An Anthology of the Undelivered, The Missing, The Returned…
An Atomic Moo Book Review
The Dead Letter office is a real thing. According to Wikipedia (never a real source), the dead letter office is “is a facility within a postal system where un-deliverable mail is dealt with”. A lot of countries have dead letter offices, but I think the US is the only one to actually use the name. According to 99percentinvisible.com – over “90,000,000 items were marked undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) and entered the dead letter and parcel system.” This is all really cool, and (of course) it is also the prefect premise for dozens of stories the likes of which can be found in a new anthology from Titan Books! See how I brought that around. I think I’m good at this…
Anyways… Now out through Titan Books is a fantastic new collection of stories centered around the (mostly) sinister idea of unwanted mail! Okay… on the surface you wouldn’t think that was such a scary idea, but think about it: The wrong addressed letter, the misplaced package, that message that just disappeared, represent an idea of mystery. Opening a strangers mail is like a starting off point to the unknown! A possible leap into an unknown mystery! The shadowy secrets of your apartments former resident’s credit history suddenly laid bare! It’s possibly a goddamn ticket to the Twilight Zone, people!
Exploring the vast ocean possibly within 90 + million undelivered messages are eighteen writers (list below) who contribute their literary talents to this idea. Now I don’t want to give the idea that Dead Letters is all spooky horror stuff. The variety of stories cover everything from horror to mystery to the kind of mundane. One of my favorite stories in the book is actually one of the first stories and deals with a mysterious green envelope. Not necessarily an evil green letter (could be), but definitely a very bizarre green letter. Then other stories take you through painful personal histories or to mythical places. It’s this variety of ideas all based on the one premise that makes this book a fun read. There’s even an H.P. Lovecraft-esque story by Andrew Lane that reads incredibly spooky, and I think would have made Lovecraft proud. Overall, I really dug this book. Though, I thought it was weird every person in the story had a moral dilemma about opening a piece of lost mail (really? Not one guy/gal was like, “free shit!”), all of the stories take an unexpected journey and some of them are even kind of touching. I think this would be a much better book to read in the fall, closer to Halloween, but if you’re looking for an overall eerie vibe in your summer reading, then The Dead Letters would be a great place to start!
Dead Letters is available now in all major book stores, or you can get your copy online at Titanbooks.com. I posted the official synopsis below along with a complete list of contributing authors.
The Dead Letters Office: the final repository of the undelivered. Love missives unread, gifts unreceived, lost in postal limbo. Dead Letters: An Anthology features new stories from the masters of horror, fantasy and speculative fiction, each inspired by an inhabitant of the Dead Letters Office, including tales from Joanne Harris, China Miéville & Maria Dahvana Headley, Adam LG Nevill and Michael Marshall Smith.
Conrad Williams , Joanne Harris , Michael Marshall Smith , China Miéville , Nicholas Royle , Ramsey Campbell , Pat Cadigan , Nina Allan , Angela Slatter , Alison Moore , Kirsten Kaschock , Maria Dahvana Headley , Steven Hall , Lisa Tuttle , Muriel Gray , Claire Dean , Christopher Fowler , Adam LG Nevill , Andrew Lane