The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales

Mark Samuels, Author
Mark Samuels, Chômu (Ingram, dist.), $12.50 trade paper (178p) ISBN 978-1-907681-05-9
Reviewed on: 01/17/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
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Homages to the work of some of fantastic fiction's best and brightest writers stand out in this journeyman weird fiction collection. In the title tale, an enthusiast of classic supernaturalist Arthur Machen achieves a rapport with the writer that few fans ever could—or would ever want. "Nor Unto Death Utterly by Edmund Bertrand" is a pastiche of Poe's death-and-the-maiden scenarios, while "A Contaminated Text" evokes Borges in its account of an accursed book that taints all books housed with it in a Mexican library. Though several premises are too forced and self-consciously allegorical, other selections are effective dark fantasies, notably "A Question of Obeying Orders," which includes a well-executed shock ending. Samuels (The Face of Twilight) is clearly well-read in fantastic fiction, giving these accessible tales a not unpleasant air of familiarity. (Mar.)
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