Martin H. Greeberg (Editor)
Whenever I find myself at one of the two Barnes & Nobel shops here in Omaha, there’s usually one main area you’ll be able to find me browsing in: the Bargain Books sections. Besides the possibility of running into a title by an author that’s been marked down to titillate my cheapskate sensibilities (stop giggling), you can also find some obscure short story collections of both the horror and sci-fi varieties that B&N releases on one of their offshoot publishing groups.
And that’s how I happened across a copy of Vampires: The Greatest Stories. I was looking for something cheap yet interesting to kill the time while driving my Nurse Practitioner mother around to her appointed rounds, and came upon this very thing that caught my eye. So I bought it, and read it. Obviously. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this obligatory review.
The stories contained in Vampires: The Greatest Stories have maybe a handful by authors I recognize right off the bat: Robert Bloch (“The Bat is My Brother”), Philip K. Dick (“The Cookie Lady”), Robert McCammon (“The Miracle Mile”) and Richard Matheson (“No Such Thing As a Vampire”), as well as stories by names I didn’t recognize (but that hasn’t stopped me from devouring their contributions anyway): Eric Lustbader (“In Darkness, Angels”), Roger Zelazny (“Dayblood”), Brian Stableford (“The Man Who Loved the Vampire Lady”), David Drake (“Something Had to be Done”), Daniel Ransom (“Valentine from a Vampire”), Jane Yolen (“Mama Gone”), Karl Edward Wagner (“Beyond Any Measure”), Tanith Lee (“Red As Blood”), S. P. Somtow (“The Vampire of Mallworld”), Tad Williams (“Child of an Ancient City”) and Dan Simmons (“Shave and a Haircut, Two Bites”). It was an intersting selection, with some imaginative takes on the whole vampire genre, without devolving into a whole glut of “dark fantasy romance” or “young adult fiction”. But, I digress.
Overall, while the stories themselves were amusing and at times inventive and imaginative, I wouldn’t go so far as calling this the “Greatest Stories” ever assembled for vampire-themed fiction. Yes, I know, hype for the purpose of selling. Still, the collection seems a bit anemic. But then again, for a greatly affordable bargain book, it was a great way to kill a few hours.