A couple of months ago, in a special edition of the British Genre Fiction Focus for Tor.com, it was a pride and a privilege to be the blogger behind the reveal of Jurassic London's latest anthology project.
I had loved the not-for-profit small press's last anthology, The Lowest Heaven — reviewed right here — and I was pulled in by the premise of The Book of the Dead as well:
The Book of the Dead addresses the most fascinating of all the undead: the mummy. This anthology includes nineteen original stories of revenge, romance, monsters and mayhem, ranging freely across time periods, genres and styles. Paul Cornell takes an Egyptian monarch on an unusual — and contemporary — journey to redemption in 'Ramesses on the Frontier'; Gail Carriger gives readers a peek into the history of the Parasol Protectorate series and the Tarabotti family in 'The Curious Case of the Werewolf that Wasn’t, The Mummy that Was and the Cat in the Jar'; Maria Dahvana Headley raises discomfiting new questions about the candy industry in 'Bit-U-Men'; and Jesse Bullington features a young man who finds an unlikely role model in 'Escape from the Mummy’s Tomb.'
Illustrated by Garen Ewing, creator of The Adventures of Julius Chancer, and introduced by John J. Johnston, Vice Chair of the Egypt Exploration Society — which The Book of the Dead is published in collaboration with — the anthology also contains new stories from David Thomas Moore, David Bryher, Molly Tanzer, Sarah Newton, Lou Morgan, Maurice Broaddus, Adam Roberts, Michael West, Den Patrick, Roger Luckhurst, Jenni Hill, Glen Mehn, Jonathan Green, Louis Greenberg and Will Hill.
An abominably promising assortment of authors, yes — and in the hands of a demonstrably excellent editor. Truth be told, though, on the surface the mummy seemed to me a markedly less fascinating subject than the exploration of space. So when the one and only Jared Shurin asked if I'd be interested in putting together something supplementary in support of the anthology's release later this week, I guess I hedged my bets a bit: I suggested we approach a couple of the contributors and ask them to explain why they believe that the mummy is still alive and kicking in fiction.
In any event, all that was then. Now? Well, reading through my review copy of The Book of the Dead in recent weeks, I've had cause to reassess my initial position. Suddenly, I'm in the mood for mummies. I look forward to explaining exactly why in my full review of the book on The Speculative Scotsman this Friday.
Between now and then, we'll be celebrating the imminent unveiling of The Book of the Dead with an awesome assortment of guest posts, beginning at 2PM tomorrow — as usual — with an absolutely brilliant bit by Maria Dahvana Headley, author of Queen of Kings: another rather goodly book I've reviewed. On Wednesday, Jonathan Green argues that love is what makes the mummy so appealing, and on Thursday, David Bryher stops by to discuss our enduring adoration of the undead.
They're just great guest posts, guys. I can only hope you enjoy them half as much as I have.