on 15 October 1996
Poppy Z. Brite, one of the best new authors of dark fiction, has taken the time to gather some wonderful tales of vampiry together and bind them into a satisfying book. This baby has not collected dust on my shelf--nor will it on yours. Believe me, you'll want all of your friends to read it.
Perhaps the best tale of the lot is Brian Hodge's "alchemy of the throat", a beautifully crafted story of a castrati's venture into a paridoxical world of terror and unmitigated joy. He is bought by an old man with a shady history and becomes his lover only to discover that (what else?) the guy's a vampire.
Don't let this alarm you though--most of these stories aren't at all cheesy. There were only about two that i found truly tedious and pointless; the rest are gems. The cool part of the book is not the actual bloodsucking, but the variety of ways in which authors have chosen to express the concept of a vampire.
It's not always Dracula or Lestat. Sometimes, it's someone or something who takes one's power away, one's life force. And that is something that we can all identify with. Read Brite's own works for further enjoyment--you won't be sorry.
on 31 March 2011
When Poppy invited me to write a wee thing for this book, I was skeptical and cynical. "Erotic vampires," I frowned -- how blase. With my vignette, I decided to try and write something that was tainted with the cosmic mythos of H. P. Lovecraft, and I was delighted when Poppy accepted my prose-poem. He had excited me with his stunning originality as an author, and I suspected that any book edited by Poppy would be a rare gem -- and so it is, this LOVE IN VEIN. It is a dark jewel that is of uncommon lustre, reflecting the genius of its editor and the way in which that genius triggers originality in those who were invited to write for the book. These are vampiric manifestations that one will not find otherwhere. And because Poppy is an extremely good writer, and understands that which makes up good fiction and story-telling, he has the ability to choose good stories for his anthologies. Each of these tales is well-written and original. One of the best tales does not deal with vampires at all -- Jessica Amanda Salmonson's brilliant "The Final Fete of Abba Adi" -- a tale of delicious decadence, of the feasting on blood and flesh. Jessica's jeweled prose reveals that she is one of the genre's outstanding poets. The book's excellent opening tale, "Do Not Hasten to Bid Me Adieu" by Norman Partridge, is a completely different beast altogether, modern in every way, yet linked in delightful manner to a very old and famous novel concerning a very old and famous Count. Story after story reveals the originality of each author, with singular treatments of the vampire theme. The book reminds me of another magnificent anthology, Ellen Datlow's LOVECRAFT UNBOUND, of which many clueless critics have complained, "It ain't like Lovecraft!" Just so. It was an honour to be included in this book, with a prose-poem a literary form that one does not oft find in commercial horror anthologies. That Poppy published it has given me wet red joy. Poppy was a splendid editor, daring, original, fantastic. I regret that life has made it impossible for him to continue writing, and I ache for more magnificent anthologies as only he cou'd compile.
on 1 April 1999
Much of the works EDITED by Poppy Z. Brite really don't past muster, and in some cases appear to be nother but padding. There are stories that are niether vampiric nor erotic. I was generally dissappionted, although to be fair, occationally captivated. Ideally convince a friend to buy it, and just read their recommendations.