Blood Muse

Edited by Esther M. Friesner and Martin H. Greenberg

Donald I. Fine, Inc. $22.95.

Unexpected vampires, unexpected art.

Bela Lugosi's classic cloaked vampire shares the pages with a flute that kills, a blood-thirsty head more dangerous severed than attached, and many variations of the Muse who requires blood payment for inspiration. The art ranges from poetry, sculpture, and music to architecture, stained glass, and striptease dancing.

The plots are more predictable. Too many focus on the ugliness of vampires and obsession with art rather than the romance of either. Some pieces are "lighter" than most -- Jane Yolen's "Vamping the Muse," for instance -- but overall the collection has little humor other than a black irony. None of the stories is outright fun, although there is a certain exuberance in the image of a vampire Hamlet sweeping Ophelia into his arms and racing off to escape the dawn.

"Dramaturge" by Susan Shwartz is worthwhile, as is "Symphony for the Quiet Ones" by Michael Scott Bricker. And Mark Kreighbaum's "Ars Brevis" has a clarity of prose to which nothing else in the book comes close. But otherwise, Blood Muse is a disappointing collection.


Read an excerpt from Mark Kreighbaum's Ars Brevis at his home page.

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This review copyright 1996 by Wendy Morris

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