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The Necronomicon Files -- The Truth Behind The Legend
Daniel Harms and John Wisdom Gonce, III
Night Shade Books, 333 pages

The Necronomicon Files -- The Truth Behind The Legend
Night Shade Books
Night Shade Books is a small press publishing company with a focus on Horror and Weird Fiction. Following the release of their first book, The Necronomicon Files, they are planning their next three books. One of the principals is Jason Williams, originally from Oregon, who lives in California after a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps. He works as an IS Manager at Cylink. The other is Tim Billowitch, originally from Pennsylvania, who also did a tour in the U.S. Marine Corps where he met Jason. He works as a Systems Administrator at Cylink.

Night Shade Books

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

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All right, I am not even going to pretend to be unbiased on this subject. I am solidly behind the authors in believing there never was an ancient Necronomicon. Hard to imagine that a book that important would just vanish. Would someone have gathered it up with the wrapping paper and accidentally trashed it? Would it get mixed in with the daily papers and end up as recycling? It's not really the kind of thing someone would misplace with their keys.

But, ignore my gut-feelings and dig into The Necronomicon Files' convincing research. You want to be ready to debate this the next time you get trapped in a hotel room with a bunch of role-players. This should give you the ammunition you need to shoot your way out. Maybe they're showing the Evil Dead down in the video room.

Harms and Gonce have done exhaustive research on this topic and it appears they have uncovered the mythical roots of this Book of the Dead. Despite popping up everywhere in literature, film, and fable, the incredibly persistent belief in this tome had its beginnings with a fairly  well-known source. If you have dug into the origins of horror fiction, surely you've come across the name H.P. Lovecraft -- that's the little rapscallion who started it all. The process by which this literary prop entered into popular culture is elaborate and fascinating, even though it may diminish your respect for your fellow humans.

That's all I'm going to say about that section of the book; read it yourself to get the full story. It is much too convoluted to be explained here. As is the section that examines the history of magic. The details are just too fine and too many to go into here. Besides, the authors put in a &#*load of work ferreting all this out, and it deserves to be read.

This is deep thought time. The Necronomicon Files is in every sense a reference book -- it's not light reading, but it is engrossing. Just be aware that you will have to think a bit and analyze the material. For this very reason, it would be a wonderful choice for any university offering courses on horror lit. Imagine -- a genuinely interesting textbook!

And speaking of interesting, wait until you reach the chapters of the book dedicated to the Necronomicon on the big screen and the small. How could one man's creation show up in so many places? (Oh, to have a trademark on the word!) This portion and the next, on Necronomicon hoaxes, are the pure candy in this volume.

No doubt The Necronomicon Files will settle the question for some readers. Equally doubtless? Some people are going to be covering their ears and humming to avoid having any of their illusions shattered. No problem: those people eventually get run over by buses, raising the collective IQ of the gene pool.

Copyright © 1999 Lisa DuMond

Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. She co-authored the 45th anniversary issue cover of MAD Magazine. Previews of her latest, as yet unpublished, novel are available at Hades Online.


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