March Books 12) Unearthed, eds. John J. Johnston and Jared Shurin
Second paragraph from the third story:
“Seeds of some unknown Egyptian plant,” replied Forsyth, with a sudden shadow on his dark face, as he looked down at the three scarlet grains lying in the white hand lifted to him. [from "Lost in a Pyramid", by Louisa May Alcott]
Well, who'd have thought that the author of Little Women was writing mummy stories in her spare time, eh? I got this because the opening essay has been nominated in the Best Non-Fiction category for the BSFA Awards, but more on that in due course. This is an anthology of mummy stories from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; basically once you've read one mummy story you've read them all. The two standouts here are Edgar Allan Poe's "Some Words With a Mummy", which punctures the pride of his own contemporaries, and "The Unseen Man's Story" by Julian Hawthorne (son of Nathaniel) which I felt added a little more conviction to the standard tropes. On the other hand the two stories by Arthur Conan Doyle are entirely in the same style as his Sherlock Holmes work without being nearly as good, and Charles Bump's "The Vanished Mummy" is a tale of a modern student prank. On Steve Mollmann's recommendation, I hope some day to read The Mummy!: A Tale of the Twenty-second Century by Jane Webb (later Jane Loudon), which kicked the whole sub-genre off back in 1827.