- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing (Aug. 14 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1770530851
- ISBN-13: 978-1770530850
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 358 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #548,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
nEvermore!: Tales of Murder, Mystery and the Macabre. Neo-Gothic fiction inspired by the imagination of Edgar Allan Poe Paperback – Aug 14 2015
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"Poe accomplished what only the greatest writers are capable of achieving: the creation of a world. His was a world of twisty tales and dark comeuppances, his people haunted by the past and love denied. And this is what you'll also find in nEvermore!: Tales of Murder, Mystery and the Macabre, a world of its own authored by a talented crew who have fallen under Poe's spell and brought chilling and distinctive documents back with them. Pleasures abound."
— Andrew Pyper, author of The Damned and The Demonologist
"nEvermore! is not a collection for the faint-hearted, but it is one for the fans of Edgar Allen Poe, or for his style at least, of macabre tales, murder, and mystery. Most of the tales are linked to, or inspired by, one of Poe's stories and are quite varied. Recommended for those who enjoy the gothic fiction genre.
— CM Magazine
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2016 Aurora Award nominee
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There’s a wide range of writers that have contributed to this book; big names like Margaret Atwood and Kelley Armstrong are mixed in with many I’ve never heard of, but this variety made the collection so much better. The editors clearly knew what they were doing because they made the book accessible to Poe fans and newbies alike. There’s a really informative introduction about Poe’s history and life before you dive in, and each story begins with a note from the author about how Poe inspired them or their story. It’s in these little blurbs that we learn the fascinating tidbit that Atwood’s story was actually written when she was young-as if she couldn’t get anymore impressive!
Although I’m a Poe fan, I can’t say I’ve read a ton of his work, so keep that in mind while you read this review. For people who have read every single thing he ever wrote, they may find this collection tedious just because the stories tend to follow quite closely what he wrote. That being said fair-weather fans like me will be sure to enjoy the book because it’s everything we imagine Poe’s writings to be: creepy and Gothic with lots of plot twists!
“That's not true.” I nodded at my suitcase. “You gave me a book of Poe.”
The lurid green cover of A Golden Illustrated Classic: Tales of Edgar Allan Poe had beckoned from the moment I dropped my suitcase on the floor of Beryl's guest room. Just as she gave me her treasured volume, so has Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing brought us nEvermore!, an anthology inspired by Poe and edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles, and so I decided to read each story in nEvermore! In conjunction with the Poe tale that preceded it.
The chapters of nEvermore! span times and settings from 19th century England to modern day United States. Some, like "The Masques of Amanda Llado" by Thomas Roche, are contemporary retellings with strong echoes of their forebear - although, in Amanda Llado's case, a retelling with a twist. Others, like “"Finding Ulalume" by Lisa Morton, describe what happened after Poe’s tale ends or take the viewpoint of a different character than his protagonists. For example, “Street of the Dead House” by Robert Lopresti does an excellent job of expressing the childish bewilderment of the ape from “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, while “Annabel Lee” by Nancy Holder explains how the pitiful, pitiless heroine came to her crypt by the sea.
“Annabel Lee” also reflects Poe’s preoccupation with the uncertain boundaries between life and death, a key theme in classics such as “Berenice” and “The Premature Burial”. In nEvermore!, the tale that most clearly relates to this theme is “The Deave Lane” by Michael Jecks, who achieved his stated goal of bringing “a little of [Dartmoor’s] atmosphere to these pages”. Several others in this anthology, notably Barbara Fradkin in “The Lighthouse” and David Morrell in “The Opium-Eater”, also follow Poe’s tradition of what Jecks calls “thoughtful, highly creative atmospheric stories”.
The quality of writing was uneven in this anthology, and some tales failed to convince me that they should have been included. Yet it may not be fair to fault the storytellers for failing to reach the lofty heights of Poe, and what is more remarkable is how good some of the stories were. Dare I admit that I enjoyed a few of the chapters in this anthology even more than Poe’s? For example, Kelley Armstrong’s “The Orange Cat” does a fine job of updating “The Black Cat” to reflect the relationship between cruelty to animals and domestic violence.
