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Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone Paperback – January 24, 2017
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"This is a superior collection of original stories from a rock star list of writers. Highest possible recommendation." - SciFiPulse
“filled with the kind of violence, wit and intellect that coursed through those first 5 films” -comingsoon.net
"f you’re vaguely familiar with the Apes, this will make you hungry for more." Scifi Pulse
“refreshing and satisfying” - Movie Nooz
"A pure joy of a book"... "This collection of stories is such fun because the sheer range of the tales here are a sight to behold." ..."Good short fiction always leaves you begging for more and this collection is full of such tales" - West Chester Tech Blog
“Planet of the Apes fans rejoice: there is finally a short story collection that you can add to your collection, and, even better, Tales from the Forbidden Zone is fantastic.” Cinefessions
About the Author
Rich Handley and Jim Beard are acknowledged experts in the classic Planet of the Apes world, from the movies to the novels to the ongoing comic book series.
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Top Customer Reviews
As if being an Apes anthology wasn't notable enough, consider the quality of the authors involved. The contents page reads like a who's who of familiar names including Dan Abnett, Kevin J. Anderson, Nancy Collins, Greg Cox, Greg Keyes, and Dayton Ward. That is just a few of the names involved but it hopefully gives an idea of the talent involved and the quality of what's present.
Because the sheer range of the tales is a sight to behold. There are side-stories such as John Jackson Miller's Murders' Row with its intriguing perspective on Escape From The Planet Of The Apes, tales that delve into the back-stories of classic character such as Anderson and co-author Sam Knight's Of Monsters And Men, explorations of Ape culture such as the tales written by Cox and co-editor Handley, and stories that present new additions to the mythology such as Keyes' tale which also takes readers beyond the usual North American setting of the franchise. There are stories that fill-in plot holes such as Ty Templeton's story that sets up the aforementioned film Escape or that act as sequels such as Ward's Message In A Bottle that helps to start wrapping up the canceled 1970s live-action TV series. There's even room for some poignant tales such as Bob Mayer's “what if?” sequel to the 1968 film or co-editor Beard's epic Silenced that will have you looking at parts of the series in a whole new light.
Perhaps more than the individual stories is the sheer quality of the overall product. Anthologies, by the nature of them being a hodgepodge of different authors, tend to be hit and miss with some stories being better than others. There are exceptions to almost every rule and this proves to be such as case as there isn't a single miss in the entire collection. Every single story here presents its own intriguing (and sometimes knowingly contradictory) take on Planet Of The Apes as we know it with always intriguing results. Someone once said that the hallmark of good short fiction is that it leaves you begging for more and this collection is full of such tales.
Tales From The Forbidden Zone is among the rarest species of anthologies. That's not just because it finally presents a collection of Planet Of The Apes short fiction but because of the sheer quality of the tales it presents. It is a book that expands and explores the Apes franchise in new and exciting ways, sometimes outside the box but it never ceases to be interesting. So if you are one of those with even a modicum of interest in classic Apes, this is an anthology for you.
Dare I say it: You might even go Ape for it.
In 1968, when the original film hit theaters, I was in my “tweens” and explicitly forbidden from seeing it by my parents who considered it to be too violent & "obscene”. Thankfully, I had an older brother to smuggled me copies of FJA's Famous Monsters of Filmland to satiate my simian obsession until “Escape” arrived in 1971 and I was now old enough to go with my buddies. If memory serves, we told our parents we were off to see Godzilla vs. Somebody and then just quietly sauntered into the adjacent triple–feature marathon.
Now, as to this excellent release, who edits these Amazon listings? It advertises “320 pages” here, when in fact, this paperback has 405 pages of original fiction. Below, I’ve included a breakdown of the contents along with some very interesting “teasers” that precede each short story. Hopefully this will wet your ape–a–tite! (Ouch, sorry).
