Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The Stuff of Dreams: The Weird Stories of Edward Lucas White
This original compilation presents chilling tales of terror by an unjustly neglected author. Inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe as well as his own vivid nightmares, Edward Lucas White (1866–1934) weaves a tapestry of weird stories populated by ghouls, monsters, a witch doctor, and creatures of ancient myths.
The collection features White's most famous story, "Lukundoo," a gripping fable of an American explorer who incurs the wrath of an African sorcerer. Other tales include "Sorcery Island," an uncanny foreshadowing of television's The Prisoner, "The Flambeau Bracket," "The House of the Nightmare," "The Song of the Sirens," and five other stories. Additional selections include the haunting poems "Azrael" and "The Ghoula" and an essay in which the author reflects on the influence of dreams in his fiction. Editor S. T. Joshi provides an informative Introduction to White's life and work.
I had never heard of Edward Lucas White which I suppose is not surprising considering he lived a century ago. The description intrigued me, since as a child I watched those old Vincent Price movies that were based on stories by Edgar Allen Poe and then later read everything by him that I could find in the library. I did enjoy these stories though you must keep in mind that people spoke (and wrote) differently all those years ago. I especially loved the first story Nightmare House about a man who seeks shelter in a run down house after an accident. The Message On The Slate was also very good, about a woman unhappy in her marriage who seeks advice from a clairvoyant who is a self proclaimed charlatan. I loved Lukundoo which concerned a curse. It gave me chills. In The Pig-skin belt a circus comes to town, as does a man with some strange and mysterious habits. My absolute favorite was The Picture Puzzle, in which a man and his wife find solace and perhaps something more when they occupy their time with puzzles after their daughter is kidnapped. I also loved The Ghoula, a poem about a female ghoul.
All in all well worth a read. 4 out of 5 stars from me.
I received an advance copy for review.