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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
"If you’re new to the Planet of the Apes story, fear not. Most of these tales can be enjoyed sans backstory, and even the more complex ones — delving into time travel and predestination — offer chances to catch up along the way." - San Francisco Book Review
"a good anthology to be read gradually, a story or two at a time over a couple of weeks."—Fred Patten
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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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.
One thing that makes this book such a success (and a pleasure to read) is how seriously the authors and editors treat the source material. There’s a deep level of understanding and respect shown towards the entire Apes saga here, and the writers clearly know their stuff. More than that, though, is the sheer level of creativity to be found here. The premise of each story is unique and undeniably compelling, and each one makes excellent use of all the various places, time periods, and characters of the original films and series—and beyond. The stories are at once loyal to what has come before, but also vividly inventive enough to make satisfying and welcome contributions to the canon. An excellent example of this is the first story, “Unfired,” which adheres to what we know about the subterranean mutants from Beneath and Battle while also expanding on their culture and motivations in a way that seems not only logical, but wholly overdue.
For me, the highlight of this collection is a “What If?” type story that imagines a different future for the character of Taylor from the original 1968 film. No spoilers here, but in many ways what you read in “The Pacing Place” aligns better with the philosophies and themes of the original film than anything in the 1970 sequel ever did, and it doesn’t take much to prefer this outcome for Taylor than the one he received on film. Also, if you’ve ever wondered exactly how the ape scientist Milo (along with Cornelius and Zira) could restore and fly Taylor’s crashed ship in Escape (a longstanding and glaring plot hole in the entire film series), this book takes a swing at explaining it in a way that, for sheer boldness, knocks it out of the park.
As with all collections, some stories work better than others, but there isn’t a bad one in the bunch. If you are any sort of fan of the Planet of the Apes series, this book is a must-read and I recommend it highly. Here’s hoping for a Volume 2.
It's hard to be unbiased about this book because I am an ApeHead since childhood. Anything new in the Planet of the Apes realm is like a nostalgia life preserver.
Tales from the Forbidden Zone gives us sixteen tales set across the various Planet of the Apes classic universes. Meaning - the original five movies, television series and Saturday morning cartoon. It does not include the 2001 movie or the recent movies.
The stories are enjoyable. I preferred some more than others but that is the nature of anthologies. Your mileage may vary.
Five of my favorites were; "Unfired" by Dan Abnett, "The Unknown Ape" by Andrew E.C. Gaska, "Message in a Bottle" by Dayton Ward, "Milo's Tale" by Ty Templeton and "Banana Republic" Jonathan Maberry.
Tales from the Forbidden Zone is a welcome addition to the Planet of the Apes universe. If you enjoy that universe, you'll enjoy this book. Perhaps if it performs well, there could be another volume. So, buy yours today and go ape!