Sunday, May 07, 2006

I'm Back

Ok, it's been about six months since I've updated this blog. I have been reading quite a lot during these past few months, but for various reasons, I haven't bothered to write my usual reviews. At first, my computer crashed and I had to use my dad's to get online. Then, once mine was replaced, I was out of the habit of writing reviews. I've decided that it's time for this laziness to end. So, I bring you The Presiden't Vampire by Robert Damon Schneck.

I've always been fascinated by the "strange but true" type of story. I've never really cared if it was about ghosts fairies, UFOs, cryptids, strange crimes, weird archeology, or whatever. I probably have dozens of works on the subject, many of which I've read several times. Unfortunately, much of what I've read seems to be written by overly credulous morons who'll believe anything they hear. Don't get me wrong, they're still good stories, I just have a hard time swallowing some of this stuff when there are no references to the sources or anything.

Mr. Schneck is different. His stories are well researched, and he provides lots of endnotes listing sources and other references. Not only that, but he doesn't get into the same bad habit other writers share of endlessly recycling the same tired, old stories; of the eight stories in the book, the only one that I was even remotely familiar with was the story of Pedro the mummy, and that one all I'd heard was the story of the mummy's discovery.

Of the eight stories, the one I liked best was "The Bridge to Body Island," which was the personal account of a friend of the author. The Bye-Bye Man, and his dog-thing called Gloom Singer, are genuinely terrifying, and would probably make a pretty damn good horror movie. Though, I must admit, Bye-Bye Man reminds me somewhat of The Corinthian from the Sandman comics. Still, under the circumstances, perhaps that's not too surprising.

My least favorite of the stories was the title one, "The President's Vampire." Mainly because it wasn't particularly mysterious. The original version of the story sounded strange, but once the author began researching it, the strangeness evaporated. The vampire wasn't a vampire, just a murderer. I actually found it pretty boring.

Still, the book itself was excellent, and I heartily recommend it. I give it 4.5 yo-yos., and I'd give it more if I didn't dislike the title story so much. Up next, I'm going to read Charles DeLint's Mulengro.

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