Monday, February 1, 2010

TOMORROW SUCKS greg cox & t k f weisskopf [eds]

This review is part of a blog review book chain. The previous link is Foucault's Pendulum and the next link is Shades of Twilight.

Tomorrow Sucks: in the introduction of this vampire sci fi themed collection, Greg Cox makes an interesting suggestion. He writes that after science fiction explanations could be used "vampires didn't have to be evil anymore. No longer a creature of hell by definition vampires could be villains, victims, or even heroes."

I certainly agree that vampire fiction has changed in this way but I wonder how much is due to encroaching science, and how much is just waning religiosity--as fantasy/magic-based vampirism remains a more common theme than any kind of plausible speculative science.

Regardless, this anthology of stories dating from 1933 to 1988 is a pretty good introduction to short stories on the intersections of vampire fiction and science fiction.

Several of the better stories lost something by being in a vampire anthology as it spoiled a twist of the plot. But in each case the story, by an established master, stood up well (e.g. And Not Quite Human by Joe L Hensley, Pyotr's Story by Spider Robinson).

Some of the stories effectively used the vampire to illuminated some kind concept about humanity. Such as Ray Bradbury's Pillar of Fire in which the last vampire awakes in a utopia without lies, crimes, graveyards... novels, imagination or belief. The Stainless Steel Leech by Roger Zelazny shows how the last vampire passes on his nature to a cybernetic future. And Shambleau by CL Moore is just a great evocation of the horror and desire a vampiric creature could produce.

Two of the stories explore an alternative version of the word and centre around romances. Both The Man Who Loved a Vampire Lady by Brian Stableford and Leechcraft by Susan Petry give a window into worlds they authors explored more fully in later novels.

There were three other stories in the anthology that fell rather flat with me as did the second editors postscript which I feel would have been more successful as a second introduction, but--for me--7/11 is a good hit rate for enjoying an anthology. Overall this book is well worth reading if only to see so many high-powered writers put their own twist in the vampire mythos.



Zahir Blue said...

Oh, I loves me a good vampire book!

Karen said...

My daughter would probably love this book.

A. said...

I enjoyed the only Zelazny book I read, so I'd love to read his story. All of them in fact, because I'm rapidly changing my preconceived ideas on vampire fiction.