Brothers In Arms
Edited by Barry Hoffman, Richard Christian Matheson
Brothers In Arms is the newest anthology from award-winning publisher Gauntlet Press and is a tribute to Richard Matheson’s 1960 World War II novel, The Beardless Warriors. Brought together for a good cause are twenty-five of the best writers alive to ever put words together.
Each contributing author lends their personal spin on the war machine and both the proverbial and the very real monsters which dwell within it. While some entries lean towards the more barbaric, horrific aspects of a world at war, others take place a little closer to the heart where ghosts converge and regret chews like a slow animal.
When a collection of stories, even one with such a high-ranking caliber of writers at the table (William F. Nolan, F. Paul Wilson, Thomas J. Monteleone, Joe R. Lansdale, Chelsea Quin Yarbro, etc.) and especially one which touts its self as “having something for everyone”, I tend to see a glaring red flag and have to wonder how many stories will I really like? Turns out, with this collection it’s a lot. Sure, not every story made it to my cream of the cream favourites list, but for each one that did, I was only left with a slight few remaining – a major feat for any collection as far as I’m concerned, though everyone’s mileage is apt to vary.
On one end of the spectrum, we’ve got the dark beauty of David J. Schow’s pen as he pits a war vet against an insidious killing machine from the past along with his own grief-stricken sense of being with Warbirds.
At the other end, we get a story from Clive Barker which brutally depicts what transpires in the shadows when secrets rue the day and men become ravenous beast in Twilight At Towers.
In between we get everything from a sci-fi look at intergalactic warfare, ancient savages defending against far superior forces, an old soldier who watches his past play out in the reflections of an epitaph honoring his fallen brothers, to modern day marines chasing baddies into the mountains where statues representing their worst nightmares await.
Richard’s oldest son, RC Matheson, also showcases his sharp and tense style with his aptly titled contribution, Shrapnel. As a bonus, each author provides a few words to introduce their stories, focusing on the influence and love they shared with their friend and icon, Richard Matheson. Their debt to Richard is obvious and this collection is a true celebration of gratitude towards the man who influenced them all. Some photos from the set of YOUNG WARRIORS from the personal collection of Kent McCord are also included in the limited-edition hard cover and an outstanding cover illustration from Clive Barker ties it all together.
An inspired collection, Brothers In Arms, is a highly enjoyable tribute to the Legendary Richard Matheson and his Beardless Warriors and should resonate well with fans of Matheson and readers in general.