. Mind you, the characterization of the yuks is also a key source of humor, and reminded me somewhat of the trolls in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Their poor grasp on the English language is most evident in the verbal spats between the yuk brothers, Rolf and Ralf. Quense promises to return to these two characters in other stories, as he likes them too much to ignore them.

In "Chasing Dreams", a hilarious spoof on The Mask of Zorro, and a number of other westerns, the showdown at Okidoky Corral is accompanied by cheer-leading molls, who raise some dust linking arms and performing multiple high leg kicks. In fact, one might say that the women tend to be a feisty bunch throughout the tales, including one princess who refuses to be rescued from a tower by a Warrior-Cook, for fear that she will never be able to show her face at court again if she is saved by anyone other than a nobleman ("Boggerts Blue"). The pages teem with loads of swashbuckling adventure, both on land and sea, with heroes and villains aplenty--just don't expect them to be archetypal!

Quense acknowledges the help that he received from an international group of critics known as the Critters, who helped him to shape the stories. Another group of writers who also provided input into the stories was drawn from as far away and as diverse locations as the Canary Islands, Greece, Britain and Ireland. Further details of the author are available on his website: [...], and you can follow his "antics, rants and occasional snippets of wisdom" on his blog: [...]. Tales from Gundarland is an enjoyable read, and thoroughly recommended as light relief from the more serious stuff. [Reviewer for [...]]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shrek needs to read this one!, September 23, 2010
By 
This review is from: Tales From Gundarland: Eight humorous stories from the land of the incongruous (Paperback)
`The planet was named Gundar after the omniscient god who accidentally created the universe with an explosive sneeze caused by snorting a larger-than-average dose of his favorite recreational powder. The nodules of spittle flew through space and eventually solidified into suns, planets, comets and other celestial bodies. Gundarland is the largest land mass on the planet. Populated by diverse races such as dwarfs, humans, elves, half-pints, yuks and a few lesser races, these disparate races live cheek-by-jowl in many cases and get along with no more than the usual interracial hostility.

By ancient tradition, many warriors took a double major when they studied the arts of war. The double major came in handy during the occasional outbreaks of peace. Thus, in the early days, knight-accountants, warrior-chefs and soldier-lawyers roamed the countryside seeking combat and/or clients. The population of the planet has always been intrigued by magic. As a consequence, wizards were held in high regard, even the incompetent ones. Wizard schools even offered double majors as well as the combat schools.

Author Hank Quense has taken characters that we all recognize, put them into character form while having them live on the planet of Gundar. For instance we have Romeo and Juliet. Romeo Montague is a dwarf silver miner. Juliet Capulet is an elf. They met at a ballet class and fell madly in love with each other. But... Juliet's brothers hate the Montague family and forbid their marriage. Will they end up like Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet? You will find yourself laughing out loud as you find out.

Next we have Zarro, black mask and all. Zarro is a dwarf who rides a donkey named Belinda. Belinda was won by Zarro's father in a card game and she hated to be ridden but loved to sleep. In fact, the only way to mount Belinda was to cover her head with a blanket, which would put her into a snoring sleep immediately, mount, remove the blanket and prepare yourself for a bit of bucking.

The Long Stranger, another mask wearer, and his sidekick Pinto are out to save the country from the likes of Rolf and Ralf. Rolf and Ralf have taken on the task of relieving those traveling along the Trade Road of their rings, coins, jewelry and any other valuables they might find to pilfer.

These are just a few of the characters Author Hank Quense has brought to life in Tales From Gundarland. As I read each character's story I couldn't help but laugh. I also couldn't help but picture Shrek as a character in most of the stories. This book would be perfect for a full series of new Shrek movies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And now for something completely different..., July 1, 2010
This review is from: Tales From Gundarland: Eight humorous stories from the land of the incongruous (Paperback)
Hank Quense is at it again. He's sharpened up his satirical pen to let the hot air out of the greedy, the power-hungry, and maybe the rest of us. And therein lies a tale...or several. These action-packed, exciting adventures are laced with humor that will have you snickering, if not falling off your chair laughing.

Gundarland is the largest land mass on the planet Gundar, named for the deity "who accidentally created the universe with an explosive sneeze caused by snorting a larger-than-average dose of His favorite recreational powder" in the event known as the Big Achoo. Most of the inhabitants of Gundarland (dwarfs, humans, elves, half-pints, yuks and a few lesser races) don't much care what you call it, and are neither scientifically inclined or overly religious. As long as living conditions aren't too terrible, the work isn't too hard, and there's plenty of beer at the end of the day, these simple folk are content. They do like a little entertainment: a good hanging will do, maybe a little gambling and brawling, or perhaps a riot. Fortunately there are always a few misfits around to stir things up: both Quense's sometimes bumbling but always idealistic heroes and the targets of their concern.

