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By Blood We Live (vampire anthology)
From Dracula to Buffy the Vampire Slayer; from Castlevania to Tru Blood, the romance between popular culture and vampires hearkens back to humanity's darkest, deepest fears, flowing through our very blood, fears of death, and life, and insatiable hunger. And yet, there is an attraction, undeniable, to the vampire archetype, whether the pale European count, impeccably dressed and coldly masculine, yet strangely ambiguous, ready to sink his sharp teeth deep into his victims' necks, draining or converting them, or the vamp, the count's feminine counterpart, villain and victim in one, using her wiles and icy sexuality to corrupt man and woman alike... Edited by John Joseph Adams (Wastelands, The Living Dead), By Blood We Live gathers together the best vampire literature of the last three decades from many of today's most renowned authors of fantasy, speculative fiction, and horror.
The usually superlative Adams (Federations) delivers a merely solid collection of modern vampire tales. Although most of the stories are reprints, John Langan's novella The Wide, Carnivorous Sky, original to the volume, is the highlight, telling the tale of four Fallujah veterans who witness something even more horrific than war. Many of the classic reprints (including Stephen King's One for the Road and Jane Yolen's Mama Gone) are worthwhile, but the newer reprints are a mixed bag. Bruce McAllister's Hit is witty and touching; Lilith Saintcrow's attempted hard-boiled pastiche, A Standup Dame, completely flops. Vampire fans might wish for more humor and unusual twists on the theme, but there are enough standout stories—including Gabriella Lee's gorgeous Hunger and Michael Marshall Smith's melancholy This Is Now—to satisfy and entertain.
This anthology offers many perspectives on vampires and includes 30 short stories by popular authors written over the last 30 years. Included are Neil Gaiman's unusual take on Snow White, Anne Rice's story in which the house—or is it a being within?—takes control, and Harry Turtledove's tale about what is really hidden under St. Peter's in Rome and its implications for the Catholic Church. A number of these stories are sexual in nature and a few are downright disturbing. Consider this purchase if you have mature vampire, fantasy, and horror readers.
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