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Cover art by Paul Swenson

Return to Ken Scholes' Imagination Forest in this second collection of quirky, off-beat stories. These 17 tales range from his first published story in 2000 to his most recent in 2009, including two stories set in his Psalms of Isaak series. You'll encounter cynical Santas and explore the dating woes of superheroes. You'll join God and Satan in the bar for a glass of merlot and watch the hyjinx unfold as Reverend Sparkle Jones leads his rag-tag gang of misfits across a post-apocalyptic America in search of the holy grail to stem the tide of an alien invasion. You'll meet the Lady of the Lake in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and bump into Abe and his backup singers as they do their part to save the world. So settle in for the ride and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times. Here in the Imagination Forest, you never know who — or what — you'll come across.

Starred Review! "A mysterious voice, an alien songstress, a postapocalyptic Santa Claus, and a host of other bizarre creatures come together in Scholes's lively, arresting and gleefully offbeat second short story collection (after 2009's Long Walks, Last Flights), which equally startles with profound emotion and revels in absurd humor. In the brilliant 'A Weeping Czar Beholds the Fallen Moon,' a tearful ruler encounters a strange object and a young woman that bring both doom and renewal. 'Invisible Empire of Ascending Light' concerns a violent contest to take the place of a dying god. 'Four Clowns of the Apocalypse and the Mecca of Mirth' is a wide-eyed, bizarro-style caper involving the misadventures of four clowns in a wasted, radioactive America. By turns baroque, off-kilter, and haunting, Scholes's writing will delight lovers of the unusual and wildly imaginative."   —Publisher's Weekly

“The world often throws the unusual at you, and not always for bad reason. Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars and Other Unusual Suspects is a collection of short stories from Ken Scholes providing an unusual assortment of thought and idea through his chosen medium. From post apocalyptic alien invasions and the need to ward them off, and the current roles of mythological figures as well as the challenges of dating with a secret identity, Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars and Other Unusual Suspects is a humorous as well as enlightening read that is excellently crafted and hard to put down.”                   —Midwest Book Review

"Ken Scholes knows how to suck us up into a story, chew us up, and spit us out smiling."     —Ray Vukcevich, author of Boarding Instructions

"These stories are rambunctious. Sometimes loud, relentlessly lively, occasionally defiant of expectations — they refuse to sit still. . .But mostly they are a hell of a lot of fun."     —Jack Skillingstead, author of Harbinger

"Ken Scholes writes stories that resonate with depth and thrum, holding the reader rapt with his own brand of magic."                —Devon Monk, author of A Cup of Normal

"Ken’s writing has the brilliance of short story masters like Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison, and a voice fresh with the needs of the extraordinary times we are living in."  —Brenda Cooper, author of Reading the Wind

"One of the best new writers coming into the field."  —Dean Wesley Smith

Ken Scholes can tell a good story.  In his first collection, Long Walks, Last Flights and Other Strange Journeys, he blew me away with his storytelling gusto. He has since gone on to write the very well received Psalms of Isaak series, which began in the novel Lamentation. Fairwood Press and Scholes have teamed up to release a second collection of Scholes’ stories. Fans of Scholes’ novel series will find a couple pieces of particular interest, as two stories take place in the same setting. Set well before the novels, “A Weeping Czar Beholds the Fallen Moon” sets up a number of engaging elements that make this a wonderful story, even for those who, like me, haven’t read the series yet. “Of Missing Kings and Backward Dreams and the Honoring of Lies” works as a follow up to “Of Metal Men and Scarlet Thread and Dancing with the Sunrise” (found in the previous collection, Long Walks, Last Flights). The story is as brilliant as its predecessor, and shows the richness of the world Scholes was creating. Another must read. Other top stories, in my mind, include “Four Clowns of the Apocalypse and the Mecca of Mirth,” “The Boy Who Could Bend and Fall,” and “There Once Was a Girl From Nantucket (A Fortean Love Story).” However, that isn’t to say that any of the stories are lacking. You would be hard pressed to find a non-great story in this volume. Fans of the genre must pick this one up.  Luke Reviews



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All content © Fairwood Press & Patrick Swenson, unless otherwise noted