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.