Drawing on traditional fairy-tale themes and a plethora of sources from Shakespeare to modern media, Quense adds his own twist to the familiar stories. Romeo is a dwarf with aspirations to be a ballet dancer; Juliet is an elf who has a thing for short, hairy guys. The hero dwarf Zarro, who works days as a busboy, teams up with The Lone Stranger to save the masses from cruel and greedy interlopers--whether they want to be saved or not. Warrior-cook Burga discovers there are downsides to rescuing princesses, but makes the best of a frustrating situation. Warrior-tinker Knuben deals with challenges that include seasickness, pirates, and predatory princesses as he seeks to advance his career and find true love. Wizard Brodwin appears in two tales, pitting his skills against the wily Cenwig. General MacDwarfen comes out of retirement to play an unconventional war/chess game with an old friend. What delicious fun.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Opens With a Sneeze, October 28, 2010
Imagine for a minute an alternative universe where Terry Pratchett and Monty Python could produce a love child. Now imagine that child had inherited both parents' skill at seeing a situation and sizing it up for satiric treatment but neither parents' talent for executing that satire. If you can hold that idea in your mind, you'll have a pretty good idea of how Tales From Gundarland reads. I have a crusty, old memory of an English teacher telling me to use writing to show, not tell. You probably have a similar one. Where Monty Python and Pratchett would show, Quense would tell.

Tales From Gundarland is a selection of two novellas and six short stories, most of them satires, set in a rather generic fantasy world of elves, dwarves, humans, and something called yuks (a modified ogre). The stories range from retellings of Shakespeare's greatest hits staring dwarfs and elves, to a Zorro/Lone Ranger (or Zarro and the Lone Stranger as they are known in Gundarland) crossover.

Bits of the stories are genuinely laugh out loud funny. There are moments where you see great insight into human nature. But on the whole the stories are competent and plain rather than exceptional reading. The use of language is solid but not brilliant. The occasional clunky line is offset by the occasional very well done image. The characters are likable but generic. Several of them are rather easily confused with each other because most of the main characters are somewhat young, unsure of themselves and their place in the world, adventurers looking to find their fortune and place.

Quense did come up with some unique details for setting his elves, dwarfs, and humans apart. His guild system requires adventurers to learn useful trades as well as how to bash in heads, so we run into a Warrior/Cooks looking to advance onto the Hero/Chef level. Likewise, the leader of his anti-pirate group is a caftan wearing dwarf looking to go legit by getting into women's bespoke fashion. Things like that are really cool, but we don't get much out of it because these things are mostly just mentioned as part of the background. Green leaves on the trees, babbling brook, Warrior/Cook armed with his trusty frying pan and razor sharp spatula ready to go off and save the princess. Tell me more about the guilds, tell me more about how he trained, write a novel about it, because there's a seed of a great story there, but... But it's just background.

Quense is good with voice. His characters speak differently from each other, which is a nice touch. The yuks speak in a sort of dumbed down mafiaesque English. The other main characters use different tone and vocabulary in a way that matches with their stations well. Unfortunately, voice is often the only easy way to distinguish one main character from the next.

Though I was kicked out of the feminist club a long, long time ago, I did notice his female characters, save one, are one dimensional, shallow, and annoying. Annoying in the sense of people you don't want to spend any time with, not badly written. Basically the reason there are women in this book is to be objects of love or lust. And, while I normally couldn't care less about the gender of the various characters I'm reading about, the fact that almost every woman in the entire book was a twit was grating.

The action scenes were well done, and that's and area that often trips up writers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars From Gundarland comes entertainment., July 15, 2010
Gundarland, a land populated with elves, dwarves, humans and other intriguing races, is both like and unlike the world we live on. The characters must tackle and overcome many of the situations we find ourselves in everyday. The difference, of course, is how they overcome them. Some do it with cooking utensils, some with a mask and some do it with cunning and an unpredictable wand.

Tales from Gundarland is an action packed, comical roller coaster. This wonderfully developed land with its inhabitants is a refreshing get away from the world we live in. All of the multiple characters are both believable and unique which is a testament to the author's talent.

Each of the eight short stories deliver a fresh, humorous spin on some of the classic tales such as Romeo and Juliet and Zorro; while poking fun at political greed and social aspects of life. Action and adventure keeps the pace moving at a steady pace; when combined with the humorous aspects the stories take on a vivid presence in the readers mind. The common denominator that holds them all together is Gundarland.

Which of the eight will be your favorite?

From the first word, Hank Quense's passion for crafting gripping tales and quick wit takes center stage. Instantly, you are immersed in the land of Gundarland next to the multiple individuals that inhabit the planet. With each passing page, it is virtually impossible not to become part of the humor and adventure within "Tales From Gundarland."

"Tales From Gundarland" delivers nonstop action and laughs with an intriguing pinch of romance. The unique stories, strong characters and multiple plots carry from story to story and page to page. This book is a must have for those seeking action, adventure and comedy bundled in short, deliberate stories.

