SISTERS OF THE NIGHT by Barbara & Martin H. Greenberg--Eds. Hambly

SISTERS OF THE NIGHT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Surprisingly crisp and inventive vampire tales about sisters with fangs. Editors Hambly (Traveling with the Dead, see below) and sf-fantasy-mystery anthologist Greenberg hit on a happy idea when asking 14 writers, including Hambly, to write about ""the woman as vampire: loving that absorbs and destroys the lover; the moth going willingly to the flame. The immortal beloved who lives on the blood of a thousand mortal men."" As it happens, the theme most common to these writers treats of homelife among the undead, and three study the vampire as mother. Thus there is a lot of cooking, agonized family chat, and even a PTA meeting. All are told with straight faces that undercut satirical intent, though satire is clearly meant here and there. The album kicks off with its best story, ""Empty,"" by M. John Harrison, which may well be a classic in the genre, its inspired slapstick payoff set in a bathtub. Perhaps ten of the 14 choose the right tone, while the others are overwritten or simply dullish or fiat, including Larry Niven's overlong sf hackwork, ""Song of the Night People,"" or else depend on a tossed salad of mystery/fantasy jargons, as in George Alec Effinger's ""Marid and the Trail of Blood."" The collection's absolute standouts are Kristine Kathryn Rusch's ""Victims,"" a very clever political tale about vampires coming out of the closet like gays, running escort services, and influencing elections; and Steve and Melanie Tem's ""Mama,"" the story of a cancer-ridden mother now dead and buried but to whom Dad takes trays in the back bedroom. Being dead gives Mama lots of power: ""Before anybody in the family did anything they first had to figure out how it might affect Mama."" Blood in the bank.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0446600520
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Warner