cover image Spirits Unwrapped

Spirits Unwrapped

Edited by Daniel Braum. Lethe, $15 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-1-59021-695-8

Braum (The Serpent’s Shadow) compiles 14 spins on the traditional mummy story: some comedic, some horrifying, most satisfying, a few disappointing. In David Wellington’s “Mummy Fever,” Neferkare-ka-Imsety, known as Neville, goes looking for his Canopic jars. Leanna Renee Hieber’s lighthearted “The Mummy of Rue de la Croix” shares the truth behind a mysterious mummy that appears at the end of a medium’s stage performance. Others are gorier: Rhodi Hawk’s “Leather Man’s Holler” is built on folklore about a man who lures victims into caves before killing them, and Inna Effress’s “Birthright” features a daughter who murders her father and fillets his body. Further afield, John Langan’s “Oscar Returns from the Dead, Prophesizing” includes a reanimated pet lizard who can see the future, and Thana Niveau’s “Into Something Rich and Strange” lands on a distant planet where a strange ribbonlike creature attacks the crew. While many stories innovate on the mummy theme, some backfire, creating perplexing stories that fall flat in the end. Fans of campy and creepy mummy stories will find plenty to like here. (Oct.)