Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead
Ed. Nancy Kilpatrick
Published 2010 304 pages
Reviewed by Sandra
Summary (from the book jacket)
New Vampires have evolved, and they are coming for you! Kelly Armstrong, Tanya Huff and twenty-two other dark fantasy and horror writers come together to re-imagine the future of vampires in this new collection of all-original short fiction – one of the most unusual and original vampire anthologies ever assembled.
This wonderful anthology, edited by Nancy Kilpatrick has one of the longest introductions ever seen at the beginning of a book, or so I think anyway, spanning fourteen pages in all, it tells of her life and times watching vampire movies when she was growing up, and what she found intriguing about the concept of vampires. She goes into all what we would call our favourite actors who played the Count Dracula from long ago in the twenties when cinema was new, to the modern times.
But the introduction is long for a reason. This first novel of short vampire related stories has been in her mind since she was a girl, and it is something she has wanted to do for a long time, and no wonder with all the rich writing talent out there, she would have plenty to keep her busy for years ahead, and that stands true today. Several years later, and several books later, she has managed to complete that which she had always wanted to do.
This is probably why the anthology is called Evolve, as it has been evolving for a great number of years in concept. The stories in this stunning anthology are impossible to put down and start with a poem...
Let the Night In by Sandra Katsuri
Sandra's poetry manages to conjure up an image of a person thinking of what it would be like to go some place different, the moon, in order to make a new start as vampires. There are the usual references to how vampires have evolved from the frock coated and top hat wearing types to the modern ones who try to blend into their surroundings as Goths or leather freaks. To shut the night out, or let it in is a good way of the person accepting what he or she is, and getting on with life.
Bend to Beautiful by Bradley Somer
Two men meet in a bar; one asks the other to come home with him. Why? He sees the others sadness, and wants to know more about him and what motivates that sadness for no other reason than he finds him beautiful. The other man finds humans an unusual species that have saddened him on more than one occasion, and he is tired of the same men and women who want to spend time with him, sapping his strength, his love and his morality. He thinks of saying goodbye to all of it, but how? Bradley's excellent use of simplistic language to convey deep emotions is wonderful in this short.
Sleepless in Calgary by Kevin Cooke
David, on his usual bus journey finds the unusual when he sees something swirl within the snow of the night in front of him - it is then he realizes he shouldn't have seen a vampire when others would never have noticed. This shocks the vamp and David in turn. David is a very distant man as far as others are concerned, problems with his parents in advancing years, his lack of female company, and a reason for living make him see what kind of a life he has had, or a lack of it has made him into a depressed individual. Once David meets the vampire, however, he finds out that becoming a vampire is a lot more different than he was led to believe by the media and movies in general. Be prepared for a nice, juicy twist at the end.
The New Forty by Rebecca Bradley
A woman thinks about her lot, and it is not what she would call wonderful. She knows all about the humans and the vampires, and what kind of people they are as they all exist in the world she has come to know. The humans live in daily turmoil, and so do the vampires. That doesn't stop her from noticing what goes on behind the scenes, and she sees they are just as bad as the humans, and the ones who dress up and pretend to be vampires, trying to live out a more interesting life. She has done everything in her former life, and done even more in her life as a vampire, though none of it she sees as new. Readers will like the references to popular culture and the media, which makes it more of an interesting story.
Come to Me by Heather Clitheroe
This one has a Japanese flavour to it, and a mysterious quality that sets it apart from the other stories. The strange nuances and peculiar language Heather uses make it one of the more intriguing ones in this compilation.
Evolve has something for every vampire reader out there. Whether it is about modern day, and the way vampires live in it, or vampires who question the human condition of boredom and how to combat it. The settings are real enough; it is the end result that is not. Enjoy the foray into these stories, even though I have only gone in depth with only a few of what are contained within those pages. Nancy has an inbuilt ability to gather all the best creatives around and bring them to us with her efforts.
Editor's note: Fantasy fans should keep an eye out for a new Vicki Nelson short story from Tanya Huff plus an all-new Otherworld story (featuring the vampire Zoe from Broken) from Kelley Armstong in this anthology.
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