Rhysop’s Fables – Rhys Hughes

Gloomy Seahorse Press (2014)
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RHYSOP’S FABLES
Unhelpful and irresponsible fables for the modern age

I have just purchased this book direct from the printer and intend to carry out one of my real-time reviews of it. There are 207 fables and I intend to review each one on a daily bedtime basis just as I am reviewing the same author’s flash fictions here on a daily breakfast basis. Of course, I cannot guarantee it will always be on a daily basis if normal life intervenes!

My previous real-time reviews of Rhys Hughes works are linked from HERE.

MY REVIEW WILL SOON START IN THE COMMENT STREAM BELOW:

44 thoughts on “Rhysop’s Fables – Rhys Hughes

  1. POLISHING OFF THE BOSS
    Tonight, I feel this is a very apt fable of polishing machine tools for my starting to read this book and not only because it is the first one – but also because of my having been triggered to read it by my reviewing this very morning the same author’s flash fiction fable entitled ‘The Tools’. My moral: ‘follow your synchronicity’. This fable’s alternative moral: ‘don’t be undermined by an undermind’.

  2. SALAD DAYS
    A friendship between a carrot and fox. A moral about dressing for the part.
    I anticipate having one of these reactions to each Rhysop’s Fable:
    1. It made me think more than just superficially.
    2. It made me laugh.
    3. Both 1 and. 2.
    0. Neither 1 or 2.
    This one was 3.

  3. NOTHING TO CROW ABOUT
    I am busy this evening, so I have had my daily rhysop fable-fix just now. This is fable as incest. Think about it. By the way, I won’t be using the word ‘anthropomorphic’ in this review because from within such fables it tightens its grip as a tautology.

  4. THE CARAVAN
    I was inclined to give this trite wordplay of a feeble fable about a camel a 0 rating on my gauge above, but its punchline moral was so cringingly bad, I actually found myself laughing at exactly how bad, so it gets a 2 instead.

  5. BENDING THE KNEE
    I bend my knees, one by one, in obeisance to this fable that made me think more than just superficially. My alternative moral: piecemeal coordination can never match simultaneous cooperation.
    Just remembered that these fables are meant to be unhelpful and irresponsible. Well, this one failed on both those counts at once! Moral: a fabulist cannot control his own morals!

    • I am convinced that the ‘horror’ genre has a fundamental logic contradiction as its core (which is what this fable is about). I am trying to explain this contradiction in an article that I have been writing for years. I really ought to try and finish it.

      • Ah, a responsible and helpful fable, after all. I agree with your logical contradiction as I understand it. But I don’t think there is such a thing as a pure horror genre with there being so many blurred margins to all sorts of fiction that crisscross the speculative and fantastic branch of literature.

  6. Perhaps they were prime New South Wales buttocks judging by the juicy flesh fiction I reviewed a few minutes ago on the ‘Flash in the Pantheon’ thread? Anyway I shall not have time this evening to review TELLING THE TELLERS, so here goes now… This is a telling fable about the telling of stories and if story-tellers feel they are not properly valued mischief might be the result! No more than is deserved. There can be no easy sop to soppiness.

  7. When I wrote these Fables I thought they would be more popular than most of my work, but it has turned out to be the other way around. They aren’t popular at all. This shows how little I know about the business, my “audience” (real and potential) and the reality of telling stories on the ground… There’s a fable in this situation, I feel, but no need for me to write it: I am living it. 🙂

    • I think some of your fables will appeal to certain readers, others to other people, a few special ones to everyone, a few weak ones possibly to nobody! Some seem decidedly soppy, others more creatively nonsensical, a few downright polemical. At the end of this whole book, a pattern may emerge that will transcend any perceived weak ones. We shall see. I am convinced it is a book that is worth reading for that eventually emerging positive gestalt.
      For me, THE HIPPY BEACH is saved by the happy conceit of a grain of sand in conversation with a cloud being the vehicle of what I infer to be your anti-hippy polemics.

