Saturday, July 31, 2010


Edited by Ellen Datlow

This collection of vampire tales was issued by Berkley in 1990 and edited by Ellen Datlow. The goal here seems to be to cast as wide a net as possible and sample every possible variation on the vampire tale one can find. There are blood drinking vampires and emotion drinking vampires and time wasting vampires and kids who think they are vampires, etc…

Some of these tales just misfire for me. Tanith Lee’s “The Janitha Tree” is a good example of her subtle and enigmatic style of weird tale that is so subtle and enigmatic I’m not too sure what happened. Other tales here just aren’t my cup of tea, “A Child of Darkness” by Susan Casper is a decent portrait of a young woman who believes she is a vampire, but ultimately the character comes across as more a pathetic loony than someone interesting in her own right.  

On the other hand there are some true standouts. Fritz Leiber’s tale of blood-sucking advertising “The Girl with the Hungry Eyes” appears here. It is subtle and enigmatic, but not too subtle. The best in the collection is Scott Baker’s “Varicose Worms”. This is a tale full of surprises! It tells of a Romanian immigrant in Paris who discovers the secret magic world of Shamanism and his epic battle to hold his place in it. Along the way Baker satirizes psychiatrists, politicians, Mircea Eliade, and homeless beggars, not necessarily in that order. I finished that one and was left begging for more, though I daresay Mr. Baker knows how to wrap up a yarn. If you ever run across this book, read “Varicose Worms”!

-Dave Hardy


Datlow said...

For anyone interested and for you David, Blood is Not Enough and its follow up, A Whisper of Blood are currently available at B&N in one huge new (and beautiful) volume called A Whisper of Blood. If you buy it online now it's on sale from it's regular $9.99 price.

Dave Hardy said...

Cool, I would like to check that out!