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Book Review: Famous Fantastic Mysteries: Great Tales of Fantasy and Horror from the Classic Pulp Magazines

Famous Fantastic Mysteries

Famous Fantastic Mysteries offers you 3 novellas and 27 short stories published in two vintage pulp magazines — Fantastic Novels and Famous Fantastic Mysteries – from 1900 to 1950. All pieces come with a brief introduction about the author and a short history of the story itself. Most of these stories can be categorized as horror though a few can be labeled as SF.

For pulp fans, this is a delightful journey. Reading these stories gives you a feeling of travelling in a time machine. It’s like listening to classic radio programs like “Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons”.

You will get to read forgotten pulp masters (like August Derleth) of whom you haven’t read enough. You will also come across some cool writers you haven’t heard of (Robert W. Chambers, Arthur Machen to name a few). And of course, the book features your old favorites like Lovecraft, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clark.

To enjoy this anthology, you need to be in love with the old times and should be game for a high degree of willing suspension of disbelief. Being old stuff, some stories bank on unexplored earth. “Fungus Isle” by Philip M. Fisher is one such example. Yeah, you use Google Earth, but being logical won’t help.

Expect some predictable and clichéd pieces like Max Brand’s “John Ovington Returns”. But these are largely outnumbered by a huge number of remarkable stories, which include E. F. Benson’s “The Outcast” and Howard’s “Worms of the Earth”. Nasty twists and creepy plots keep you well entertained.

Some of the stories are rather common and have been reprinted a number of times; so you might find them in many anthologies. But then, these gems might have been lost if they were not reprinted from time to time.

This is a great treasure for people who are interested in haunting aspects of pulp fiction and will also appeal to curious newbies.

Contents

1. Behind the Curtain by Francis Stevens.
2. Pegasus by Henry Kuttner.
3.The Face in the Abyss by A. Merritt.
4. Fungus Isle by Philip M. Fisher.
5. John Ovington Returns by Max Brand.
6. Fishhead by Irvin S. Cobb.
7. The Outcast by E.F. Benson.
8. The Yellow Sign by Robert W. Chambers.
9.The Derelict by William Hope Hodgson.
10. The Novel of the White Powder by Arthur Machen.
11. The Highwayman by Lord Dunsany.
12. Daemon by C. L Moore.
13. The Burial of the Rats by Bram Stoker.
14.The Day of the Deepies by Murray Leinster.
15. The Horror of the Heights by Arthur Conan Doyle.
16. The Lonesome Place by August Derleth.
17. The Shadow and the Flash by Jack London.
18. That Low by Theodore Sturgeon.
19. The Human Angle by William Tenn.
20. The Toys of Fate by Tod Robbins.
21. The Counter Charm by Margaret St. Clair.
22. Guardian Angel by Authur C. Clarke.
23. Mimic Donald A. Wollheim.
24. The Music of Erich Zann by H. P. Lovecraft.
25. The Dancing Partner by Jerome Lucas White.
26. Lukundoo by Edward Lucas White.
27. The Man Who Collected Poe by Robert Bloch.
28. Thus I Refute Beelzy by John Collier.
29. Homecoming by Ray Bradbury.
30. Worms of the Earth by Robert E. Howard.

Edited by: Martin H. Greenberg, Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, and Robert Weinberg

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