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By Blood We Live Paperback – August 1, 2009

3.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The usually superlative Adams (Federations) delivers a merely solid collection of modern vampire tales. Although most of the stories are reprints, John Langan's novella The Wide, Carnivorous Sky, original to the volume, is the highlight, telling the tale of four Fallujah veterans who witness something even more horrific than war. Many of the classic reprints (including Stephen King's One for the Road and Jane Yolen's Mama Gone) are worthwhile, but the newer reprints are a mixed bag. Bruce McAllister's Hit is witty and touching; Lilith Saintcrow's attempted hard-boiled pastiche, A Standup Dame, completely flops. Vampire fans might wish for more humor and unusual twists on the theme, but there are enough standout stories—including Gabriella Lee's gorgeous Hunger and Michael Marshall Smith's melancholy This Is Now—to satisfy and entertain. (Oct.)
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From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—This anthology offers many perspectives on vampires and includes 30 short stories by popular authors written over the last 30 years. Included are Neil Gaiman's unusual take on Snow White, Anne Rice's story in which the house—or is it a being within?—takes control, and Harry Turtledove's tale about what is really hidden under St. Peter's in Rome and its implications for the Catholic Church. A number of these stories are sexual in nature and a few are downright disturbing. Consider this purchase if you have mature vampire, fantasy, and horror readers.—Janet Melikian, Central High School East, Fresno, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books; Original edition (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597801569
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597801560
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,601,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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This collection of vampire stories is uneven, to say the least. The best of the bunch are very good indeed:

"Snow, Glass, Apples" - Neil Gaiman's frequently anthologized take on the Snow White story, from the Queen's point of view. Atmospheric & scary. Gaiman is one of the best writers working in any genre.
"Infestation" - Garth Nix does an imaginative & entertaining take on a future where vampires are isolated, hunted & killed by professionals.
"Life Is the Teacher" - Carrie Vaughn's story sneaks up on you. A moving tribute to teachers who work with "different" kids & an excellent vampire story.
"Blood Gothic" - Nancy Holder's vampire isn't who, or what, you'd expect. Short & scary.
"Nunc Dimittis" - Tanith Lee's tale of a vampire, her aging servant, & a young thug is lushly written & atmospheric, violent & very, very sad.
"Ode to Edvard Munch" - Caitlin Kiernan's deceptively simple narrative about a pretty young vampire & her willing (?) victim reads like some of the best New Yorker fiction from the 1930s.
"After the Stone Age" - Brian Stableford proposes the best weight-loss plan ever.
"House of the Rising Sun" - Elizabeth Bear's vampire story is short, not-too-sweet, & leaves the reader wondering ....
"Sunrise on Running Water" - Barbara Hambly is one of the best writers of historical fiction in the business (check out her Benjamin January novels). In this story, she imagines what might have happened to a vampire who booked passage on the Titanic. Hilariously faithful to Bram Stoker's original & a (so to speak) scream.
"Hit" - Bruce McAllister imagines what might happen if a hard-boiled professional assassin were charged with killing a vampire by ...
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Format: Paperback
Adams continues to develop his skills as an anthologist, coming up with an excellent vampire collection to match his earlier post-holocaust and zombie reprint anthologies. BBWL avoids the odd politicization that made "The Living Dead" a bit of a dog's breakfast (no abortion rights or gun control vampire tales here) but falls victim to some extent to the overall problems tainting vampire literature.

I speak here of the vampire hunk / babe syndrome, the sexy vampire as object of love / desire. Besides not being very horrific, this worldview produces not only the questionable excesses of Anne Rice, but even worse the romance novel bodice rippers that have slowly cluttered up the horror section of Borders like cholesterol. Adams evidently thought it would be fun to include some of these pulp authors to contribute to this anthology, and as a result he got a few weak pieces in the mix. The Saint Crow and Banks pieces are draining, and the over-anthologized Rampling Gate story by Rice is almost a parody of her usual work, with a shy gentle innocent vampire who wins the heart of our Gothic heroine. There's also an almost literally plotless piece in here from the dubious "sexy horror' anthology "Hotter Than Hell" about some coed vampire seducing some guy she meets in a bar that is really cringeworthy. Bleh. I guess this junk is a noticeable and significant part of the genre, but this doesn't mean it has to be included in serious horror anthologies.

Adams also includes a few works by some of the umm, more prolific and less talented science fiction writers like Anderson and Turtledove in here, which also drag a bit, but at least they are short, unlike the Banks & Saint Crow pieces which are purgatorial in duration.
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Format: Paperback
By Blood We Live is a massive anthology of vampire fiction clocking in at 500 pages and nearly a quarter of a million words. The book features stories by some of the top names in horror/fantasy literature including Stephen King, Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman, Harry Turtledove, Tanith Lee, Brian Lumley, and more. However despite the star-power of the authors it fails to escape being labeled "uneven" as is the fate of so many anthologies with such a diverse group of authors.

Adams, who edited Night Shade's "The Living Dead" has proven himself to be a capable anthologist and he presents many outstanding stories culled from over the past few decades (although most are fairly recent). Stephen King's "One for the Road" is the oldest story in the collection, originally published in 1977 and collected in King's "Night Shift". It is a short side story to King's vampire epic " Jerusalem 's Lot " relating the tale of a battle with vampires on a lonely road during a snowstorm.

Harry Turtledove's "Under St. Peter's" is one of the more interesting stories in the book although not as controversial as some claim. The master of the alternate history genre presents a tale in which Jesus did not die on the cross but rather became a vampire and is imprisoned beneath St. Peter's Basilica.

Norman Partridge's "Do Not Hasten to Bid Me Adieu" is a sequel/continuation of Bram Stoker's Dracula and deals primarily with the character of Quincey Morris, the Cowboy who helped kill the vampire in the original novel.

"Child of an Ancient City " by Tad Williams looks at the vampire mythology from a different stance. William's vampire is from the Middle Eastern mythology and a far cry from the seductive, sexy vampires of most modern tales.
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