cover image Under Twin Suns: Alternate Histories of the Yellow Sign

Under Twin Suns: Alternate Histories of the Yellow Sign

Edited by James Chambers. Hippocampus, $25 trade paper (338p) ISBN 978-1-61498-331-6

The 20 high-quality tales and three poems in this fine anthology from Chambers (The Engines of Sacrifice) draw on the weird short stories created by Robert W. Chambers (no relation) centered on The King in Yellow, a fictional forbidden play that drives those who read it mad. In Lisa Morton’s superb metafictional “Robert Chambers Reads The King in Yellow,” which explains how Chambers created his fictional universe, the less-than-successful writer is approached by an odd-looking fellow named Wilde. Wilde offers the struggling author a lucrative sum to continue the efforts of the writer Ambrose Bierce, who wrote about Carcosa, the home of the King in Yellow. Another high point, Kathleen Scheiner’s “Wasp Honey,” features the unsettling image of wasps tending a honeycomb, with markings on their bodies resembling “little yellow letters.” Trevor Firetog’s arresting “European Theater” reveals how the maddening play became of interest to German intelligence in 1944 Belgium. This is the perfect companion to similar prior volumes, In the Court of the Yellow King and The King in Yellow Tales, and is accessible even to those unfamiliar with the originals. (Sept.)