cover image Ad Eternum

Ad Eternum

Elizabeth Bear. Subterranean (, $25 (96p) ISBN 978-1-59606-444-7

Bear’s final vignette (after The White City) in her New Amsterdam alternate history series brings world-weary wampyr Sebastien de Ulloa back to New Amsterdam for the first time in 60 years. It’s 1962 and de Ulloa, operating under the alias Jack Prior, endures more notoriety than he wants: he’s heckled by antivampire demonstrators (a neat alternate historical take on America’s civil rights struggles), hounded by a pathetic vampire wannabe, and urged by a faculty of thaumaturges to teach at their newly formed college of magic. There’s not much drama to the tale, but there are enough incidents and reunions with old acquaintances to prompt Bear’s likable wampyr to insightful reflection on the shortcomings of immortality, and to espouse wisdom that comes from more than one lifetime of having to deal with mortals and their all-too-human natures. (Mar.)