Friday, September 2, 2011

Blood and Other Cravings

Edited by Ellen Datlow
Published by Tor

“Each of us needs something - food, liquor, pot, whatever - to help us survive. Dracula needs blood.” Frank Langella (Playboy Magazine, 1979)

Anytime you sample a collection edited by veteran anthologist Ellen Datlow (Snow White, Blood Red; Teeth; Supernatural Noir), you know that you are in for a treat. Blood and Other Cravings is no exception. This top-notch collection takes vampirism as its theme, but each story veers far and away from the now-worn tropes of the genre. The creatures (some human, some decidedly not) featured in these tales feed not only upon blood but hope, emotion, and life itself. They are beings of insatiable hunger and predation, stalking us from the shadows of 1970s New York, from behind the blinds of suburban homes, and from our parents’ bedrooms.

While there is not a bad story in the bunch, some are worthy of special mention. “Keeping Corky” by Melanie Tem is a sublimely disturbing piece involving a mentally-challenged young mother whose indomitable will affects those that would stand between her and her son. Fledgling talesmith Nicole J. LeBoeuf’s piece, “First Breath”, is a beautiful exploration of identity and point-of-view involving the lifecycle of a family of ethereal beings. The anthology closes with Laird Barron’s “The Siphon”, where an evil man encounters creatures of blood and nightmare that lie in the shadows thrown across time and myth.

Blood and Other Cravings reminds us of why we should fear those that stalk the night.

Buy it here.

Visit Ellen Datlow's site here.

Reviewed by Shedrick Pittman-Hassett

Shedrick Pittman-Hassett is a full-time librarian and part-time writer trying to do that the other way around. He has written reviews for Library Journal and has also had two articles published in the award-winning Knights of the Dinner Table magazine. Shedrick currently resides in Denton, Texas ("The Home of Happiness") with his lovely wife and the obligatory demon-spawn cats. When not writing, gaming, or watching cheezy kung-fu flicks, he can be found in a pub enjoying a fine brew.

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