A couple of the stories in nEvermore! seemed more Lovecraftian than Poe-etic. I enjoyed “Atargatis” by Robert Bose, with the narrator’s gradual, demonic awakening and an undercurrent of chthonic creatures in the deep, and the essay “A Rather Scholarly View of Edgar Allan Poe, Genre Crosser” by Uwe Sommerlad discusses how Poe influenced famous authors from Jules Verne to Robert Louis Stevenson and, yes, H.P. Lovecraft. Sommerlad’s essay helped me appreciate the diversity in nEvermore!, and I recommend it if you are interested in understanding Poe’s themes and literary influence.
I read both nEvermore! and A Golden Illustrated Classic with a sense of guilty delight, as if peeking into a maelstrom of revenge, madness and (in)humanity. In the process, I reread stories I hadn’t perused since childhood, and discovered others I had never read at all. And that is the greatest gift of nEvermore!: it exposed me to a broader range of Poe’s work than I had known existed. From poetry to metaphysical treatises, I sought out every work mentioned in this anthology, and came to agree with Sommerlad that Poe defies the concept of genres and “shaped the future” for those who came after. I thank Nancy Kilpatrick, Caro Soles and the authors of nEvermore! for this unexpected gift.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I consider myself a bit of a Poe fangirl. Not to the tune of being able to reenact entire scenes from THE TOMB OF LIGEIA or keeping a raven as a pet; but as in the first (and only!) gift my father every personally picked out for me was a leather-bound collection of Poe’s complete works (I’m vegan now, but I keep it around for sentimental reasons) and I might, one day, name one of my rescue dogs Annabel Lee. It’s fair to say that I’m interested, but not obsessed.
So when I spotted NEVERMORE! in Library Thing’s July batch, it was Poe’s name that grabbed by attention – but Margaret Atwood’s that really sealed the deal. If I’m a bit of a Poe fangirl, then I’m freaking Annie Wilkes when it comes to Atwood. I exaggerate, but not by much.
Edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles, NEVERMORE!: TALES OF MURDER, MYSTERY & THE MACABRE features twenty-two stories that are inspired by Poe; contain elements from Poe’s oeuvre; and/or are retellings of his stories. Some are more modern takes on Poe, while others employ similar language and have the same weirdly sinister vibe. If you’re a hardcore Poe fan, probably you’ll get more out of the stories than the casual or non-fan; there’s a lot of name-dropping, as well as references to real, historical events from Poe’s life. However, I wouldn’t limit the audience just to those familiar with Poe; many of the stories are solid enough to stand on their own. Bonus points: Each story is prefaced with a brief introduction by the author(s), for added context.
And fellow Margaret Atwood fans? Definitely give it a spin, if only for “The Eye of Heaven” – written by a sixteen-year-old Margaret Atwood (!). Naturally she’s humble about her contribution (“‘The Eye of Heaven’ might not be very good, though it’s good enough for a sixteen-year-old”) but it’s among my favorites. I would pay to read her MadLibs, though, so grain of salt.
As with many anthologies, it’s a bit of a mixed bag; there are some truly wonderful stories here, a few I didn’t really care for, and a large chunk that fall somewhere in the middle. (I tried to avoid any major spoilers in the story summaries, but please skip them if you’d rather read the collection with virgin eyes.)
“A Rather Scholarly View of Edgar Allen Poe, Genre-Crosser” by Uwe Sommerlad – The title pretty much says it all. DNF, but mostly because I wasn’t in the mood to read a non-fiction essay about Poe. Just give me the stories please!
“The Gold Bug Conundrum” by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro – A wealthy video game developer buys a dilapidated estate on a Caribbean Island located in the Bermuda Triangle, as it’s rumored to be the inspiration for Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Gold Bug.” That, and hidden pirate treasure! Needless to say, the transaction doesn’t end well. 2/5 stars. The beginning reads like an HGTV script, and the climax is rather underwhelming.
