Kevin J. Anderson (ed.)
Simon & Schuster Pocket (US: 21st October 2008)
Horror’s not so scary in this humorous horror anthology presented by the Horror Writers Association, and edited by Kevin J. Anderson.
Let’s not deny it: anthologies are often a mixed bag containing mostly so-so stories, with a few outstanding contributions. Blood Lite is no different in that respect. Here’s the story breakdown:
Kelley Armstrong’s The Ungrateful Dead: Solid story.
Joe R. Lansdale’s Mr. Bear: I’ve never read anything by this author before, but this story is head-and-shoulders above the rest in this collection. You know how Brian Griffin is a dog with a lot of human traits? The bear in this short is also rather human, an ex-icon of sorts just wanting a friend. He meets human Jim on a plane, and the trouble starts there. And unlike the rest of the stories here, this one actually had something frightening: the threat of a “weenie pull”. It goes to show that so-called “horror” is really just a distraction from the true horrors of real life. But this is one cracker of a read.
Christopher Welch’s The Eldritch Pastiche from Beyond the Shadow of Horror: I think I’m the only person reading this without having read Lovecraft previously.
Matt Venne’s Elvis Presley and the Bloodsucker Blues: I was too distracted pondering the legalities of using a real (though deceased) person as a character, but giving him an alternate history…as a vampire.
Mark Onspaugh’s Old School: Only three pages of story, whilst most others wrote at least twenty. Reckon they were paid according to word count, or a set amount per story?
J. A. Konrath and F. Paul Wilson’s The Sound of Blunder: Was going great until the horror element kicked in.
Charlaine Harris’s An Evening with Al Gore: Only got good when the horror element kicked in.
Will Ludwigsen’s A Good Psycho Is Hard to Find: Best part: “That’s what we call it when we sneak into buildings with the chainsaw and scare the shit out of someone. It’s best in neighbourhoods with a lot of Bush stickers: they tend to be gun owners, and there’s nothing as invigorating as a pistol levelled at you by an angry Republican anxious to prove the Second Amendment works.”
D. L. Snell’s Love Seat Solitaire: Guess who wants to play Street Fighter with you.
Jeff Strand’s The Bell…FROM HELL!!!: Yes, the title’s really written like that.
Sharyn McCrumb’s Dead Hand: The idea is more fascinating than the actual story. All I know is I have the urge to write a humorous paranormal NASCAR short story. Do any publishers specialise in this? Send me an email. (Note to self: Must find out who the “Ganassi team’s new Hispanic driver” is. Someone who joined after Juan Pablo Montoya???)
Jim Butcher’s Day Off: Solid story.
And filed under Meh:
Lucien Soulban’s Hell in a Handbasket
Don D’Ammassa’s No Problem
Steven Savile’s Dear Prudence
Janet Berliner’s High Kicks and Misdemeanours
Eric James Stone’s PR Problems
Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Where Angels Fear to Tread
Mike Resnick’s A Very Special Girl
Nancy Holder’s I Know Who You Ate Last Summer
Nancy Kilpatrick’s Bitches of the Night