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Out of the Woods (2017)

Out of the Woods (2017) came around quite a while after the first two Out books, but I can’t help but file them together, since they all, well, incorporate the word . There are worse arguments.

Five scenarios here. Ruth Tillman’s is a house party who-done-it, but with ghouls. This, like a masquerade ball, is a scenario frame that I always enjoy. This one comes together nicely, has some fun callbacks to some Lovecraft stories and is probably my fave in the book. Adam Gauntlett’s effort involves the guillotine, fairie lore, King Arthur, werewolves and Glaaki in a strange remix of Arthurian legends. This one is probably too clever for its own good. Chris Spivey (creator of Harlem Unbound and Haunted West) involves an integrated unit of the Civilian Conservation Corps, serpent people and the Dreamlands. I love the imagery of the half-cut tree that this scenario is built around and how it generally makes motions at a variety of social and political commentary while also being a solid scare fest. Good stuff. Lauren Roy’s scenario is one of those murky moral choice jams, but it centers on Ithaqua, the wind-walker, and I am kind of not feeling wind-walker scenarios these days. Aaron Vanek’s Trembling Giant is pretty great, though, ascribing dark secrets to the very real Pando — a colonial grove of aspen trees that is probably the largest and oldest living thing on the planet. This one goes in a similar direction as Ben Wheatley’s film In the Earth and I’m all about it.

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