“Street of the Dead House” by Robert Lopresti – When hunters murder his mom, the young orangutan Jupiter goes to live with the Professor, who meddles with his brain (presumably, to make him smarter) and teaches him to sign. A visiting sailor from France, taken with the friendly primate, kills the Professor and kidnaps Jupiter, hoping to sell him to a zoo in Paris. When Jupiter refuses to cooperate, the two hatch a plan to steal an elderly lady’s gold so that Jupiter can pay his fare back to Borneo. 5/5 stars. Jupiter gives me all the feels, you guys.
“Naomi” by Christopher Rice – The narrator’s niece, a young trans woman, committed suicide after the bullying at school became too much to bear. Yet her ringtone – a bouncy pop number that triggered the worst of the abuse – lives on, driving her tormentors to take their own lives as well. 5/5 stars.
“Finding Ulalume” by Lisa Morton – The narrator’s sister Anna went missing in Weir Forest when they were just twelve and thirteen years old. Decades have passed, and the narrator – now a search and rescue volunteer – has been summoned to the forest to find a missing team of surveyors. 4/5 stars.
“Obsession with the Bloodstained Door” by Rick Chiantaretto – As a child, the narrator becomes lost in a sinister, mysterious mansion; in his many years of wandering, he’s only encountered one locked door that he cannot breach. It becomes his obsession. 3/5 stars.
“The Lighthouse” by Barbara Fradkin – It’s 1942 and World War II rages on. 18-year-old Sammy, an aspiring writer, is sent to help his uncle maintain the lighthouse on Quirpon Island (Newfoundland). One foggy night, Uncle Nat goes missing – and a strange soldier (a Nazi deserter?) washes up on the shore. Is this a case of life mimicking art? The story features a frustratingly abrupt ending, just like the original. 4/5 stars.
“The Masques of Amanda Llado” by Thomas S. Roche – A disgruntled music critic lures his ex-boss – a postmodern frat boy from a failed tech startup – to his basement warehouse with the promise of a rare Amanda Llado album. Needless to say, none of us will miss the dudebro. 5/5 stars.
“Atargatis” by Robert Bose – Star’s great-grandfather passes away, leaving her a locket that bears the face of a mermaid – and contains a mysterious key. His last word to her? “Atargatis.” 5/5 stars.
“The Ravens of Consequence” by Carol Weekes and Michael Kelly – An old hermit is plagued by memories of a family he never had. Or did he? 4/5 stars.
“Annabel Lee” by Nancy Holder – A retelling of “Annabel Lee” from Annabel’s perspective, this story also incorporates some elements from Poe’s other works. 5/5 stars.
“Dinner with Mamalou” by J. Madison Davis – The CEO of the Makadam Energy (evil megacorp incarnate!) agrees to a sit-down dinner with Mrs. Bertrand, aka “Mamalou,” the matriarch of the backwater town she calls home. On the menu: a discussion of the six deaths in St. Germain Parish since the company began fracking there. Also: revenge! 3/5 stars. The villains are a little too cartoonish for me.
“The Deave Lane” by Michael Jecks – An archaeologist’s worst nightmare comes true when she’s called to investigate a body found buried in the mors – and stumbles right into the midst of a pagan death cult. 3/5 stars.
“133″ by Richard Christian Matheson – The Resurrectionist’s Guide to the Death Penalty. 3/5 stars.
“Afterlife” by William F. Nolan, Jason V. Brock, and Sunni K. Brock – Explores “the idea that Poe could become trapped in the physical space of his own letters” – specifically, those thought to be forged by Rufus Griswold and burned by Charles Leland. 3/5 stars.
“The Drowning City” by Loren Rhoads – How to outwit a siren using modern technology. The futuristic look at Venice is both lovely and heartbreaking. 3/5 stars.
“The Orange Cat” by Kelley Armstrong – An abused cat refuses to cast his one good eye away from his cruel owner – even after he’s been euthanized and had his bashed in as part of a double murder. Gabriel Walsh (of Armstrong’s Cainsville series) is on the case. 4/5 stars.
