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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-worn selection with some gems, 19 Jun 2012
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Chinatown Blue "cthulhoid" (S-O-T, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mummy Megapack: 20 Modern and Classic Tales (Kindle Edition)
This collection of twenty tales is quite varied; some of them are old, familiar anthology material but others were quite new to me. The quality is also varied, from excellent to poor in writing and in editing. It looks to me as if most have been lifted out of public domain works by single authors and put together without any further editing, so there are somewhat jarring differences in style of presentation and degree of accuracy. The Leadbeater stories, for instance, have quite a few typos, and footnotes have come adrift in a way which becomes quite confusing at times. Not all of them really match the theme, either, some of them only linked by mentions of Egypt. Still, at the price it is worth reading for the few gems. The contents are:-
1: Sympathy For Mummies by John Gregory Bettancourt. A short comic story I had not seen before.
2: Some Words With a Mummy by Edgar Allen Poe. Not so new, but to anyone unfamiliar with Poe as a comic writer quite interesting.
3: The Power of Waking by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. I had never come across this author before, and I found this story of a child attending the unwrapping of a mummy both fascinating and poetic.
4: The Mummy's Foot by Jessie Adelaide Middleton. This one has cropped up a few times before, a short and somewhat inconclusive ghost story.
5: Lost in a Pyramid by Louisa May Alcott. I was startled to find the author of `Little Women' featured here (though perhaps knowing the fondness for the likes of E Nesbit for the horror genre I shouldn't be). The style is melodramatic in the extreme, but it is quite an impressive horror story.
6: The Ring of Thoth by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. No surprises here, this is possibly one of the most anthologised stories based on mummies in print. Actually it is a romantic adventure of an immortal seeking his beloved.
7: The Romance of a Mummy by Theophile Gautier. In my view one of the worst on the collection, and certainly the longest. It is a very long and tedious love story, at least two thirds of which is taken up with elaborate descriptions of ancient Egypt - the landscape, the houses, the clothes, the make-up, the daily routines... At times it seems like you are reading two different works, a guide book for some exhibition of Egyptian antiquities and a Biblical romance.
8: The Green God by William Call Spencer. Another little-known author and an unfamiliar tale, this is a pulp adventure of shipwrecked sailors.
9: The Book of Thoth by Lafcadio Hearn. The celebrated collector of Japanese ghost stories turns his hand (very successfully) to retelling an ancient Egyptian legend.
10: An Aztec Mummy by C B Cory. A rare western tale with a comic slant.
11: Lot No 249 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Probably the only mummy story as much anthologised as The Ring of Thoth, this is Doyle's excellent thriller of dark supernatural doings at a famous university.
12: The Mummy's Foot by Theophile Gautier. Having ploughed through Gautier's other work I didn't expect much from this, but found it quite a pleasant romantic fantasy.
13: The Story of Baelbrow by E and H Heron. These authors created a psychic detective, Flaxman Low, who was in his heyday almost as famous as the real ghost-hunter Harry price. In this interesting tale Low encounters a malignant mummy.
14: A Professor of Egyptology by Guy Boothby. A nicely intriguing romantic pulp adventure.
15: My New Year's Eve Among the Mummies by Grant Allen. A comic fantasy which would be easier to read if the transfer to ebook had not left it with question marks substituting for other punctuation, such as brackets.
16: Whatever Was Forgotten by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. A very touching and unusual story from the point of view of a mummified Egyptian.
17: The Forsaken Temple by C W Leadbeater. A dubious and overblown spiritualist fantasy by the famous Theosophist.
18: The Doom of Al Zameri by Henri Iliowizi. A tale garnered from traditional middle eastern folklore about the Wandering Jew, Moses and a fugitive sultan.
19: Obsession, Possession by Elliot O'Donnell. A rather long and garbled preamble about `spirit germs' leads up to a highly melodramatic and insubstantial anecdote.
20: The Perfume of Egypt by C W Leadbeater. Plagued by misplaced footnotes and having no real connection to the `mummy' theme, this is nonetheless an interesting ghost story.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality, 4 Jan 2014
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I am nearing completion of this book and will say that at least 18 of the 20 Classic(!) tales are rubbish and not worth reading.
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