cover image Blood Muse: Timeless Tales of Vampires in the Arts

Blood Muse: Timeless Tales of Vampires in the Arts

. Dutton Books, $22.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-1-55611-470-0

The undead are undone by lifeless interpretations of their potential role in the creative arts in this compilation of 32 original stories. Most of the selections, which are grouped according to the artistic medium they cover (``The Screening Room,'' ``The Sculpture Garden,'' etc.), restrict themselves to one of the three approaches to the vampire theme outlined in Friesner's introduction: art's power to confer immortality; its demand for self-consuming passion in the artist; its dependence on life for sustenance. Susan L. Williams's poignant ``Blind Faith,'' in which a vampire artisan stains glass for a cathedral he can never enter, and Tim Waggoner's crafty ``Preserver,'' about the unforeseen intent behind a vampire patron's deal with a collagist, are among the handful of tales that transcend this formula. In ``Sing Heavenly Muse,'' Meg Turville-Heitz adroitly suggests that Milton was in thrall to a vampire muse when he created the self-tortured Lucifer of Paradise Lost. Generally, however, despite the editors' praise of the creative imagination, there are few truly novel representations of vampires here. Overstocked with angst-ridden artistes who suffer the torments of hell for their art, this anthology would have benefited from some of the comic relief to be found in the editors' previous anthology, Alien Pregnant by Elvis. (Dec.)