After my less than enthusiastic review of EDGE’s Expiration Date, I feel like I’m kicking the company with my less than enthusiastic review of another of their offerings.
I don’t really have it out for the company. I liked their Technicolor Ultra Mall, my first ever commissioned review.
Still, it was a struggle to write this one up because so many of these stories were mediocre and unmemorable. By mediocre, I don’t mean bad or of unacceptable quality, just unremarkable. Unlike the stars of a recent podcast I listened to, I know by definition that the outputs of any profession, including that of writers, is going to be mediocre. (Assuming, as Mr. Taleb would note, the range of quality follows a Gaussian distribution.) You probably live in a house with mediocre plumbing with mediocre food in the refrigerator, but you’re not going to forsake either.
Still, I promised a review in exchange for this book from LibraryThing. I’m not going to skimp on coverage. As usual, everyone and everything will get covered.
So … let’s get this over with.
Review: nEvermore!: Tales of Murder, Mystery and the Macabre, eds. Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles, 2015.
This anthology has an even more diffuse effect than Ellen Datlow’s Poe. Both allowed a variety of stories in, not all of a fantastic nature. Poe was a more protean author than generally realized. (A point Uwe Sommerland’s opening article, “A Rather Scholarly View of Edgar Allan Poe, Genre-Crosser“, makes well.) He wrote in a variety of tones and styles and more than just the macabre and mystery stories he is most remembered for.
The connection many of the stories have to Poe is not obvious apart from the authors’ foreword though some are quite explicit takeoffs on Poe’s work.
Lest you get bored, let’s start us with the best.
The razor-wielding orangutan of Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” gets to tell his side of things in Robert Lopresti’s “Street of the Dead House”. He’s one of those science experiments gone wrong. A large mansion on the shores of British Columbia, a large family, and a family secret are the heroine’s inheritance in Robert Bose’s effective “Atargatis”. An archaeologist’s involvement in a police investigation and a pagan cult result in the oh-so-Poe ending of burial alive in Michael Jecks’ “The Deave Lane”.
Loren Rhoads places her series heroine Alondra DeCourval in Venice to put a stop to a rash of suicides in “The Drowning City”. Tanith Lee’s “The Return of Berenice” ruminates on the follow up to Poe’s odd tale of obsession and dental horror, “Berenice” — moody and effective. Continue reading