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Shelfies: The Book of the Dead

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The Book of the Dead, Jurassic London

Every so often, I get blind-sided by a book that I seemingly should have known about long before its publication. The Book of the Dead (from Jurassic London) is one such book. This book is so in my wheelhouse, because Egypt and history and mummies, and it’s a tremendous read.

If this book were a pop song, we’d summarize it with Macklemore and say “This is fucking awesome.” (It’s also illustrated, guys. Come on! Crazy good.)

So, mummies.

Mummies fascinate me in way zombies don’t, and I have never been able to quite figure out why. People were mummified in a variety of cultures, and while zombies have roots in Vodou, I never connected as deeply with that history as I did with mummies, be they from Egypt, Peru, or European bogs. There’s something about mummies, which this collection of short fiction proves very well indeed.

The mummies herein aren’t limited to Egypt, though Egypt and its kings are well covered. You will find Russian Steppes herein, and alternate histories, and even short works that connect to novels (as with Gail Carriger’s story, which connects nicely to her Parasol Protectorate novels).

The stories reach from the ancient world to the far future; the modern world is not immune to mummies, no. You will walk museum halls. A beagle will speak to you. You may melt a little around the edges when you see how a young bullied boy retreats into the world of the mummy to survive his own daily horrors.

And hey, cats. Cats and mummies seem to go hand in hand. The Best Use of a Cat Within a Mummy Story (int his volume) probably goes to Molly Tanzer (with whom I am acquainted, I probably must note); I found her “Mysterium Tremendum” surprising in more than one way, and if you want to know more…you’re just going to have to pick this book up.

It’s a keeper!

(Even fuller disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher after contributor Jesse Bullington put out a call on his Facebook page.)

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