- Publisher: Ambannon Books
- Edited By: Shannon John
TheDarkTower.org is the largest Stephen King fan-site on the internet, and was one of the original destinations for horror and writing geeks to meet on the web, becoming far bigger and more influential, and more inspiring than just a simple site covering Stephen King’s litany of novels and life events. It’s gone even further with IN MINT CONDITION, an anthology featuring 16 original short stories and poems, with accompanied art for each, all conceived from talented visitors to The Dark Tower website.
The book isn’t affiliated with Stephen King, and is not fan fiction, or based on King’s works in any way. It merely indicates that they have good taste, and highlights the origin of the friendships and potentially the inspiration for some of the horror within. The book comes from Ambannon Books, and is edited by Shannon John, clearly a passion project for him, and everyone else involved in its publication. The table of contents is as follows:
1. “Mr. Scratch’s Murder Circus” by Jeremy Gooch. Artwork by Erin Wells [above].
2. “The Receptionist” by Bob Ireland. Artwork by Allen Koszowski.
3. “The Train Graveyard” by Ariel Bosi. Artwork by Heather Armata.
4. “Seagrass Encounter” by David Swearingen. Artwork by Rachel Readman.
5. “Brother” by Ryan Wood. Artwork by Dustin Amato.
6. “A Place on Pine Island” by Matthew Biddle. Artwork by Terry Newsom.
7. “Pumpkin” by Krystle-Dawn M. Willing. Artwork by Erik Wilson.
8. “Excelsior!” by Jean Melkovsky. Artwork by Edward Ziniti.
9. “My First Book” by Jeannine Bulsara. Artwork by Krystle-Dawn M. Willing.
10. “The Rule of Three” by Thomas Cranham. Artwork by Jill Bauman.
11. “You’re the Best” by Tim Martin. Artwork by Sergiy Krykun.
12. “Darkness Rising” by Gabriel Ayala. Artwork by Vincent Chong [below].
13. “Tabula Rasa” by Hannah O’Connor. Artwork by David Boehmke.
14. “Right to Life” by Mike Ziniti. Artwork by Les Edwards.
15. “On Monday, I ate my cat.” by Jerome Smith. Artwork by Alex McVey.
16. “Marvin’s Retirement” by Ralph Mulleins. Artwork by Glenn Chadbourne.
The book is jam-packed with big ideas, and most impressively, a ton of different voices and a wide variety of artistic styles, all covering a vast array of different subjects (pregnancy, jail, and alligators, unfortunately not all in the same story), monsters and themes. My personal favorite has to be the fantastic and creative “My First Book,” written on lined pages straight from an Elementary school Composition book, with children’s drawings to boot. Most are short, sweet and perfect commercial break material, such as “Darkness Rising,” a poem chronicling the evolution of dark manifestations within you, me, everyone. Then there’s “On Monday, I ate my cat,” a quick little ditty about an interesting, disturbing appetite. I still don’t know what I read.
While, like most anthologies, it’s hit or miss, it’s also fun and breezy, and a worthy cause to support. While the signed, limited edition hardcovers have since sold out, $1,000 of the proceeds went to Haven Foundation, an organization dedicated to keeping freelance writers on their feet. For more information on IN MINT CONDITION, and to snag yourself a copy (for $9.99) while supplies last, go here.
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