Edited by Brian James Freeman
Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Deleted chapters, stories put aside, and unfinished novels represent a whole literary world unknown to the public, but apt to excite the imagination of fans of various authors who took such “detours.”
One of those fans, by his own admission, is writer/editor Brian James Freeman, who decided to collect this type of material in one gorgeous hardcover volume.
“Memory” is an excellent “lost” story by Stephen King, told in his powerful narrative style, featuring a man whose life is shattered by a terrible accident. Fans of the King family will be also be delighted by the inclusion of a never-before-published story by Owen King (“The Curator”).
Peter Straub provides some fascinating, semi-fictional fragments of the preface and introduction to his Mr. X novel, addressing in an oblique, intriguing way the issue of doppelganger.
Kelly Armstrong’s “The Hunt” is a very short but quite disturbing fragment depicting an unusual, terrifying hunt, while Clive Barker’s tiny (and even shorter!) contribution is a Chinese box of emotions brought about by a complex dream.
William Peter Blatty’s detour is the interesting background of the making of The Exorcist and David Morrell’s contribution is a fragment linked to his outstanding story “Dead Image” (also reproduced here) which in turn was covering the myth of James Dean.
Michael Marshall Smith offers the first original chapter of his SF novel Spares (ultimately suppressed to give room to a different outset), and a different version of Chapter 29 of the thriller Straw Men.
Chet Williamson takes revenge on his previous editor by disclosing how much better the original ending of his novel Ash Wednesday was.
Finally, The Ghost Ship is a novel left unfinished by Stewart O’Nan, apparently disappointed with the draft. It’s a shame because the novel, describing a tragedy in a small town amusement park appears very promising and enticing.
All quite interesting. And I understand that a second volume is in the works. Stay tuned.