Tales from Gundarland Reviewed By Lois Henderson of Bookpleasures.com
Reviewer Lois Henderson: Lois has a MA General Linguistics, BA (English) Honors, Higher Education Diploma, Higher Diploma in Library and Information Science - indexer of more than 130 books; editor of dozens of theses and study manuals at university and college level.
View all articles by Lois Henderson
Author: Hank Quense
Publisher: Hank Quense
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: http://hankquesne.com, and you can follow his “antics, rants and occasional snippets of wisdom” on his blog: http://hankquesne.com/blog. Tales from Gundarland is an enjoyable read, and thoroughly recommended as light relief from the more serious stuff.
Click Here To Purchase Tales From Gundarland: Eight humorous stories from the land of the incongruous