12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Danel F. Griffin
- Published on Amazon.com
Brandon Fraser, eat your heart out!
What an odd, entertaining book this is. Written probably the cash in the success of Frankenstein, Jane Webb Loudon wrote it as a political satire and a tale of the supernatural. Distinguished because it is the first novel to feature the creature of the Living Mummy, the story centers around a corrupt English government in the year 2126, and Cheops, the resurrected-by-a-mad-scientist, 3000 year-old Mummy's attempts to fix it to earn a redemption from his accursed past.
In the meantime, there are battles that spark thoughts of Braveheart, and the whole thing is a fascinating mix of comedy, Gothic horror, politics, and science fiction. I am surprised this didn't become a great literary classic, ranked up there with Dracula and Frankenstein. Indeed, this story is equal to them in just about every way. Way ahead of its time both socially and in intelligence, thanks to this recent re-print, however, Jane Loudon's The Mummy has a chance to emerge in the full glory that it deserves!
Cornelia Amiri and Maeve Alpin
- Published on Amazon.com
"The ancient Egyptians you know, believed the souls of their mummies were chained to them in a torpid state till the final day of judgment, and supposing this hypotheses to be correct, there is every reason to imagine that by employing so powerful an agent as galvanism, re-animation may be produced."
The Mummy - A Tale Of The Twenty-Second Century, published in 1827, and written by a twenty year old woman, Jane Webb Louden. It was the first mummy book. The curse of the mummy premise is a purely Victorian, actually regency, creation. The Egyptians had no lore or myths of animated mummies walking around in all their wrappings. Though Jane Webb Loudon's book was the first, many Victorian authors wrote about them. The Victorians loved mummies like we love zombies.
In The Mummy, A Tale of The Twenty-Second Century, two of Loudon's characters,Edwin and Dr. Entwerfen embark on an expedition to the tomb of Cheops, to shock him back to life with a galvanized battery. Their dialogue, of leaving for Egypt and realizing they have too much baggage for the balloon, touches on some of Loudon's interesting futuristic, fiction inventions.
"I beg your pardon," returned the doctor, "the cloaks are of asbestos, and will be necessary to protect us from ignition, if we should encounter any electric matter in the clouds. The hampers are filled with elastic plugs for our ears and noses and tubes and barrels of common air, for us to breathe when we get beyond the earth's atmosphere."
"Then, that box contains my portable galvanic battery. And that, my apparatus for making and collecting the inflammable air. And that, my machine for producing and concentrating the quicksilver vapor, which is to serve as the propelling power to urge us onwards in the place of steam. And those bladders are filled with laughing gas, for the sole purpose of keeping up our spirits."
Other inventions in the book are: a steam powered mower, houses that move on a track like a train (you don't have to go to your summer house - you just move your house to a summery spot, by a lake or the sea) and a fast mail system, (ball shaped containers for the mail that are shot out of cannons to the home of the person they are addressed to).
One of the futuristic depictions I love most is when Loudon's describing the queen's court in the 22nd century, all of the women wear trousers. For a twenty-year old woman in the regency period, that's pretty forward thinking.
There are patches of the book that are hard for me to get into. Loudon's Regency era writing is often not as tight or fast paced as the modern writing I'm used to. I still found the book remarkable in many regards and I'm so glad I read it. I highly recommend it.