Alexander Zelenyj's Forgotten Hymns of the Death Angels was published by Eibonvale Press in September 2014.
Forgotten Hymns of the Death Angels is a signed and lettered limited edition chapbook/zine (softcover, 32 pages, 4 short stories).
Information about Alexander Zelenyj:
Alexander Zelenyj is the author of the books Songs For The Lost, Experiments At 3 Billion A.M., Ballads To The Burning Twins: The Complete Song Lyrics Of The Deathray Bradburys, and Black Sunshine. His fiction has been published in magazines and anthologies throughout the world.
He lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Visit him at alexanderzelenyj.com.
Click here to read an interview with Alexander Zelenyj.
Click here to read reviews of Alexander Zelenyj's books on his official website.
A REVIEW OF ALEXANDER ZELENYJ'S FORGOTTEN HYMNS OF THE DEATH ANGELS
Forgotten Hymns of the Death Angels contains four short stories that were left out of Songs for the Lost short story collection. It's an interesting companion collection to Songs for the Lost.
This mini-collection contains the following stories:
- New Men of the Dream Lotus
- It Follows
- The Black-Winged and Burning
- Kiss of the Savage Sun
These four stories share many similarities with the stories in Songs for the Lost, but as the author mentions in the foreword, they didn't quite fit within the book's larger framework for certain reasons, so they were published separately. Together these stories form a fascinatingly dark mini-collection.
These stories take place during the Vietnam War era. They're thematically a bit similar and quite closely related to these three stories that can be found in Songs for the Lost: "Maria, Here Come the Death Angels!", "Always an Angelwitch Over Suicide Hill" and "Roaring Dream of the Weeping Spider-Men".
Here's a bit of information about the stories and my thoughts about them:
New Men of the Dream Lotus:
- An intriguing story about a soldier and a dog that leads him to a new place.
- The author writes realistically about war and its horrors.
- An unforgettable story about soldiers who return home from the war.
- What happens to the soldiers in this story is fascinatingly strange.
The Black-Winged and Burning:
- A good story about a soldier who has hunted down a man.
- This is a beautifully written and memorable story that has a fascinating ending.
Kiss of the Savage Sun:
- A fascinating story about soldiers who have survived a firefight.
- This well written story has a perfect ending.
What I wrote earlier about the stories in Songs for the Lost (here's a link to the review page), also applies to this mini-collection, because these four stories are quality stories. I won't repeat what I wrote earlier, but I'll mention a few other things that deserve to be said about the author's stories.
I consider Alexander Zelenyj to be a brilliant wordsmith, because he fluently conjures up images and feelings that captivate the reader and hold him/her spellbound while reading the stories. He's one of the few speculative fiction authors who are capable of creating a dream-like and surreal atmosphere in an enchanting way. When you read his stories, you can't help but be captivated by the atmosphere in them.
Alexander Zelenyj writes beautiful and nuanced literary prose. The sublime beauty of his prose highlights the weird happenings of the stories and adds depth and style to them. Characterization works well, because the author writes fluently about the lives and experiences of the soldiers. He also evokes realistic and vivid images of the jungle, where the soldiers do their deeds and experience strange things, in the reader's mind. When you read these stories, you can almost feel the heat and the humidity of the jungle.
I think it's great that many elements of literary fiction, fantasy, science fiction, horror and magical realism blend seamlessly in these short stories. The author easily infuses his stories with supernatural elements and weird happenings, which is nice, because reading this kind of well written stories is interesting (and also rewarding).
Just like the stories in Songs for the Lost, these stories are challenging, disturbing, beautiful, touching and memorable. There stories have a surprising amount of emotional depth and atmospheric richness that is seldom is found in similar kind of short stories.
In my opinion these stories prove that Alezander Zelenyj belongs to the same league of authors as Douglas Thompson, Nina Allan, David Rix, Brendan Connell, Quentin S. Crisp and Timothy J. Jarvis etc. If you've ever read anything by these authors, you'll most likely enjoy reading Alexander Zelenyj's stories.
Before I write the final words of this review, I'll mention that the front and back cover photographs by Elizabeth Walker look beautiful.
If you have a chance to read Forgotten Hymns of the Death Angels, I highly recommend reading it, because it's an excellent mini-collection. If you don't have a chance to read it, I instead urge you to read Songs for the Lost as soon as possible, because it deserves to be read by fans of quality speculative fiction. I can guarantee that you won't regret reading it. If you love literary speculative fiction, well written stories and weird happenings, you'll enjoy reading Songs for the Lost.