cover image Tombs


. White Wolf Games Studio, $19.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-56504-905-5

Any book in which William F. Buckley Jr. cohabits with camp king Forrest J Ackerman is nothing if not diverse. Indeed, the theme of entombment takes many shapes in the 21 stories and one poem (Ackerman's goofy intro defies classification) that comprise this satisfying anthology that embraces a variety of genres and prose styles. Some of the tombs, like a jukebox containing someone's ashes in Michael Bishop's witty ``Epistrophy'' or the belly of a fantastic whale in Stewart von Allmen's ``He on Honeydew,'' are literal. Others, as in Buckley's ``The Temptation of Wilfred Malachey,'' are more metaphorical, dealing with characters trapped by fate or their own natures. Most stories have some touch of horror; although in Charles de Lint's ``Heartfires'' and Ian McDonald's ``The Time Garden,'' the mythic and the frightening become delightfully homey. Some authors inject elements of science fiction (Ben Bova, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Colin Greenland); some call on the supernatural (Lisa Tuttle, Nancy A. Collins, S.P. Somtow); some conjure exotic adventure (Michael Moorcock, Storm Constantine); and some stick to realism (Larry Bond and Chris Carlson's ``Burial at Sea'' is an emotionally effective story about a submarine accident). This is agreeable grab bag of claustrophobic, mortifying pleasures. (June)