cover image The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black

E.B. Hudspeth. Quirk, $24.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-59474-616-1

Hudspeth provides the biography of fictional 19th-century scientist and surgeon Spencer Black, whose work takes a dark turn when he develops a theory that birth defects are latent body memories—the body’s attempt to return to some earlier, more “perfect” form. Black’s attempts to recreate these genetic models are described through biographical writing and excerpts from his diary, creating an image of a dreadful human who is blinded by his own faulty theories. The majority of the work is taken up with Black’s magnum opus, The Codex Extinct Animalia, which contains brief descriptions of the creatures Black created, along with extensive drawings showing their appearance, skeletons, and musculature. While the textual portion of the work is horrific, the artistic portion is almost clinical in its detachment, making the interaction of the two all the more disturbing. The book is a welcome addition to any library of dark fantasy, with its beautiful portraiture and gripping description of a man’s descent into perversity. (May)