For week 46, I read The Works of Edgar Allen Poe, volume 1, by (you guessed it) Edgar Allen Poe. This is a collection of short stories, some clearly in the realm of Science Fiction (The Unparalleled Adventures of One Hans Pfaal, The Balloon Hoax), others are detective stories (Murders in the Rue Morgue, Mystery of Marie Roget) and others simply creepy as hell. Poe is renowned for the macabre and creepy, but it certainly doesn’t represent the extent of his skill.
As for the sci-fi stories, they both involved ballooning and exploration, and were highly detailed and technical: too detailed, if I’m honest. What it gains in believability, it loses in dullness. There were several times I was sorely tempted to put the book down in favor of something more interesting, like my book club books (fluff and fantasy and romance, even if it’s badly done).
The Gold-Bug was interesting, as treasure-seeking mysteries are wont to be, Four Beasts in One – The Homocameleopard was, um…there. It’s listed as a humorous piece, and I guess it went over my head. I rather liked MS. Found in a Bottle, as it was weird and creepy. The Oval Portrait is sad and haunting, and if you like, you can look it up on Wikipedia for a brief analysis of the themes of art vs. realism vs. beauty vs. addiction vs. life, etc., etc. Or you can simply enjoy the tragic, lovely story for what it is.
I gave this volume three out of five stars, and I should note that I found it (and volume 2) on Project Gutenberg for free. Save cash, read books. Good stuff.