Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ellen Datlow and William Levy reviewed

Blood and Other Cravings: Original Stories of Vampires and Vampirism by Blood and Other Cravings
Ellen Datlow (editor)
Tor, $16.99
ISBN: 9780765328298

This super seventeen short story collection focuses on paranormal compulsive obsessive disorder and codependency. Each of the excellent entries provides the reader with insight into deviant supernatural cravings. In Kaaron Warren's "All You Can Do Is Breath," the trapped miner witnesses a creature attacking a peer and after being saved sees that same beast outside the mine. The vampire struggles between instinctive hunger and maternal cravings in Elizabeth Bear's "Needles." The mother grieves her son while living only to keep his memory alive in "Keeping Corky" by Melanie Tem. The incarcerated vampire struggles with controlling his needs and his mind in Michael Cisco's "Bread and Water." "The Mulberry Boys" (by Margo Lanagan) know you are what you eat as their bodies convert into silk manufacturing plants. The other contributions are all top rate as Blood and Other Cravings affirms its claim of “Blood and Other Cravings.” Harriet Klausner

Body and Sold
William Levy
BlackWyrm, $11.95
ISBN: 9781613181140

They arrived on Pree, an earth-like planet sixty light years from their home world. Their message to the technologically inferior cat-morphs is that we are from earth and come to help. When one of the aliens Barret and native Paum met, they fell in love. The Star-crossed pair found the road to a loving relationship devastated by their respective races proclaiming their mating taboo; even her loving older sister Col loathed having an earthling as a brother-in-law. Along the way they also confronted zombies, his military peers, vampiress, other ilk and his imprisonment to stay together.

Now Paum and Barret are on trial for crimes against nature. The Prosecuting Examiner goes for the jugular while in space feral invaders target Pree, earth and points in between as these deadly plundering warriors have done so before. Meanwhile mad geneticists crave time to study Paum and her cat-morph people as the trial goes badly for the dependents with increasingly the kept-apart star-crossed lovers realizing they have no hope to be together unless a miracle occurs.

The sequel to The Starcrossed is an exciting Pythonesque thriller in which a Romeo and Juliet couple confronts racism in a science fiction-fantasy stew. The action-packed storyline is fast-paced from the opening courtroom drama until the final clever denouement. Readers will enjoy Body And Sold as Paum and Barret face the most lethal species in the universe, lawyers. Harriet Klausner

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