Ellen Datlow (ed.) - A Whisper of Blood: 18 Stories of Vampirism (Morrow, 1991)
Illustration: Thomas Canty Photo: J. K. Potter
Ellen Datlow - Introduction
Suzy McKee Charnas - Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Karl Edward Wagner - The Slug Robert Silverberg - Warm Man Kathe Koja - Teratisms Elizabeth Massie - M Is for the Many Things Barry N. Malzberg - Folly for Three Rick Wilber - The Impaler in Love Jonathan Carroll - The Moose Church Thomas Ligotti - Mrs. Rinaldi’s Angel Melissa Mia Hall - The Pool People David J. Schow - A Week in the Unlife Jack Womack - Lifeblood Melinda M. Snodgrass - Requiem Thomas Tessier - Infidel Chelsea Quinn Yarbro - Do I Dare to Eat a Peach? K. W. Jeter - True Love Pat Cadigan - Home by the Sea Robert Holdstock & Garry Kilworth - The Ragthorn
"In Blood Is Not Enough , I wanted to extend the boundaries of what a vampire is — expand the bloodsucker image into the concept of vampirism. I believe I succeeded. With A Whisper of Blood, I had intended see just how far I could take the concept without any actual bloodsucking. But my editor, and certain avid fans of the vampire-as-entity who had read and enjoyed the first volume, expressed dismay that I planned to include no actual vampires. So . . . here and there among these metaphorical bloodsuckers lurks a vampire or two. You'll know them when you see them.
Admittedly, some of the stories are a stretch ...."
- from Ellen Datlow's introduction.
Think I had Little Deaths and a Years Best Fantasy & Horror collection from the library, but the only two books of Ellen Datlow Ii'm familiar with are the vampire collections, Blood Is Not Enough and this one. For the most part, got on fine with Blood Is Not Enough and confidently snapped up Whisper ... on publication but - oh dear. So I start reading this thing and grow increasingly frustrated. How thick must I be not to appreciate a vampire collection all but bereft of vampires?
Karl Edward Wagner - The Slug : Successful author Keenan Bauduret unwittingly invites a psychic vampire into his life. Feeling sorry for friendless slob and struggling author Casper Crowley, Bauduret approaches him at a party and innocently agrees to let him drop by some time and consult his library. The nightmare begins the following day and henceforth Crowley gate-crashes whenever he feels, stuffing his fat face with pizza, helping himself to the liquor, constantly cracking obscene and unfunny sorority girl jokes and ... you get the picture.
Bauduret's career goes into free-fall while Crowley's thrives, his latest novel Nazi Druids topping the best sellers. Bauduret decides, not unreasonably, that desperate measures are called for if he's to be rid of this horrible, bloated, strength-sapping SLUG.
Jack Womack - Lifeblood: "Woven into her arms were dozens of thin scars, small ones, whiter than her skin .... She was deliberately cutting herself, you see."
Sad story of Leah, a fragile young student, reputedly either an addict or anorexic, although her condition is altogether less commonplace if just as lethal to herself and lover Henry.
David J. Schow - A Week in the Unlife:Journal of a vampire hunter of the more psychotic persuasion (is there any other kind?). The authorities take a dim view of his dubious activities but then a prophet is never accepted in their own time.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.