Monday, May 19, 2014

Stories from King David and the Spiders from Mars #3

Alter Reiss's “The Chronicle of Aliyat Son of Aliyat” begins when a veiled stranger, an exile from Judah, comes to Ashdod, a Philistine city on the coast of Canaan. (The closest Philistine city to Jerusalem, Ashdod is notable in the Old Testament as the place to which the Philistines brought the captured Ark of the Covenant.) The stranger impresses and terrifies with his ability to inflict leprosy. A male and female slave suffer the demonstration before Aliyat, the king of Ashdod. Reiss tells his story in a Biblical, prophetic tone.

“Hear me, O King of Ashdod,” said the stranger, and he spoke in the old tongue of Ashdod. “Judah in the hills is like a stick that is rotten in its heart. They drove me forth, so I have given their king over to leprosy, and their people to the slaughter. I have come before you, Aliyat son of Aliyat, to offer you a precious gift, that will see your enemies driven before you, and will see the walls of your city rise up even to the heavens.”
Aliyat accepts the stranger's offer and builds him a temple so that the stranger can worship and sacrifice to his god in secret. The stranger enriches Aliyat and the power of the city grows. The king's enemies suffer plagues. But at what cost does Aliyat prosper? All is not well in Ashdod. The priest of Moloch flees the city in fear after conversing with the stranger and the beloved priest of Dagon, who speaks out against the stranger, suffers a disease of the kidneys and dies. With his power growing, Aliyat no longer hears the voices of the people, priests, or nobles of Ashdod, a deafness that he assumes to his peril.

Fans of H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos will find this tale's conclusion especially interesting. Reiss's ability to maintain the Biblical tone throughout this cautionary tale of greed and betrayal is most impressive.

To learn more about Alter Reiss and his work, check out his website Look out! Octopus!. “The Chronicle of Aliyat Son of Aliyat” is the third story in King David and the Spiders from Mars. To win a paperback or ebook copy of the anthology, enter the May Giveaway: King David and the Spiders from Mars.


  1. "Look out! Octopus!" is the funniest blog name I've ever heard! I'm wishing Alter, you, and all the other anthology writers many sales and good reviews! :)

    1. Thanks for reading, Lexa. It's a cool collection and I'm humbled to be a part of it.

  2. Replies
    1. Alter does such an amazing job with the style and tone, you'll think you're reading something from biblical times.