007 – We Finally Really Did It: An Introduction by Rich Handley
015 – Unfired by Dan Abnett = “set several decades before the events of the original POTA film, delves deep into the radioactive ruins left behind by the great cataclysm of the 1990s to bring those who dwell among them up and into a new light…”
043 – More Than Human, Less Than Ape by Nancy Collins = “we travel alongside a young Cornelius on one of his first expeditions into the unknown, a quest for truth that will reveal much more to the studious, bright-eyed chimpanzee than he ever bargained for…”
065 – Blood Brothers by Will Murray = “The landscape of the POTA live–action television series expands … offering fugitive astronauts Alan Virdon and Pete Burke a glimpse into a corner of their adopted world heretofore unseen and unimagined…”
091 – The Pacing Place by Bob Mayer = “sets a central figure in the Apes universe on a path divergent to the one shown on the big screen, in an intriguing “what if?” tale that offers new hope for a weary future world…”
109 – Murderer’s Row by John Jackson Miller = “Look behind the scenes of Escape…and meet one of the many casualties of Cornelius’ and Zira’s brief yet poignant tour of the early 1970s…”
133 – Endangered Species by Greg Cox = “A curious ape peers far too closely into the lives of lowly humans and opens herself up to dangerous charge of heresy… a story set several generations before the original film…”
153 – Dangerous Imaginings by Paul Kupperberg = “another “What if…?” tale in which Earth was not destroyed in Beneath, reveals forbidden knowledge of a trio of eager and impressionable apes…”
181 – Of Monsters And Men by Kevin J. Anderson & Sam Knight = “Doctor Zaius himself takes center stage…years before the orangutan became the holder of the planet’s greatest secrets and met the human called “Bright Eyes”…”
213 – The Unknown Ape by Andrew E.C. Gaska = “General Urko, of the Saturday–morning animated series Return to the POTA, steps forward…opening up a Pandora’s box of multiple universes and dire portents for their inhabitants…”
243 – Silenced by Jim Beard = “weaves a tale that is, in fact, many tales – a rich tapestry with a single thread of fate shining through it…”
265 – Who Is This Man? What Sort Of Devil Is He? By Robert Greenberger = “It’s back to the realm of the live–action television series we travel, as…explores Urko’s home life and reveals details concerning one of the show’s greatest mysteries…”
285 – Stone Monkey by Greg Keyes = “There are more apes than were ever dreamt of in the prevailing POTA mythologies, as we learn in…”
307 – Milo’s Tale by Ty Templeton = “The wondrous inventor companion of Cornelius and Zira in Escape tells his incredible personal story of triumph and tragedy…”
331 – Message In A Bottle by Dayton Ward = “television astronauts Virdon and Burke return with their chimp ally, Galen, to chase down a mystery that may, once and for all, lead them to an escape from their ordeal on the POTA…”
357 – The King Is Dead – Long Live The King by Rich Handley = “Caesar’s growing empire after Battle comes in sharp focus in…a treatise on treachery that may serve to shape the simian leader’s legacy for centuries to come…”
383 – Banana Republic by Jonathan Maberry = “Finally, never before have orangutan and gorilla joined forces as they do…in a devious political tale with far–reaching ramifications for the future of the planet…”
407 – A Question Of Simian Survival: An Afterword by Jim Beard
411 – Acknowledgements
413 – About The Contributors
423 – Four pages of advertisements for the upcoming POTA Omnibus releases.
Bottom Line: I’ve struggled throughout my life from an excess of interests and all things POTA has definitely been one of my stronger indulgences, and this collection of shorts by various authors is a very entertaining read. But I warn you Mr. Beard, I’m an even a bigger Spidey fan, and I will be holding next month’s release of Spider–Man: Enemies Closer to a much stiffer standard!
I'll keep this spoiler free, but if you enjoyed the original Apes films, the TV series, and/or the animated series, you will be very pleasantly surprised by the quality of each story presented here!
Each story has a little tagline synopsis to orient the reader beforehand (an excellent touch), and every single story is top shelf material, sure to invoke images, characters, voices, and the atmosphere of classic Planet Of The Apes.
I read the majority of the book in one sitting, as I was unwinding from a particularly stressful day at work. To be honest, because of my work day, I wasn't sure I was up for it, but before long, I was traveling deep into the Forbidden Zone.
This is one of the most exciting classic apes era releases in a very long time, and definitely a must read for any fan of the original films and tv shows!
Jim Beard, Please bring on Volume 2! I'll pre-order it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What I am looking for is a novelization of the first 1968 film.
Can anyone answer this for me?