Friday, May 28, 2010

CBR Book#42: Blood Lite edited by Kevin J. Anderson

I picked this collection of short stories up while browsing the library. I was looking for something that would keep my attention, which has been all ADHD lately. I blame...something besides myself. Anyway, this was a collection of horror stories that are humorous instead of scary. Stories were included from Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, and Jim Butcher, as well as others. (Also, I apologize for the spottiness of this review. I returned the book to the library before I wrote this review, which is not what I usually do. My bad.)

I was only familiar with Harris when I began reading. Harris's story, "An Evening with Al Gore", involves a wealthy couple that watches Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. The wife is inspired to do her part to help make the USA better off environmentally before she and her husband leave the country. They enlist the help of another wealthy couple and set about inviting the biggest environmentally damaging bastards in the US to a party where they hope to change minds with Gore's film. The evening does not end as expected.

I found Nancy Kilpatrick's "The Bell...FROM HELL!!!" to be hilarious and short. A man believes that he has purchased a bell that will summon Satan if he rings it six hundred and sixty-six times. Nevermind that the bell is plastic or that it has a price tag on it. Since the narrator keeps the bell on his desk, he is much maligned and teased by his co-workers. One day, he snaps and decides to show his fellow employees the power of the bell...FROM HELL!

I also enjoyed the first story, "The Ungrateful Dead" by Kelley Armstrong. I enjoyed it so much that I picked up one of her novels today at the library. The story in this anthology involves Jaime Vegas, a necromancer that tours the country giving performances like those of John Edwards or Sylvia Browne. The difference is that Jaime can actually raise the dead and interact with them, though she chooses not too. Unfortunately, some of the dead can feel entitled to Jaime's services, which is what happens in this story.

Not all of the stories were winners, though. I didn't like "Dead Hand" by James Strand, though maybe that was because I don't care for NASCAR. "Elvis Presley and the Bloodsucker Blues" was another one that I didn't care for. Elvis was really a vampire and vampire hunter, eh? Don't care. I think that the Elvis as something other than dead or human has been done so much that there isn't anything that can top Bubba Ho-Tep or Bubba of the Sookie Stackhouse novels.

If you enjoy Charlaine Harris's brand of not actually scary horror injected with humor, then you'll probably enjoy the bulk of these stories. They are fun, fast reads that would be perfect for a day on the beach. You don't need to expend a bulk of brainpower for these and, since the stories are short, you don't need to worry much about keeping track of characters.

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