The Mammoth Book of the Mummy
by Paula Guran
Diamond Book Distributors
The Mummy. What does that noun, “Mummy”, conjure in your mind? In my very strange mind, I get side by side pictures. One is the mummy I saw in the Smithsonian when I was in 7th grade (many, many years ago). The other is of the fantastic, wonderful Boris Karloff so very expressive while wrapped in linen. The new mummy movies have not changed that second image for me.
When the reader thinks about mummies in literature, the reader has to put effort into it. There just are not a plethora of mummy stories, not like vampires, werewolves or zombies. That may be because not many writers tried to work with them. Thank goodness Paula Guran collected nineteen short stories that expand and twist the typical mummy in such a way that while preserving the time honored concept allows a creative spin that leaves the reader hanging on for dear life.
The authors and stories in the book are:
* That I May Speak (Introduction to collection), Paula Guran - Guran does an excellent job of navigating the world of mummies both in film and literature.
* “Private Grave 9”, Karen Joy Fowler
* “The Good Shabti”, Robert Sharp - This story cuts between Ancient Egypt and the not too distant future. The sense of dread builds in both ages until there is a clash that I did not see coming. Great story.
* “Egyptian Revival”, Angela Slatter - This was one of my favorites. Imagine a strong, feminine Private Investigator in the Ancient Egyptian religion is proven to be real. Antiquities are now not just collectibles, they are possible gateways to immortality. A fun story. I will be adding the author to my list of new authors to check out.
* “The Queen in Yellow”, Kage Baker - Mummies and time travel. Oh and cyborgs.
* “On Skua Island”, John Langan - This one was creepy in a “they need to make this into a movie” creepy. Very good non-Egyptian mummy.
* “Ramesses on the Frontier”, Paul Cornell - I have read several books by Paul Cornell and he never disappoints. His Ramesses trip through the underworld is funny and unique and an excellent story.
* “The Shaddowes Box”, Terry Dowling
* “Egyptian Avenue”, Kim Newman - This one was really cool. I have read several of Kim Newman’s books involving his Diogenes Club. This story has that wonderful blend of supernatural and Scotland Yard. A very enjoyable story.
* “The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar”, Gail Carriger - My favorite of the collection. It does have a werewolf who isn’t, a mummy and a cat in the jar. It also has a character that I haven’t decided what he is and an author who I already put one of her books on hold at my local library.
* “The Night Comes On”, Steve Duffy - I enjoyed this one also. I will check out the author’s other work.
* “American Mummy”, Stephen Graham Jones - This was a good story set in the modern day southwestern USA.
* “Bubba-Ho-Tep”, Joe R. Lansdale - I did not see the movie that was based on this story. It did not really do anything for me but then again I am not an Elvis fan.
* “Fruit of the Tomb”, Carole Nelson Douglas - I loved this story. Having become a first time cat owner seven months ago, I can truly appreciate the worship of cats. Heart of Night is worthy of that worship.
* “The Chapter of Coming Forth by Night”, Lois Tilton & Noreen Doyle
* “The Mummy’s Heart”, Norman Partridge
* “The Emerald Scarab”, Keith Taylor
* “The Embalmer”, Helen Marshall - Not your typical mummy and two children I never want to cross paths with.
* “Tollund”, Adam Roberts
* “Three Memories of Death”, Will Hill - Another one of my favorites. A beautiful, touching story.
The Mammoth Book of the Mummy, which I received from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review, blew up the all my previous conceptions of what a mummy is. I discovered several new authors and broaden my imagination. I highly recommend The Mammoth Book of the Mummy. I hope to see other authors try their hand at this neglected beautiful genre.