Blood Lines

Blood Lines
Review by The Mad Bibliographer, submitted on 28-Oct-2001

A version of this review appears in The Vampire's Crypt 17 (Spring 1998). The Vampire's Crypt web site is:

Blood Lines: Vampire Stories from New England, ed. Lawrence Schimel and Martin H. Greenberg. Nashville: Cumberland House Publishing, 1997; ISBN 1-888952-50-4; $12.95/$17.95.

Cumberland House's second regional vampire anthology includes ten stories, mostly reprints, set in various New England states. As with SOUTHERN BLOOD, the stories do not necessarily have a distinctively regional flavor. There is a conspicuous lack of "big city" stories; only "Secret Societies" (original to this anthology) by Lawrence Schimel, with its Ivy League setting, even comes close, although there is room to argue that "When the Red Storm Comes" by Sarah Smith is very citified at heart. Count Ferenc Zohary may be more or less than a vampire, but the debonair wickedness with which he pursues the heroine bespeaks the cosmopolitan rather than the backwoods.

The other stories have a profoundly small-town or rural flavor. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's "Investigating Jericho" pits a village gone vampiric against the I.R.S.; Esther Friesner's hilarious "Moonlight in Vermont" portrays a rural vampire family, a young city slicker hell-bent on becoming a vampire himself, and a most unusual role for a vampire cow. Manly Wade Wellman's "Chastel" uses rural New England's historical "vampires" to enhance its story of love remembered and vampire-hunting.

BLOOD LINES includes a number of older stories that remain readable, if dated. "The Shunned House" by H. P. Lovecraft, "The Doom of the House of Duryea" by Earl Pierce Jr., and "The Brotherhood of Blood" by Hugh B. Cave all date from the 1930s. Lovecraft tells the story of science taking on the supernatural and failing with his usual graceful verbosity; "Doom of the House of Duryea" concerns hereditary vampirism; and "The Brotherhood of Blood" gives an early sympathetic treatment of vampires.

The gem of this collection is "The Beautiful, the Damned" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Perhaps more a vampiric story than a vampire story, dream-flavored, rich with literary allusion, it follows the narrator as he learns more of his enigmatic neighbor in the mansion next door. "Fitz" regularly throws all-night parties -- the kind with waiters bearing trays of champagne and the driveway filled with BMWs and Jaguars. These celebrations that stop only for day itself are Fitz's failed attempt to alleviate the loneliness of an unending life, until he encounters a particular woman -- the narrator's cousin, as it happens....

Like SOUTHERN BLOOD, BLOOD LINES is priced a little steeply for its size (224 pages), although chances are most of the stories will be new even to a completist. Although a book more for the collector than the casual fan, BLOOD LINES is definitely worth taking the time to read. As for the money to buy it -- you decide.

Fanged Films

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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