Brian Lumley – A Coven of Vampires (NEL, 1998, 292 p.)
(Cover by George Underwood)
The Master of the Macabre welcomes you to dance widdershins around his vampiric mind once again …
Brian Lumley has a thing about vampires. In his Necroscope and Vampire World series, he redefined the rules of vampiredom and spun an epic from them. However Necroscope certainly wasn't his first dance with the undead.
In his thirty years as an author, Lumley has returned frequently to the vampire metaphor – but always from a new angle, giving it a different twist. Here, you'll find erotic vampires, bestial vampires, teenage vampires, tentacled vampires, vampiric gods, ghouls, lamias, witch's familiars, blood suckers, life-stealers and soul-eaters – even an ecological vampire! In fact every kind of ghoul except the man in the cut-away coat and cape – although the real Dracula put in an undead appearance. Well … here they are, thirteen tales from beyond the grave.
Welcome, enter of your own free will – But do leave the lights on, won't you?
Content: Foreword - Brian Lumley What Dark God? (1975) Back Row (1988) The Strange Years (1982) The Kiss of the Lamia (1985) Recognition (1981) The Thief Immortal (1990) Necros (1986) The Thing from the Blasted Heath (1971) Uzzi (1988) Haggopian (1973) The Picnickers (1991) Zack Phalanx Is Vlad the Impaler (1977) The House of the Temple - (1980)
When did the back texts became so tongue in cheek? This reads like a Vincent Price routine in an Alice Cooper video. At least they didn't write Master of his Domain.
Many of the stories were already published in Lumley's earlier collections. Only Kiss of the Lamia is an original, and even this is another version of an earlier story
Am guessing this was inspired by the previous years The Vampire Stories of R. Chetwynd-Hayes, to which Lumley contributed the foreword? Don't have a copy of Coven ..., but have met at least half a dozen in various anthologies or, in case of Back Row, Skeleton Crew 'zine.
Have checked, and I've not a single Lumley book on either shelf of shame. Think it has something to do with the seemingly interminable Necroscope. Chances are, as soon as an idea becomes a "chronicles," I'm out of there.
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.
I am really unfamiliar with Brian Lumley and his career--all I really knew of was a couple of Lovecraftiana novels he wrote back in the mid 1970s (one, I seem to recall, bore the peculiar title The Transition of Titus Crow).
These reviews and annotations are quite entertaining! I have to be convinced a book is really special and of unusual quality if it's longer than 300 pages and recommended to me.