Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Blood Muse: Timeless Tales of Vampires in the Arts Hardcover – December 1, 1995
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The leading humorous fantasist (Friesner) and the leading sf-fantasy anthologist (Greenberg) collaborate to compile this less than wholly humorous anthology. The stories disclose vampires in painting, cinema, music, sculpture, dance, writing, and several other fine and performing arts. If any subsidiary theme predominates, it is the loneliness of the vampire compounding--and sometimes fighting against--the loneliness of the artist. Particularly memorable stories include those by established writers Jane Yolen and Susan Shwartz and those by relative unknowns Thomas Roche, Laura Ann Ginman, Gregory Nicoll, and Tim Waggoner. The average quality is more than acceptable, as the contents both explore the main theme with intelligence and offer an abundance of good reading to the literate vampire fan. Roland Green
Top customer reviews
Generally speaking, there are a couple of ways to divide up vampire stories. The vampires are evil, brooding creatures who live to prey on humanity, or the vampires are good guys who use their supernaturally long lives to try and help along lesser beings; that's one way to categorize stories. Another is, the vampires have strictly the powers and weaknesses attributed to them by legend, or the author has taken the vampire general outline and made individuals with varying characteristics. Do the vampires feed on human blood, or do they prey on emotions, life force, or other features of the human soul? Still another way to categorize vampire stories is whether they are a blatant analogy for sex (penetration, blood, you know, the whole breaking-the-maidenhead, women-as-prey thing) or are more subtle, with metaphors for gaining knowledge, other stuff besides sex. The downside of short stories is that, since there are space limitations, authors usually don't have the space to get away from the cliche' side of these dichotomies, and so in most of the stories in this book, vampires are strictly the creatures of legend, evil, brooding, killing human prey, sunlight-is-deadly, afraid of garlic, etc. - by taking those things for granted, the author has time to develop a plot, whereas if the author of a short story tries to make a vampire an individual, there's not much room left for anything else.
Other problems: in trying to get over 30 stories for the book, the editors stretched at authors; some are not familiar at all to readers of the fantasy/SF genre, and their writing is in a literary style that can be offputting.
OK, all that sounds rather negative, so let me point out a few things I did like in this book:
*"Fleadh de Deux" about an Irish vampire involved in the Irish traditional music scene, a different setting for a vampire! (Incidentally, several of the musical tales seem to feature flutes, which certainly adds to the thesis that many vampire stories are really about sex, since the flute is a pretty blatant phallic symbol.)
*The story featuring Bela Lugosi, who turns down eternal life when offered it by a real vampire.
*"Vamping the Muse" which features muses who are real little creatures who drink blood...
*Most of the stories in the "Special Exhibits" section, which includes things that don't fit into the main categories of art such as music, dancing, or writing. For example, "Man of the Dead" features the art of jewelry-making, and is set in China. And "Beat Surrender," featuring the art of graffiti murals.
All that said, in summary, I'd buy this one used or paperback, as I didn't think the overall quality of the stories was worth hardcover, permanent-addition-to-the-collection. But, if you are a serious everything-vampire collector, you may find it worthwhile. It certainly does contain stories you won't find elsewhere.