Quotable Vampire, The

Rating: 
3
The Quotable Vampire
Review by The Mad Bibliographer, submitted on 3-Jun-1998

A version of this review appears in The Vampire's Crypt 17 (Spring 1998). The Vampire's Crypt web site is: http://members.aol.com/MLCVamp/vampcrpt.htm

David Proctor. THE QUOTABLE VAMPIRE. Kensington Publishing Corporation, 1997. ISBN 1-57566-218-3; $7.00/$9.00.

What makes a good book of vampire quotations? This is the second one I've seen (the first being BLOOD LINES, Arsenal Pulp Press), and I still don't know. Weighing in at 85 + x pages and a little less than standard pocket paperback height, THE QUOTABLE VAMPIRE needs to pack quite a punch to compensate for its diminutive size. And to give compiler David Proctor credit, he has combed a wide variety of works -- short stories, novels, TV series episodes, movies -- for a similarly wide variety of quotes: long and short, funny and serious, lyrical and brusque. THE QUOTABLE VAMPIRE is divvied into chapters on such topics as "Food and Drink," "Night," "Immortality," and "Classic Lines and Variations." (Ironically, the best line in the humor chapter is Proctor's own. Describing unintentionally funny lines, he says: "Sometimes they just pop out -- like loose dentures.")

That's the good part. The problem is, this good stuff suffers from some design flaws. First, there's that annoying and totally unnecessary set of double quote marks around every quotation. I mean, we *know* it's a book of quotations. Since most of the selections are in fact speech, the marks do serve their normal typographical purpose, but with some quotation-in-quotation book excerpts, they become cumbersome.

A worse flaw, however, is the method of citation. Short stories are cited in the same format as novels, title in italics followed by author's name. Which means that a hypothetical reader who reads, say:

"It is the curse of the undead to prey upon those they love." --Chevalier Pierre Futaine, I, the Vampire, by Henry Kuttner, 1937

would not be able to tell whether the source was a short story or a novel and consequently would have no idea where to begin tracking down this work. (It is in fact a short story and has lately been reprinted in THE VAMPIRE OMNIBUS and WEIRD VAMPIRE TALES.)

But the really teeth-gritting parts of THE QUOTABLE VAMPIRE are the typos. Hugh B. Cave's story "Stragella" has been choked into "Strangella"; A. E. Van Vogt, author of "Asylum," is represented as A. E. Van Voght and A. E. Voght. And an almost painful factual error occurs on page 68, following a line from Poppy Z. Brite's LOST SOULS spoken by Christian "before he finds out Nothing is his son." Nothing was not Christian's son; he was Zillah's, as Christian had revealed only a few pages earlier.

"Aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh!" (to use another quote-by-Proctor).

Good points: besides having all the nifty quotes, THE QUOTABLE VAMPIRE is great source of titles to look for, provided you can figure out what they're titles *of*. I learned of several works (mostly movies) I hadn't previously been aware of. Bad points: Typos, confusing citations, and a good bit of wordiness in the quotes themselves. And $7.00 for 85 pages (small ones at that) is a bit steep.

But hey, if you like gimmicky little books, go on and treat yourself.

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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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