Ultimate Dracula, The

Rating: 
4
The Ultimate Dracula
Review by The Mad Bibliographer, submitted on 1-Jan-1994

The following is adapted from material that originally appeared in the column "Vampires in Print" in The Vampire's Crypt #7 (Spring 1993).

Review by Cathy Krusberg

The Ultimate Dracula, ed. Byron Preiss (Dell, 1991).

Preiss meant business when he put this one together: The cover features the names of contributors Anne Rice, Dan Simmons, and Philip Jose Farmer, and the book itself begins with an essay--"Happy Birthday, Dracula!" by noted vampire expert Leonard Wolf. Anne Rice's unstintingly Gothic "Master of Rampling Gate" is the only previously- published work in this anthology. About half of the stories feature Dracula: a variety of portrayals in a variety of settings. Dracula at Bergen-Belsen ("Dracula 1944" by Edward D. Hoch); Dracula in modern-day Florida ("Mr. Lucrada" by John Lutz); Dracula in a guise that fits what popular culture has made vampires ("A Matter of Style" by Ron Dee). One story even focuses on the historical Dracula as he meets Bela Blasko of Lugos in a shared opium dream. "Much at Stake" by Kevin J. Anderson succeeds in spite of itself: overloaded with quotes from the Lugosi Dracula, overpowered by its title, it is still a moving tale of two minds touching across the centuries.

Noteworthy for their gripping intensity are "All Dracula's Children" by Dan Simmons and "Children of the Night" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Simmons depicts post-Ceausescu Romania: its ruined economy, its ruined children, and the ruined being who bears blame for these and so much more. Rusch's story is set in a world where vampire eradication is an unpleasant necessity and can leave a chain of personal ruins in its wake. But there are light-hearted works as well. "A Little Night Music" by Mike Resnick--the tale of an agent who books the rock group Vlad and the Impalers--is light reading in every possible sense, short and sweet and guilty-pleasures hokey. The humor, if not the hokeyness, is more subdued in "The Vampire in His Closet" by Heather Graham, about one person's answer to what to do when you buy an old house complete with walled-up vampire.

Most portrayals of vampires are not sympathetic, and the stories--with a few exceptions--tend to be rather grim. I'd still recommend this collection to someone who wants to see what people are writing about vampires nowadays.

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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