- Publisher: Dead Letter Press; First Edition edition (January 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0979633524
- ISBN-13: 978-0979633522
- Package Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,514,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bound for Evil: Curious Tales of Books Gone Bad Hardcover – Special Limited Edition, January, 2008
First edition, limited to 500 copies. A collection of dark stories about books with examples by Saki, Gary Fry, Barbara Roden, Ramsey Campbell, Rhys Hughes M.R. James, Jeffrey Thomas, H.P. Lovecraft, Fred Chappell, Robert Chambers and many others. xvi, 779, 5 pages. faux leather.. thick 8vo..
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There are 66 separate tales (okay, one of them is a poem and another is formatted as a quiz that will tell you whether or not you abuse literature). Some of the stories are old favorites, e.g. "Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book" by M.R. James, and some of them are wildly original tales I'd never seen in print, e.g. "The Adder" by Fred Chappell, where a copy of 'The Necronomicon' is bundled up with a book of John Milton's poetry and, well, Milton loses big-time.
This monstrous book is 779 pages deep, and there are a few really awful stories, too. I finished reading one and stopped on "Bound for Evil" for a year because I was afraid I'd read all the good stories, and it was going to be downhill the rest of the way, down into the crypt of brain-dissolving fan lit from whence no reader emerges with body-parts fully intact.
However, I was dead wrong about the drop-off in quality. The really awful story was a temporary aberration, and some of the best tales were yet to come. These are three of my favorites:
"The Door, the Lock, the Key" by R. Michael Burns--This is what "The Da Vinci Code" could have been like if Dan Brown were a better writer, had read Lovecraft a bit more carefully, and had condensed his rambling tome into a single short story. A secret cult calling themselves 'the Librarians' (Free Masons, Rosicrucians, Templars, the wussy monks in "The Name of the Rose"--pah! What a bunch of amateurs!) have finally discovered the Ultimate Book of Evil. One of them attempts to draw back from the brink of the (admittedly Lovecraftian) Abyss, and a Battle ensues in one of the strangest libraries in all of literature.
"The Adder" by Fred Chappell--A bookstore owner's uncle shows up with a copy of 'Al Azif' which is "more recognizable under the title of its Greek translation, 'The Necronomicon...'" and asks his nephew to hide it for him. The nephew is warned that this book is also called 'The Adder' because "first it poisons, then it devours." He'd better be careful where he hides it. So, he bundles it under a copy of Milton's poetry...and then the fun begins. Pop Quiz: did Milton write these lines: "When I consider how my loot is spent/ On Happy Daze, a fifth of darling wine..."? (If you don't know the correct answer, this story may be wasted on you).
"The Book in the Earth" by Lavie Tidhar--A new employee at a very strange bookstore near London's Charing Cross Road meets some odd customers, hears scary noises in the basement, and interacts with the ancient Guardians of the first five books of the Bible. This story could be Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere" as written by a Kabbalist.
Buy this book. Do not attempt to steal it because something very strange will follow you home.