Gundarland is sure to become one of your favorite places to visit after reading "Tales From Gundarland."

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4.0 out of 5 stars From Gundarland comes entertainment., July 15, 2010
This review is from: Tales From Gundarland: Eight humorous stories from the land of the incongruous (Paperback)
Gundarland, a land populated with elves, dwarves, humans and other intriguing races, is both like and unlike the world we live on. The characters must tackle and overcome many of the situations we find ourselves in everyday. The difference, of course, is how they overcome them. Some do it with cooking utensils, some with a mask and some do it with cunning and an unpredictable wand.

Tales from Gundarland is an action packed, comical roller coaster. This wonderfully developed land with its inhabitants is a refreshing get away from the world we live in. All of the multiple characters are both believable and unique which is a testament to the author's talent.

Each of the eight short stories deliver a fresh, humorous spin on some of the classic tales such as Romeo and Juliet and Zorro; while poking fun at political greed and social aspects of life. Action and adventure keeps the pace moving at a steady pace; when combined with the humorous aspects the stories take on a vivid presence in the readers mind. The common denominator that holds them all together is Gundarland.

Which of the eight will be your favorite?

From the first word, Hank Quense's passion for crafting gripping tales and quick wit takes center stage. Instantly, you are immersed in the land of Gundarland next to the multiple individuals that inhabit the planet. With each passing page, it is virtually impossible not to become part of the humor and adventure within "Tales From Gundarland."

"Tales From Gundarland" delivers nonstop action and laughs with an intriguing pinch of romance. The unique stories, strong characters and multiple plots carry from story to story and page to page. This book is a must have for those seeking action, adventure and comedy bundled in short, deliberate stories.

Gundarland is sure to become one of your favorite places to visit after reading "Tales From Gundarland."

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5.0 out of 5 stars Dwarves, elves, yuks and laughs, November 29, 2010
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This review is from: Tales From Gundarland: Eight humorous stories from the land of the incongruous (Paperback)
This collection of stories is fun from beginning to end. Hank Quesne has a Pratchett-like gift for extracting humour from science fiction and fantasy settings and characters and managing to slide social commentaries among the jokes. Unlike Terry Pratchett, however, he can construct long stories that don't disintegrate into sequences of vignettes - he's good at plot construction. And his Shakespeare pastiches would, I believe, have met the Bard's approval.

The writing style is good and uncomplicated, with clever word use that doesn't demand an over-rich vocabulary on the part of the reader. The settings are vivid, and the fantasy world of Gundarland is surprisingly familiar. Here and there one finds a few editing glitches, but they are few and unproblematic - they don't interrupt the flow of prose or challenge comprehension - so they're no more than minor irritants.

I've bought copies of this book as Christmas presents in the certainty that the recipients will enjoy it as much as I did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hysterical, December 10, 2014
By 
Roberto Mattos (Morganville, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Mr. Quense nails it again. In this new book he comes with 8 stories, one more creative then the other. Hysterical. My favorite is the last one, Tactical Surprise. The end of the story is delicious. I loved it!
I have been following this author for a while and having read most of his books I can say that he is a master of satiric humor. You have to read his stories slowly and savor every subtle humor. It will light up your day.
His characters are taken from Shakespeare and fairy tale stories and they are placed in a new world called Gundarland. With very fruitful imagination, the author creates situations that will make us remember the real story, but with twists very particular to his style.
I recommend this book to the permanent library of any reader who is up to a good laugh. Very well written book, it will keep you entertained for hours.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If You Like Terry Pratchett and the Disc World Series, You'll Like This, December 3, 2014
Hank Quense can write such humorous stories and this a great collection. One that will make you laugh.

According to Quense, the planet Gundar was named after "the omniscient god who accidentally created the universe with an explosive sneeze caused by snorting a larger-than-average dose of His favorite recreational powder."

We have stories about elves, dwarves, dwelves (a mixture of dwarf and elf), gnomes, yuks, trolls and humans. He parodies Romeo and Juliet, Zorro which is Zarro and the Lone Ranger who becomes the Long Stranger with Pinto his side kick. Each story is a good laugh and Quense is such a genius writing each one. He rivals Terry Pratchett and the Disc World series.

If you want a good laugh, this is the book to buy. May I warn you though, it's not for kids.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Competent but Not Great., October 27, 2010
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This review is from: Tales From Gundarland: Eight humorous stories from the land of the incongruous (Paperback)
Tales from Gundarland was okay. It's not great, and it's not terrible, either.

Bits and pieces of it were very funny, and bits and pieces of it were very dull.

I wasn't able to make myself finish the book. It's a collection of short stories, and one of the difficulties of a short story is creating characters you want to spend time with quickly, and like the rest of the book, the characters weren't bad, but I didn't get into any of them enough to want to find out what happened next to them.
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Tales From Gundarland: Eight humorous stories from the land of the incongruous
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