NESFA Members' Reviews


edited by Martin H. Greenberg

DAW, ISBN 0-88677-667-8, 1995, 318pp, US$4.99

A book review by Evelyn C. Leeper

Copyright 1995 Evelyn C. Leeper

Is it that I am out of touch with the horror world, or is it that Martin Greenberg doesn't have the same clout with authors that editors such as Mike Resnick and Katharine Kerr have? Of the nineteen authors represented here, I have heard of only four of them, and only Kristine Kathryn Rusch is really a "name." And while some of the stories are mildly amusing, there are none of the superlative ones that can be found in other anthologies. (Ed Gorman writes the introduction and is listed as co-holder of the copyright, but it is unclear what his role was in collecting the stories.)

The problem may be the topic, of course. The whole idea of celebrity vampires may be an insurmountable obstacle to greatness. Well, almost insurmountable--I won't deny that a good author might be able to write a great story even on this topic. But no one rises to the occasion here.

Instead, we have an Irene Adler story, a Bobby Darin story, a Conan Doyle story (having nothing to do with Sherlock Holmes), a Marilyn Monroe story, two stories with characters from the Algonquin Round Table, two with Mark Twain, two vampire Elvis stories, and the rest based on an assortment of Hollywood figures. But they serve no purpose. Harry Turtledove said once that even although alternate histories are about other worlds, they are only valuable for what they tell us about ourselves. The same is true of vampire stories (and these vampire stories are at least in some sense alternate histories), but none of these really meet that criterion. The only thing they talk about is fame--the "celebrity" aspect of the title.

"The Beautiful, the Damned" by Kristine Katherine Rusch deservesa mention. Rusch can be relied on to produce a well-written story, but for these theme anthologies she has a tendency to produce stories centering on literary figures. This is fine, except I suspect the audience for these anthologies is not going to recognize most of the figures she is writing about (whom she often does not name), or know the fine details of their lives.

If you're looking for escapist entertainment, this book will fill the bill, but there are no great stories to be found here.

%B      Celebrity Vampires
%E      Martin H. Greenberg
%C      New York
%D      October 1995
%I      DAW
%O      paperback, US$4.99
%G      ISBN 0-88677-667-8
%P      318pp

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