Blood Lite (Anthology)
Edited by Kevin J. Anderson
Published 2008 379 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
The Horror Writers Association Presents "BLOOD LITE"... a collection of entertaining tales that puts the fun back into dark fiction, with ironic twists and tongue-in-cheek wit to temper the jagged edge.
Charlaine Harris reveals the dark side of going green, when a quartet of die-hard environmentalists hosts a fundraiser with a gory twist in "An Evening with Al Gore..." In an all-new Dresden Files story from Jim Butcher, when it comes to tracking deadly paranormal doings, there's no such thing as a "Day Off" for the Chicago P.D.'s wizard detective, Harry Dresden.... Sherrilyn Kenyon turns a cubicle-dwelling MBA with no life into a demon-fighting seraph with one hell of an afterlife in "Where Angels Fear to Tread..." Celebrity necromancer Jaime Vegas is headlining a sold-out séance tour, but behind the scenes, a disgruntled ghost has a bone to pick, in Kelley Armstrong's "The Ungrateful Dead."
Plus 17 other tales guaranteed to get under your skin - in a good way. So let the blood flow and laughter reign - because when it comes to facing our deepest, darkest fears, a little humour goes a long way!
The old adage, “never judge a book by its cover” springs to mind with Blood Lite, a collection of 21 short stories by various well known and not-so-well-known horror and fantasy authors. The cover promises “A collection of nerve-jangling tales with a humorous bite” and the illustration of a vampire holding up a bat shaped umbrella would perhaps lead readers to believe that this is an anthology of comic vampire tales. Sadly this is not the case.
Out of 21 stories only four mention vampires. Of these four tales only two feature vampires as the main protagonist of the story. So for vampire fans there isn’t a huge amount of content here. Zombies seem to be the most prevalent supernatural beasties in this anthology with the odd tale about demons, ghosts or were-animals thrown in for good measure.
None of the tales live up to their nerve-jangling and humorous promise either. Some tales are mildly amusing but none are laugh-out-loud funny. Much of the humour in these tales is derived from the protagonist’s or the character’s mindless stupidity. Is being dumb funny? (Answers on a postcard please…) There is a distinct lack of terrifying horrific content too.
Both of the two stories that feature vampire protagonists are fairly average. Elvis Presley and the Bloodsucker Blues is about the life and death of the undead King of rock and roll. Bitches of the Night by Nancy Kilpatrick is a more entertaining story and features a hen-pecked vampire who fervently wishes he hadn’t created so many brides.
Of the stories written by the “big name” authors prominently displayed on the cover, Charlaine Harris’s tale isn’t from the much loved Sookie-verse and is a rather average offering that lacks the natural warmth and humour that is abundant in her Sookie tales. Sherrilyn Kenyon’s offering is neither funny nor scary – and is below average for this author.
While the majority of the tales are below average the following four stories stand out for actually being rather good. These are all four star stories. The first of which is The Ungrateful Dead by Kelley Armstrong which features necromancer Jaime Vegas a character from her Otherworld series. This is a story I wished was longer because I would have liked to have read more of it.
PR Problems by Eric James Stone was a short (yes, even for a short story) but effective tale with vampires and ghouls. A Very Special Girl by Mike Resnick was particularly engaging and its lovelorn zombie did raise a smile from me. Finally, Day Off by Jim Butcher was an entertaining, if not scary, story featuring Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only advertising wizard for hire. My only criticism of Day Off would be that the loose ends left behind made me want to read on, rather than being satisfied by its short story format.
In order to work out the star rating for Blood Lite I gave each story its own star rating and then used the average of these scores to rate the collection as a whole. There were eight 1 star, four 2 star, five 3 star and 4 four star stories in this anthology.
Blood Lite is rated at 2.2 stars out of 5.
LoveVampires Review Rating:
Kevin J. Anderson, the editor of this collection, has written many novels in the sci-fi genre. Find out more about his work at his website. Visit Kevin’s website.