- Paperback: 388 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (11 April 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 154529755X
- ISBN-13: 978-1545297551
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,126,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Mummy!: A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century Paperback – 11 Apr 2017
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Set in the 22nd Century Loudon did put some thought into this as she didn’t follow the path of other writers with regards to the future, thus in some ways harkening forwards to the likes of H G Wells. We are told of how the country is run and why this system has come about, and of wars that the British are facing, interestingly with at one point the Germans, and also the King of Ireland. It is interesting to see here how the mummy is brought back to life, which is by a more scientific means than what we are usually treated to nowadays, with incantations and so on.
So we have Cheops brought back to life, and interestingly instead of later mummy tales he doesn’t have supernatural powers and what have you, and the only thing that he can offer is the ‘Wisdom of the Ages’, which probably isn’t too bad a thing as this means he offers advice on political and other matters. Usually such tales represented the period they were written in, with just political alterations, but here other thoughts are taken into consideration, and so we have women wearing trousers, although asbestos dresses that are told of here never seem to have become a fashion item, or indeed gas powered head ornamentation, with lovely illumination caused by flames. Men’s fashions seem to be those of the New Romantics in many ways
New interest in this book may come about due to what we have here with regards for instance to steam power, and this may hold an appeal to those into what we now call steampunk. Although air travel unfortunately here takes place only by balloon, we do have travel by steam engines, and fully working automata. Originally published anonymously this did get some quite favourable reviews in the Press at the time, and ironically led to Jane getting married.
Although with the sci-fi element this does follow in many ways the convention of the period with regards to style and content, and so this does get melodramatic in places. As I have already mentioned, this will not be for everyone, but there is drama, intrigue and romance, as well as humour, some of it more of a satirical nature.
I was very kindly provided with a review copy of this by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The Mummy - A Tale Of The Twenty-Second Century, published in 1827, and written by a twenty year old woman, Jane Webb Louden. It was the first mummy book. The curse of the mummy premise is a purely Victorian, actually regency, creation. The Egyptians had no lore or myths of animated mummies walking around in all their wrappings. Though Jane Webb Loudon's book was the first, many Victorian authors wrote about them. The Victorians loved mummies like we love zombies.
In The Mummy, A Tale of The Twenty-Second Century, two of Loudon's characters,Edwin and Dr. Entwerfen embark on an expedition to the tomb of Cheops, to shock him back to life with a galvanized battery. Their dialogue, of leaving for Egypt and realizing they have too much baggage for the balloon, touches on some of Loudon's interesting futuristic, fiction inventions.
"I beg your pardon," returned the doctor, "the cloaks are of asbestos, and will be necessary to protect us from ignition, if we should encounter any electric matter in the clouds. The hampers are filled with elastic plugs for our ears and noses and tubes and barrels of common air, for us to breathe when we get beyond the earth's atmosphere."
"Then, that box contains my portable galvanic battery. And that, my apparatus for making and collecting the inflammable air. And that, my machine for producing and concentrating the quicksilver vapor, which is to serve as the propelling power to urge us onwards in the place of steam. And those bladders are filled with laughing gas, for the sole purpose of keeping up our spirits."
Other inventions in the book are: a steam powered mower, houses that move on a track like a train (you don't have to go to your summer house - you just move your house to a summery spot, by a lake or the sea) and a fast mail system, (ball shaped containers for the mail that are shot out of cannons to the home of the person they are addressed to).
One of the futuristic depictions I love most is when Loudon's describing the queen's court in the 22nd century, all of the women wear trousers. For a twenty-year old woman in the regency period, that's pretty forward thinking.
There are patches of the book that are hard for me to get into. Loudon's Regency era writing is often not as tight or fast paced as the modern writing I'm used to. I still found the book remarkable in many regards and I'm so glad I read it. I highly recommend it.
You could really call this book political fiction. Much of the book is devoted to the future of various political systems. Some of that is hilarious too. It was rather interesting to read what she feared would be the faults of democracy. Not that she was that far off…
Oh, parts of it were annoying. Especially the way she chose to illustrate her fear of universal education. Let me illustrate…
“...the haste I have made has impeded my respiration; and the blood, finding the pulmonary artery free, rushes with such force along the arterial canal to the aorta, that – that – I am in imminent danger of being suffocated...Besides a saline secretion distils from every pore of my skin, in a serous transudation, from the excessive exertions I have made use of.”
Everyone, below a certain social class, speaks this way, all the time. No matter the emotional stress of the moment, they kept the same speech pattern. Thankfully, they aren't part of the story very often after the beginning so forge ahead.
Have you noticed I haven’t said anything about the Mummy? He barely shows up. When he does he acts more like a ghost than a corporeal freak. I won’t spoil the ending by speaking of the ‘aid’ he renders everyone, but it was unusual, to say the least.
Unfortunately, the characters are completely unbelievable. There was more fainting, and running from the scene in fits of passion than I seen in any other book. There isn’t a character who doesn’t behave in the most inexplicably obstinate or impulsive fashion on most occasions. After a while, even that starts adding to the humor of the book.
The plot is interesting but is seriously hurt by the poor characters and lack of a realistic timetable.
I would still recommend you read it. It was very enjoyable. The different perspective was interesting, amusing, and at times aggravating. Oh yes, you’ll never guess what new fabrics they have ‘discovered’ to make into clothes. That was really funny.
I received an ARC of this book for free from NetGalley and Dover Publications. No review was required, but it was my pleasure to write it.
What an odd, entertaining book this is. Written probably the cash in the success of Frankenstein, Jane Webb Loudon wrote it as a political satire and a tale of the supernatural. Distinguished because it is the first novel to feature the creature of the Living Mummy, the story centers around a corrupt English government in the year 2126, and Cheops, the resurrected-by-a-mad-scientist, 3000 year-old Mummy's attempts to fix it to earn a redemption from his accursed past.
In the meantime, there are battles that spark thoughts of Braveheart, and the whole thing is a fascinating mix of comedy, Gothic horror, politics, and science fiction. I am surprised this didn't become a great literary classic, ranked up there with Dracula and Frankenstein. Indeed, this story is equal to them in just about every way. Way ahead of its time both socially and in intelligence, thanks to this recent re-print, however, Jane Loudon's The Mummy has a chance to emerge in the full glory that it deserves!