Evolve 2: Vampire Stories of the Future Undead
ed. Nancy Kilpatrick
Published 2011 264 pages
Reviewed by Sandra
Summary (from the book jacket)
Meet the eternal predator that humanity never ceases to find both fascinating and terrifying. Evolve 2: Vampire Stories of the Future Undead moves this creature beyond 2012, through this century and into the next. We humans will evolve, but so will they! Whatever apocalyptic events that lie ahead for our species, for the planet, vampires will be there too, helping or hindering, effecting or infecting us. Time is on their side, but it may not be on ours.
Featured authors include: Tanith Lee, Kelley Armstrong, John Shirley, Thomas Roche, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Heather Clitheroe, Erika Holt, Ivan Dorin, Michael Lorenson, Jason Ridler, David Beynon, Eileen Bell, Peter Sellers, Sandra Wickham, William Meikle, David Tocher, Leanne Tremblay, Ryan McFadden, Steve Vernon, Bev Vincent, Anne Mok, and Sandra Kasturi.
The stories are all arranged under their own titles, Pre-Apocalypse, Post-Apocalypse and New World Order where it sounds like there have been various generations of vampires and they have had to continue their lives however they could, and they have evolved as a result. The first series of stories are about what happens before the apocalypse, the second set are when the apocalypse happens, while the third set show the aftermath and the effect its devastation had on others who managed to survive it.
In Pre-Apocalypse there are the following stories of merit:
The List by Kelley Armstrong
Take a walk into Miller's bar and you will find out all kinds of people, ogres, witches, wizards, necromancers and half-demons - they are all there in one form or another. This bar only allows one vampire though, and the narrator of the story, Zoe is the one. It's a pity no one believes she is a vampire as she knows she is one - but that's just half of the fun in this story. The other half is how she tries to prove to the other monsters in the bar that she is a vampire. Who knew it would be so hard to get people to believe them.
Outwitted by Sandra Wickham
Sarah doesn't know what hits her when she wakes up in an unfamiliar setting. She feels drowsy and has to make sense of what has happened to her in the few hours previous to the incident. Tracing her memories back to what she was doing before, she remembers she met someone, a handsome young man, Tom. This story isn't what you might think at first, though, go with it, and it will lead you somewhere strange and dangerous. The woman has a lot of questions she wants to be answered, but at first no one is out to help her and give her the answers. There is an eerie feel to this story, and a sense of loss at the end.
Non Sangreal by Ivan Dorin
Two people talk, but the other one is far removed from any human being around. They are a man and a girl. He is a wanderer, and being alone is his natural state, but this time he is trying to help the young girl out of a dire predicament and whether she takes his advice depends on how unhappy she is with her life. While they talk, I got to find out more about the characters and that they weren't as different as they appeared. I found there was a subtle twist at the end, and when the reader reads it again, they will re think the whole story after that.
Toothless by Peter Sellers
One cop tells how the situation is with the world around them, how the climate in the US has got so hot, and sticky, and how it has affected their lives even at night, but he does know one thing, the climate has hit the vampires much more than they thought and it is all to do with the ozone layer’s depletion. This even at night didn’t make them die, but it did make them ill, and if they couldn’t get hold of artificial plasma, they would inevitably die anyway. Many of them who had lurked in the dark, had to work for this plasma as it was expensive, so some had to work the dark streets for cold hard cash, and not all of it was legitimate. One night they find a dead vampire without his trademark teeth, and with blood around his lips, and they wonder whose blood he has been drinking. This leads to more questions along the way. Peter’s story is original and well thought out.
In Post-Apocalypse these will really make you sit up and take note:
The Deal by Erika Holt
Linh and Tau are the best of friends, and have just managed to escape the containment squads. These squads would have dragged them back to their labs and experimented on them, but not before drugging them and tossing them into morgue drawers while they changed into vampires. Tau is one of the infected and he only has seventeen hours maximum before he changes and ceases to be her best friend. She wants to panic and cry and all those things a best friend would do, but she keeps it all in for his sake. She knows there is only one thing she can do – kill him herself and send his ashes back to his mom. It’s what she would have wanted, after all. I liked how Linh found Tau sexy due to him liking blond boys who broke his heart instead of women. She seemed to find it easier and less complicated to be his friend.
Out With the Old by William Meikle
This story starts as a series of journal entries from the future. John Sharpe tells of what happened to him in 2062, when all hell broke loose. There are over fifty of them in a barricade constantly watching outside for who would be wandering around. Danger lurked around every corner and they didn’t know what might happen next. A man comes to their barricade, and asks to give them a proposition. At first they don’t want to know, but would it hurt for them to give an unarmed man a break? Prentice is his name and he has made a difference to the men in there as he has brought enough supplies to keep them for a month, and has even gone back out and got more for them as a favour for letting him stay. They have done their bit by letting him stay in return for supplies, but he tells them he may ask for a favour from them very soon and they must comply. Readers will wonder what kind of man he is, and what he wants, which makes for a very spooky read.
Survival of the Fittest by Leanne Trembley
Kara has killed a woman, Angeline and hid her body after draining it of blood. In this story, humans and Vamparians coexist, and humans are also part of an outreach program where they are studied. Humans are proving hard to find for their research, but they do find the occasional one or two they can work on. The story goes back to before Angeline is dead. Kara feels animosity toward her, thinking she would not let her keep her discovery of a man who might provide them with what the centre is looking for. Survival goes beyond mere existence; it is far in the future and has a science fiction basis for it that is both interesting and engaging.
The Faith of Burning Glass by Steve Vernon
After a nuclear war, all that is left is devastation, death and the vast, unmoving desert with no one around to rebuild it. One man who has stayed in the shadows has had to emerge in order to survive, but even he is finding it hard. He knew for centuries that the world was destined to die as it has, and he is its only survivor so far. He feels the death and despair around him; he doesn’t feel at all lucky for escaping the inevitable. He feels emptiness. He thinks there must be someone else out there other than him who has survived, but what will he do when he meets him? Readers will really be able to feel the despair in the narrator, and the grief for good times and good things lost.
In New World Order only the fittest do survive:
Soulglobe by John Shirley
Looking further into the future being buried is a different thing entirely. Many arrange to be placed in glass coffins and they fly around a Soul globe, an asteroid. The man who is trying to sell a couple the perfect burials has to spend time with them and persuade them that it is the right thing to do, but there are other things they have to take into account. Soulglobe teases the readers mind and shows what can happen when someone is trying to sell perfection – does it always go right for the buyer?
Red Planet by Bev Vincent
Isaac is in a ship bound for Mars, and the budget has meant that there are only so many supplies on board and only so many people can come along. He has had several periods where he was put in stasis, but when he awakes now, he feels no air in his lungs, and instead of thirsting for water, he only hungers for one thing – blood. Isaac finds his time in space stifling, and he hates it, but what will happen to him next once he confesses how he feels? Isaac feels what we all would once we have come out of stasis, there would be shock and uncertainty, but the reader can really get into how he feels inside, and the changes that have been made. This story has a honesty to it that is very endearing.
The Big Empty by Thomas Roche
Agarthans don’t scare easily; they are a race that seems to have no fear at all. There are stories about what live below Level 85 though, and some aren’t for the feint of heart. Nothing is supposed to grow on Level 85, yet if the rumours are believed to be true, there is, and of this many should be fearful. Gaardner and Eve have a lot to talk about in this story, and most of it is about the rumours of other life. The Big Empty takes readers on a walk down what could be either rumour or fact, it just has to be discovered yet, at least in the minds of others who might want life to exist on Level 85.
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