Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vampire Slayers edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Part of the 10 Days of Halloween Horror! You can see the rest here and here.

And here's where all my reading credibility goes out the window, because this was totally a guilty pleasure...

The purpose of this anthology was to restore the evil to vampire stories, as based on the introduction that bemoans the humanization of vampires. I picked this one up on a larp--er, I mean lark--just to see if it was any good. Like the five hundred million other Greenberg anthologies, this one is a mixed bag.

I was a bit surprised at the lack of name authors in this anthology. I guess maybe I just don't read enough spec fiction to know some of these folks. The only two named I recognized were Hugh B. Cave and Charles deLint. Overall, this collection's not bad, but there are some clunkers. Skip Special, a psuedo-porn story, entirely if you value your eyesight. The opening story, while not offensive, isn't all that interesting, either. However, the story by classic pulp author Hugh B. Cave is a nice nautical vampire story, which was something I hadn't seen done before.

I also liked Midnight Sun, about an outpost of humans in North Canada facing almost certain annihilation by the vampire hordes. Revelations in Black is a very literary take on a way to stop a vampire's rampage, though the pacing is a bit slow. Charles de Lint has a nice short short about the costs of appeasing vampires and one woman's fateful decision, and there's a vampire noir detective story by Tanya Huff that I liked but due to its protagonist's undead status, felt was out of place in the anthology.

The last story, Midnight Mass, works well as a closer, with a disgraced priest returning to his town to try and save the parishioners who once abandoned him in his time of need.

All in all, this one's not bad--nothing here is award-winning, but I liked them all in all, except of course for Special. If you like your vampires menacing, this is a good choice. As a fan of short fiction, I had a good time. Greenberg's anthologies may never be 100% amazing, but he's got a pretty good eye for putting together material, and this is no exception. However, this is your last warning, if you get this out, don't read Special. Just trust me, ok?

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