  8. Thanks. ‘Teasing’ is good word for most of the fables I have read in this book so far. Teasing as teasing out meanings and conceits as well as teasing in the sense of gently making fun of all living anthropomorphs, including any of the already human kind, those fictionalised two-legged creatures who are fabulously ascribed real human characteristics and thus become in our minds affectionately empathisable anthropomorphisations of fallible mankind. Teasing the moth in NET PROFIT with its own behaviour when faced with a bright heat source is most poignantly done. Including the possible promise of recurrent reincarnation with the moth’s behaviour being hinted at as learned behaviour?

  9. THE WHEELS OF CHANCE
    A fleeing from ill-treatment by a book and knife on a bike, a fable upon the theme of practicality versus theory.
    My attempt at an alternative moral about a book and a knife: books that are stabbed to death become ebooks.

  10. BANDIT AND THE BRIDGE
    Culling badgers is bad, too.
    Although an average cow probably weighs less than an average mammoth, the result would have been the same, I’m guessing. Unless the mammoth was a book, like the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror that, despite its thickness, could possibly have made the crossing without such negative results as the real mammoth or the average cow. Another fable altogether if the Mammoth book had been a Mammoth ebook, though.

  11. HOLIDAY SUN
    The concept of the sun going on holiday and then being viewed by the inhabitants of its holiday destination as an unwelcome immigrant is so BIZARRE, even as polemical satire, I am speechless.

  12. THE CLOCKWORK DRAGON
    There is a certain world where these Rhysop fables take place, a place where deadpan nonsense happens as if it all makes sense to those in that world – with no fear of outlandish puns and wordtricks dispersing such inner acceptance of the deadpan world.
    I fear (or hope?) that by the time I reach the 207th fable I shall be in that world, too! And what worth my reviews then?

  13. THE GIANT WALKING SKELETON
    As a seasoned reader of Rhys Hughes fiction, even I continue to learn more about it, gradually becoming increasingly adept at appreciating it. I just reviewed elsewhere a short fiction by him entitled ‘Stale Air’ which ends by calling itself a ‘silly story’, but it wasn’t silly at all. This skeleton fable seems silly to me, but on that evidence it probably isn’t. It’s just that I’ve still got more to learn about Rhys Hughes fiction. Even bones breathe.

  14. A LOT OF BOTTLE
    This is coincidentally the second Rhys fiction I’ve read today about a bottle. This one is dangerously close to being sexist, saved, thankfully, by me being confused as to who was studying maths, the bottle or the beer inside it? Another universal conundrum for the Rhysop’s Fables fan.

  15. A SPIKY ELECTION
    Well, some of these fables stay with you. This is one that won’t. Nothing to redeem it, I’m afraid.
    It lost its deposit. Screaming Lord Sutch would have done better.

  16. THE BRAIN OF MÖBIUS
    Now this is a great witty fable, and is a lesson for most of us who decide to read a book like Rhysop’s Fables. And as an added bonus I learnt what a Klein Bottle is!

  17. imageJAM ON AN AARDVARK’S NOSE
    This is probably my favourite fable so far, but I don’t know why! Or perhaps I do, as well as loving apricot jam. In future, the sort of failed originality that this fable’s moral entails will be called the Ocarina Syndrome. A moral, I infer, against the Avant Garde by using the Avant Garde itself. This Ocarina Syndrome also featured coincidentally in the Flash in the Pantheon work I reviewed this morning…

  18. MISSED OPPORTUNITY
    This fable so comprehensively out-Rhys Hughes Rhys Hughes himself that I fear for the rest of the book to rise to its level. Better jettison some of the more leaden jokes, I reckon. Seriously, another gem.

  19. I think it’s original. I’m pretty darn sure it is. But I wouldn’t be surprised if someone dug out something by some writer that says the same thing… It’s possible to be original but it certainly isn’t easy. There are simply too many of us, writing, writing, writing, and have been too many of us for too many centuries…

    • Such endings should be patented like inventions. Congratulations, Rhys; it certainly took me by surprise when I read it, and I was impressed by its striking simplicity as an original conceit in its context.

  20. THE ROOK AND THE JACKDAW
    A fable of the corvine in chess. As a child I often wondered why the castle was called a rook. I still don’t know, nor do I know what to say about this very strange work. But it has been caught in an eternal dream simply by thinking hard about it, even though that thinking actually failed to reach a conclusion.

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