- On: 4th Aug 2022
- Category: Reviews
You know you’re in for an exciting read when an anthology is named after a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid from Greek mythology!
The idea of a Chimera, both in a mythological sense, and a scientific one, has always fascinated me and I was immediately interested in the anthology’s premise – short stories from 10 authors about the creatures of myth and legend colliding, giving life to inventive new monsters! What’s not to love?
The stage is set brilliantly by the foreword, written by Lost Boys Press’s editor-in-chief, Ashley Hutchison. As she says in her introduction, myths belong to all of us, continuously shaped and reshaped by humanity, evolving as we have, explaining things we couldn’t understand, by having mastery over the things we could imagine.
The authors drew on a wide range of mythological creatures as the basis for their creations, covering everything from Werewolves, Mermaids and Dragons to Will-o’-the-wisps, Broxa and Changelings! There’s a story in here for everyone, based on the creatures you know and love the most, and for me, there were three stories that stood out in particular.
Loomis Creek by Stephen Howard
For this story, Stephen chose to combine the mighty ape-like cryptid of the North Americas, the Bigfoot, with the cursed shapeshifters of European folklore, the Werewolf. I really liked this idea, and I thought it was exciting, a good choice of two creatures to mix up, with a great result. What if the reason why we’ve yet to find and capture a Bigfoot is that, outside of a full moon, they are, in fact, human? I love it!
The story was well written and is presented as a campfire ghost story, which as the first tale in the anthology, I thought was quite fitting – a great way to set the tone as the reader moves through the rest of the book. You should absolutely give this story a read!
The Nights I Die by Matt Bliss
Arguably my favourite story from the collection, Matt decided to also take lycanthropes, but for his second element, he added in the living dead from Haitian folklore, the terrifying Zombie!
I loved this idea because it takes the familiar narrative of becoming a Zombie as being a one-way trip into an undead being and flips it into this horrible affliction that waxes and wanes in tune with the moon. Imagine the torment you’d face knowing that each month, you’d die, reanimate, eat people, un-animate, and then be alive again?
It’s not all doom and gloom though, as a surprise twist at the end makes up for most of the terror in this tormented tale – a highly recommended read!
Banshee Song by Michelle Tang
Michelle chose to combine the wailing Banshees of Irish folklore with the singing Sirens of Greek mythology. I thought this was an interesting combination: a Banshees keening meant that either someone had died or was about to die, whereas a Siren’s call was a lure, leading victims to their demises, and thus, Michelle’s Chimera is both herald and executioner.
The other element that stood out to me in Michelle’s story was the idea that these creatures could fall in love with humans, those who are hard of hearing and cannot be enchanted by the Chimera’s songs, swapping their predatory lifestyles for one of love. But just as they doom humans with their voices, humans condemn them with love – when the Chimeras inevitably outlive their human partners, they return to their former ways, only to forever search for their lost lovers in the eyes of those they lure to them.
I recommend checking out the Chimera Anthology, as you’ll get to read a bunch of incredible and inventive short stories, support the talented writers behind these monstrous tales, and support an independent publisher!
Cover for Chimera used with permission from Lost Boys Press
Background image by Casey Horner on Unsplash