My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I Kickstarted this book because Poe was my first literary crush 40-mumble years ago. I knew Nancy from her vampire novels and because she contributed an essay to Morbid Curiosity magazine. I tell you all this because I have a story in this book that I’m extremely proud of — and I think this is not a five-star book. Context is important.
The collection opens with a story by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro that is the weakest in the book. It’s way too long and the only interesting thing happens in a rushed paragraph at the end. It’s followed immediately by Robert Lopesti’s “Street of the Dead House,” which is being reprinted in all the Year’s Best collections. It’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue” as told by the orangutan.
The quality continues to seesaw through the rest of the book. The highlights are amazing: Christopher Rice’s “Naomi” (The Telltale Heart), “The Masques of Amanda Llado” by Thomas Roche, Robert Bose’s “Atargatis,” Barbara Fradkin’s “The Lighthouse,” and especially Richard Christian Matheson’s “133” (Ligeia). That one is brief and completely devastating. David Morrell’s “The Opium-Eater” is lovely and effective (and only available in the print version of the book), but its connection to Poe seems tenuous.
Other contributors to the book include Tanith Lee, Margaret Atwood, William Nolan, Nancy Holder, Lisa Morton, and Kelley Armstrong.
Overall, nEvermore is a fascinating collection. It goes far in demonstrating Poe’s range from Gothic fantasy to urban fantasy to mystery to revenge to horror and even dips a toe into science fiction. It illustrates the breadth of his influence. While I wish it was a perfect collection, it is very, very good. Most of all, it’s inspired me to return to the original stories and enjoy Poe all over again.
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