________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 11 . . . . November 16, 2012


Vampyric Variations.

Nancy Kilpatrick.
Calgary, AB: Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2012.
239 pp., trade pbk., $13.95.
ISBN 978-1-894063-94-4.

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.




Moments passed while she took him in. His hair was midnight, his eyes glistening like a raven’s feathers. His dark lips were thin but well defined– could he be wearing lipstick? she wondered, and then wondered why such a ludicrous thought would come to her now. But she needed something, even humor, to balance her because reality was definitely way off-kilter.

Suddenly, his eyes glinted red in the moonlight, like the eyes of the wolves. She could only stare, transfixed as prey terrified to paralysis by a predator.

She shook herself out of the stupor she was obviously in. Her mind was playing tricks. She was frozen, traumatized from being kidnaped and nearly consumed by wolves. Who wouldn’t see things oddly? That he had come from the ravine was not possible; clearly she was so stressed she had hallucinated this.

She opened her mouth to speak again, but found her throat dry, her lips almost glued shut. She struggled to get a grip. “I can’t thank you enough. You saved my life.” (From: “Lover of Horses”.)

This compilation contains 10 vampire tales and includes acknowledgments, a one page introduction by the author, and a two page introduction by Tanith Lee, a well-known writer of short stories and novels. The volume ends with five pages listing additional books by this same publisher.

      The anthology is broken into two sections, “Old School/New School Undead” and “Sex and the Morning After”. The nature of the subject matter lends itself to descriptive passages of a sexual nature as well as the expected blood and gore. All but one of the stories have been previously published elsewhere but in such wide-ranging and some possibly obscure publications that I seriously doubt that is a problem.

      In the “Old School/New School Undead” section, the first story is “The Vechi Barbat” that leads the reader into an Eastern European tale that blends the modern world with an older vampire theme than the more familiar one based on Vlad the Impaler.

      “Berserker” combines the traditional character of Dracula with a visit to London, England. Visiting the zoo, the Romanian Count experiences more sympathy with the animals than with the human spectators, and especially with a fierce wolf, the title character.

      Next, we have “Bitches of the Night”, a humorous tale of a male vampire and his difficulties with his three wives. The Prince of Darkness has some serious family problems.

      “Vampire Anonymous” looks at what might happen in a world where vampires have come out of the coffin, sort of, in today’s tech-savvy world and are blogging for victims. The by-play on the net is amusing.

      “Necromimicos” is a tale of a woman wandering through a cemetery in Montreal. She can feel the dead and is searching for a lost lover.

      “La Diente” has a Latin American background and a housekeeper who enjoys watching vampire movies and televison in her rare spare time. Her life changes when she receives the gift of a rosary made of human teeth.

      This section concludes with “Traditions in Future Perfect”. In this modern Enlightened Age, the vampire, in a hospital setting, provides a service of sorts to those patients with little time remaining.

      The second section, “Under: Sex and the Morning After”, begins with “Lover of Horses” which, at 52 pages, is the second longest tale in the collection. Broken into seven parts, it is a more archetypical romantic vampire story of a young woman who is kidnaped by Gypsies and left to be torn apart by wolves, or worse. She is rescued by a very mysterious stranger who carries her off to his home in the mountains.

      “Time” is about a relationship between an older and a younger vampire, both male, and a woman. The older vampire is about to teach the younger an important lesson regarding love or infatuation.

      The final story, “The Wild Hunt”, at 61 pages, is the longest tale and is an original novella. Set in modern Germany, it traces the complex relationship between a vampire and a fortune-teller he forces to assist him. His first instinct is to attempt to drain and slay her, but their relationship becomes far more intimate as they follow the trail of someone he must hunt down and kill, or be killed.

      Vampires have a serious taste for blood and the erotic, and both flow freely in this collection written by an author with deep roots in the field. The stories are varied and should appeal to the reader of the more traditional version of the genre. There are no simpering schoolgirls within these pages.


Ronald Hore, involved with writer’s groups for several years, dabbles in writing fantasy and science fiction in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.