One of the last projects overseen by science fiction titan Ray Bradbury before his death in 2012, this horror tale of a train besieged by a horde of vengeful walking Egyptian dead began life as poem published in 1977, which he then fashioned into an unproduced screenplay, and finally into the text of this artfully designed illustrated chapbook. It tells of a Trans-Egyptian Railway train, making its way across the Sahara Desert in the 1880s, when its fuel supply runs low. Fortuitously, its British passengers stumble upon a burial vault chock full of mummies whose tarred bandages make perfect fuel. But no sooner have cinders from the immolated corpses begun dusting the locomotive than weird phenomena erupt: mummified corpses appear sitting in the passenger seats, and an army of the resurrected dead—possibly the remains of those who helped to build the pyramids—swarms around the train, halting its travel. Bradbury's tale is less a full-fledged narrative than his description of scenes as he envisioned them in his screenplay. Artist Gary Gianni does a superb job of visualizing the horrors Bradbury conjures in meticulously sketched illustrations on nearly every spread that captures the grandeur of a once-regal civilization enduring a horrible desecration, the grotesquerie of the deteriorating corpses, and looks of fear on the people's faces worthy of a Tales from the Crypt comic. Fans of Bradbury's fiction will find this a worthy parting gift from a writer who left his indelible imprint on modern fantasy and science fiction. (Nov.)
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