Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Blood and Other Cravings ~ edited by Ellen Datlow


Review by Shellie for: Blood and Other Cravings ~ edited by Ellen Datlow

Not for just vampire lovers, this is another compelling and diverse collection of horror from some of the best in the genre,  edited by Ellen Datlow. What’s great about these stories, is they are not all based upon traditional “fangy” blood suckers since the cravings and feedings in this book are not only about blood.

About:  Published in the Fall of 2011, this is my second horror collection edited by Ellen Datlow. Although all the stories in this collection are exceptional, I have my favorites and have marked them with asterisks. In my opinion it’s one of those perfect Fall reads, especially for any reader who enjoys short stories, likes a scare before going to sleep (to induce interesting dreams), or who may be short on reading time.

**All You Can Do Is Breathe ~ by Kaaron Warren:   A stunning short that’s a 2012 Ditmar Award nominated story. It’s about a “very thin man” who feed on the survival instincts of the strongest survivors from close-to-death experiences. This story is one of my favorites from the collection.

Needles ~ by Elizabeth Bear:   Demons, vampires, and tattoo needles are the theme of this story which is set in the town of Needles, Arizona.

Baskerville’s Midgets ~ by Reggie Oliver:     It’s a dark competition between preforming midgets and dwarves that stretches beyond the grave, all set in a boarding house in what feels like 1930’s England.

Blood Yesterday, Blood Tomorrow ~ by Richard Bowes:   Two middle aged memorabilia sellers and “recovering blood-addicts” remember and long for the days when their addictions were active. And  become seduced back into their old lifestyle’s drama.

X for Demetrios ~ by Steve Duffy:   Based on a bizarre yet true story found in a newspaper article, this short is about a man with an extreme vampire phobia and obsession, and his relationship with the garlic he believes will protect him.

Keeping Corky ~ by Melanie Tem:    A “special” mom with paranormal abilities decides to take back her beloved child from his adopted parent and the system that placed him, both of which are attempting to prevent her from contact with her boy.

Shelf-Life ~ by Lisa Tuttle:   A childhood doll house takes on a life of its own and creates problems for a woman and her daughter in England.

**Caius ~ by Bill Pronzini and Barry N. Malsberg:    One of my favorites, it’s a short story  based on a radio talk/help show featuring a modern day messiah, his would-be worshipers, and his relationship to madness.

Sweet Sorrow ~ by Barbara Roden:  A very dark short about an elderly couple who feed on the sorrow of grieving parents and friends of lost children.

First Breath ~ by Nicole J. LeBoeuf:   A bizarre, twisty and surreal story with LGBT and reincarnation elements.

Toujours ~ by Kathe Koja:  An obsessed butler becomes an even greater part of his talented employer’s life, not only to be close to him but to spite the artist’s new wife.

Miri ~ by Steve Rasnic Tem: A photographer is pulled into an imbalanced relationship with an anorexic woman who sucks out of him a key ability that he uses in the creation of his work.

**Mrs. Jones ~ by Carol Emshwiller:   My favorite from this collection, this short is about two “old-maid” sisters, living together on their family farm. After years of juvenile-like conflict and competition between the two, they have an odd visitor who one of the sisters seduces. It’s darkly hilarious with a feminist twist.

Bread and Water ~ by Michael Cisco:  A dark short about an ill and constantly thirsty man, who is quarantined with others who have caught the same virus.

Mulberry Boys ~ by Margo Lanagan:   A revengeful short about surgically altered, bizarre “silk” producing and imprisoned boys, that has Margo Lanagan’s characteristic dark fairytale quality.

**The Third Always Behind You ~ by John Lanagan:   Another favorite from this collection, it’s about a dark love triangle that continues even after the death of one of the participants. It is wonderfully disturbing.

The Siphon ~ by Laird Barron:   An eternal bachelor con/salesman, after years of scummy behavior gets his just desserts by attracting a bevy of diverse and ancient demons.

Highly recommended, this is a great collection at 4 stars!

Blood and Other Cravings, has several significant award nominations:


Alexia561 said...

Glad to see you gave this one 4 stars, as I'm a sucker for anthologies. I've discovered that I like just about anything edited by Ellen Datlow, as she seems to have impeccable taste!

Unknown said...

Alexia -
Yep I completely agree .. I am a big fan of Ellen Datlow.

I really wanted to finish it sooner but life just got way too messy. I am happy to say it's getting better.

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