Courtesy of CAROLYN HARTMAN
The age of the vampire has arrived. But this time, they look a little different; they’re normal and mortal — all the better to suck your blood with, my dear. The time of the flowing capes, non-retractable fangs, Transylvanian accents and gothic castles has passed. However, the strange fascination evoked by vampires is still very much alive today — pun intended. Anticipating this vampire hype, Otto Penzler, owner of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, managed to capture over 60 vampire tales in his new book, “The Vampire Archives: The Most Complete Volume of Vampire Tales Ever Published.”
“I’ve read a great number of vampire stories over the course of a long reading life,” Penzler said in a press release. “[I] knew there was a deliciously large trove of first-rate stories from which to choose.”
This boastfully titled collection draws in readers by featuring famous horror and vampire writers Anne Rice, Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft and Harlan Ellison. Any vampire fan worth his or her blood will pick up this rather large book in anticipation of such writers. The haunting volume continually impresses, also including less familiar authors like Roger Zelazny and M.R. James.
However, don’t open this phone book-sized volume expecting to see the longer works of such authors. No, Rice’s famous “Vampire Chronicles” cannot be found; instead there is one of her lesser-known short stories. The same can be said for the talented King. None of his horror novels are featured in the book. Fans looking for a cheap way to gather such works are out of luck. While disappointing, look at this as a way to expand your knowledge of all that is lurking in the night.
“The Vampire Archives” shows readers how the image of the vampire has changed since the first legends were written.
“The image of the vampire underwent a major shift with Anne Rice, and a still greater image makeover with the ‘Twilight’ books,” Penzler said in the press release. “Vampires are seen, more than ever, as handsome, romantic and loving.”
Readers will find the anthology explores a wide range of genres, including the gothic vampire tale, the amusing vampire story and the hunt for immortal love. There is even a section for “true” stories, as well as a poetic section.
The most notable aspect of “The Vampire Archives” is the 110-page bibliography compiled by Daniel Seitler. While it does not include things like comics, games, movies, plays or television involving vampires, it is a very impressive list of vampire novels and short stories.
If you have an interest in the original vampire lore, take a look at Penzler’s introduction. While slightly repetitive, he provides background on the original vampire legends told by the Egyptians, the Indians and other cultures. There is also a fascinating section discussing various “humans” whose blood loving behavior furthered the vampire legend.
Whether you are a dark, cape-wearing, fang-bearing fan of Dracula or crushing on the sparkly Edward Cullen, “The Vampire Archives” is a book you can really sink your teeth into.