See, I had no idea at all there there was even a Lesbian Vampire genre in print or movies. If I had, you can bet your sweet bippy I’d have been all over it in no time at all. Mark Wheatley explains it all in his highly entertaining introduction to LEZ VAMPS but I’ll give you the thumbnail: the short stories in LEZ VAMPS are based upon one of Mr. Wheatley’s paintings. His fans liked it so much a contest was launched to find the best short story based on that painting. And an extraordinary painting it is. But don’t take my word for it. Bounce on over to his Facebook page and check 'em out for yourself.
Fortunately for us, the decision was made to collect some of the best entries into a digital anthology that is available for free. And it’s made a believer outta me when it come to the Lesbian Vampire genre.
But the first story “The Adoption” by James Smith wasn’t the one that did it for me. It’s the sort of story that as I was reading it I was way too aware of the fact that I was reading a story. It’s supposed to be humorous, I get that. But the overall effect on me was that of a guy in a bar jabbing you in your ribs with his elbow telling you what he thinks is the funniest joke in the world and you’re sitting there praying he’ll finish so you can get back to watching the ball game and drinking your beer.
“Boundary Dispute” by Cynthia and Mike Arsuaga did sell me on the premise, I’m happy to say and it should have been the first story in the book. This piece is drenched in sensual atmosphere and moodiness. Let’s face it, you give me a story that’s about Lesbian Vampires and I expect my fair share of erotic titillation. This story delivered exactly that.
“Lez Vamps” by Johnda Estep is what I call a Hit The Ground Running Story. It starts off fast and doesn’t let up. Most of it is carried along by dialog which is something I greatly admire in any writer as I feel my own work just doesn’t feel like if it has much meat unless I provide description. But some writers can convey exactly what they want to a reader by the skillful use of dialog and that’s what’s going on here. It’s a nice change up from the previous story which is heavy on description that feels like a heavy cloak wrapping around you. This one bounces back and forth and never slows down from start to finish.
Gordon Dymowski’s “Out There In The Night” is a straightforward story of vampire seduction. Mr. Dymowski tells a story that could easily be the beginning of a novel, if he wishes to take it further. But then again, he doesn’t have to. Between this story and “Boundary Dispute” I was beginning to get the whole thing about Vampire Lesbians…it’s not about sex and it’s really not even about the vampirism. It’s all about the seduction. Like the song says, that’s the hook that keeps you coming back and that’s the hook that kept me reading.
“Theatrics” by Bill Nichols did what I think “The Adoption” was trying to do: be a funny Lesbian Vampire story. The difference is that “Theatrics” actually is funny because Mr. Nichols got out of the way of his story and told the story instead of trying to impress me with how much of a funny guy he is.
“The Prey” by Askshat Sinha is really one that made me sit up and go ‘whoa’ because it started out to be one kind of story and subtly shifted into another so smoothly that I got blindsided and that’s exactly what I think the author was going for. This is the kind of story I read anthologies for and why I love them so much. “The Prey” has a gut punch of an ending I found very satisfying and enjoyable.
“The Undead” by Charles Baird also continues in that theme of seduction that I found I responded to in my favorite stories of this anthology. The sex and the actual vampirism is almost a byproduct of the way that the characters come into vampirism. They want to be seduced and they want to feel the overwhelming emotion of being pursued and seduced. It’s like a drug and this story as well as “The Prey” and “Out There In The Night” communicates that very well.
“Vampires: A Short Essay” by Russ Rogers didn’t turn my crank at all. Just like “The Adaption” it’s a story that came across to me as the writer trying to show how how hip and cool and funny he is rather than giving me a story worth my time to read.
There are a couple of poems in this anthology as well: “Night” by Johanda Estep and “Savior In The Tent Of Countess Reynardine” by Steffan Gilbert” that I didn’t review because when it comes down to poetry, I am way outta my league. My appreciation of poetry begins and ends with Dr. Seuss and I’m not ashamed to admit it. But if if you’re a fan and appreciate erotic poetry then by all means, check out the two offerings and maybe you’ll get more out of them than I did.
So should you read LEZ VAMPS? Well, first of all it’s a free read so there’s that to take into account. And most of the stories are pretty good so I’d say Yes. As for me, I’m going to hunt up more movies and stories about this Lesbian Vampires genre apparently you guys have been hiding from me.