Curse of the Full Moon
Ed. by James Lowder
Ulysses Press, 377 pages
I received a free review copy of this book from Ulysses Press.
While the full moon rarely has a dramatic an effect on most people, there are some who will admit that they can feel the pull of the moon, at least in subtle ways -- and crime statistics bear this out year after year. For those rare few for whom the moon activates a profound curse, the world becomes a different place entirely: a world filled with soft, slow creatures to be hunted, attacked and devoured - creatures like us. Give thanks that those with such a curse are still a rarity...
In Curse of the Full Moon, James Lowder has collected 19 tales from an impressive collection of horror luminaries: George R.R. Martin, Ursula LeGuin, Ramsey Campbell, Charles DeLint, Michael Moorcock and Neil Gaiman are just a few of the names any fan of contemporary fiction will recognize, but the list doesn't end there. Joe R. Lansdale, Nancy A. Collins, Peter S. Beagle, Gene Wolfe and Harlan Ellison and many others also contribute tales to this collection.
Not all werewolves represented here are evil; some are merely menacing, in the way that a wild beast - when cornered - will defend itself with dread fury. Some shapeshifters in this volume are even amusing -- there is a wide variety of points of view offered, and a stunning display of creativity in that variety.
Several stories in particular caught my attention; Neil Gaiman's Bay Wolf, for example, perfectly illustrates the concept of a mash-up, combining werewolves and Beowulf's nemesis Grendel with a Malibu beach setting. Joe R. Lansdale's The Gentleman's Hotel is perhaps my favorite of the collection; mixing the Old West with werewolves and magic makes for a potent brew. Darrell Schweitzer's The Werewolf of Camelot - the only story completely original to this collection - captures excellently the atmosphere and emotion of an Arthurian tale.
Nancy A. Collins' Population: 666, while not totally new, has been extensively revised from the original version, and as such appears for the first time here. It apparently is being shopped around in script form for a feature film; best of luck to her!
With all the attention being lavished on vampires over the last decade, it's nice to see another classic horror monster getting the spotlight. Horror fans will want to snap up Curse of the Full Moon in a hurry; the next full moon isn't far off...
Review by Bill Bodden