“The Inheritance” by Jane Petersen Burfield – Annabel the raven exacts her revenge on the boys responsible for her death – from beyond the grave. 3/5 stars.
“Sympathetic Impulses” by David McDonald – In trying to uncover how a captured spy withstands torture, an Inquisitor unwittingly becomes the means by which he does so. 3/5 stars.
“Asylum” by Colleen Anderson – A vamp with a taste for the crazies happens upon an asylum that’s been taken over by the lunatics. 3/5 stars.
“The Return of Berenice” by Tanith Lee – A retelling of “Berenice” in which the titular bride is actually a vampire – and Egaeus has condemned his cousin to a fate worse than (un)death by stealing her most valuable asset. 3/5 stars.
“The Eye of Heaven” by Margaret Atwood – A young man is haunted by the eyes of those he’s killed – fishes and family members alike. 5/5 stars. It’s Margaret Effing Atwood, yo!
** Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program. **
There’s something here for everyone. From what I consider true horror (zombies, ghouls, and such) with Finding Ulalume (Lisa Morgan) and Asylum (Colleen Anderson), to chillingly good ghost stories like The Lighthouse (Barbara Fradkin), Afterlife (William F. Nolan, Jason V. Brock & Sunni K. Brock), and The Deave Lane (Michael Jecks). There are stories that speak to current times and themes like Naomi (Christopher Rice) and Dinner with MamaLou (J. Madison Davis) to a devilish revenge tale, The Masques of Amanda Llado (Thomas S. Rosche). There’s a sad story, Street of the Dead House (Robert Lopresti) and fantasy, featuring mermaids, sirens, and the like with Atargatis (Robert Bose) and The Drowning City (Loren Rhoads).
Individual rankings based on 5 stars:
The Gold Bug Conundrum ~ Chelsea Quinn Yarbro 3.5
Street of the Dead House ~ Robert Lopresti (The Murders in the Rue Morgue) 5
Naomi ~ Christopher Rice (The Tell-Tale Heart) 3
Finding Ulalume ~ Lisa Morton (Ulalume,poerm) 3
Obsession with the Bloodstained Door ~ Rick Chiantaretto (The Cask of Amontillado) 3
The Lighthouse ~ Barbara Fradkin (The Lighthouse) 4
The Masques of Amanda Llado ~ Thomas S. Roche (The Cask of Amontillado) 4.5
Atargatis ~ Robert Bose (The House of Usher) 4
The Ravens of Consequence ~ Carol Weekes and Michael Kelly (The Gold –Bug, The Mystery of Marie Roget, The Tell-Tale Heart, and The Raven) 3
Annabel Lee ~ Nancy Holder (Annabel Lee) 3
Dinner with Mamalou ~ J. Madison Davis (all the stories of Poe) 3
The Deave Lane ~ Michael Jecks (The Pit and the Pendulum and Poe’s “thoughtful, highly creative atmospheric stories”) 4
133 ~ Richard Christian Matheson (Ligeia) 4
Afterlife William F Nolan, Jason V. Brock, and Sunni K. Brock (Eureka” A Prose Poem and the circumstances surrounding his death and those involved in his estate) 4
The Drowning City ~ Loren Rhoads (The Assignation) 4
The Orange Cat ~ Kelley Armstrong (The Black Cat) 4
The Inheritance ~ Jane Peterson Burfield (The Raven) 3
Sympathetic Impulses ~ David McDonald (Poe’s Gothic tales) 5
Asylum ~ Colleen Anderson (The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether) 3
The Return of Berenice ~ Tanith Lee (Berenice) 3
The Eye of Heaven ~ Margaret Atwood (Poes’ obsession tales) 3.5
It’s enjoyable and interesting to seek and find reflections of the inspiration in each featured work. With Poe’s range and genre melding you’re sure to find something to tickle your fancy too, regardless of your “horror” tolerance. Some you may skip while others will be revisited over time. Overall, nEVERMORE is worthy of a spot on your shelf.
Reviewed for Novels Alive TV & Manic Readers