The Planet of the Apes franchise has experienced something of a rebirth in recent years. The film series was successfully rebooted beginning with 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, followed by 2014's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and continues with War for the Planet of the Apes, which is scheduled for release this summer. There have also been several new graphic novels & comic book series based on the films, including a crossover with the classic Star Trek crew. Now editors Rich Handley & Jim Beard bring us Planet of the Apes: Tales From The Forbidden Zone, an anthology featuring sixteen fascinating short stories set in the classic Apes universe. The backdrop for the stories spans the era of the five original films to the worlds of the 1970s live action & animated television series. The authors include such well-regarded science-fiction, fantasy & comics scribes as Nancy Collins, Will Murray, John Jackson Miller & Paul Kupperberg.
Standouts include Dayton Ward’s “Message In a Bottle” which acts as a coda to the live-action TV series; Bob Meyer’s “The Pacing Place” a "what if" style alternate ending (or is that a new beginning?) to the original 1968 movie, and “Milo’s Tale” by Ty Templeton, a story about the simian scientist who was featured in the 1973 film Escape from the Planet of the Apes. You’ll also find tales populated by such familiar faces as Cornelius, Zira, and Nova, as well as characters from the live action television show, and the Saturday morning animated series Return to the Planet of the Apes. Both editors contribute engrossing stories to the collection; Beard's "Silenced," moves across several settings & time periods from the Apes mythology and Handley's absorbing "The King is Dead - Long Live The King" takes place after the events of Battle for the Planet of the Apes, the final film in the original cycle.
The book also features “Of Monsters & Men,” Kevin J. Anderson and Sam Knight’s look at a young Dr. Zaius, and Greg Cox’s “Endangered Species” an intriguing tale set many years before the time period of the original 1968 film. There's even a story focusing on the mutants from Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Dan Abnett's "Unfired." This project is a labor of love for these fine writers, who are obviously fans of the Apes saga and its colorful characters. They've clearly taken the project seriously & therefore have provided us with some well-written, thought-provoking and entertaining genre fiction. Planet of the Apes: Tales From The Forbidden Zone is an enjoyable anthology of original tales set throughout the history of that frightening future world where intelligent apes rule, and man is subservient. As a longtime fan of the Apes epic, I had a great time reading this book, and I think you will, too. Planet of the Apes: Tales From The Forbidden Zone is now available online at sites such as Amazon and also at brick and mortar stores like Barnes & Noble.