DAW, $6.99, ISBN 0-88677-922-7
This anthology revolves around the personal ad. Okay, many people assume that it is only the desperate or the losers that place ads in search for mates. Here, sometimes vampires, werewolves, djinnis, succubi, incubi, aliens, and other beasties have no choice but to seek mates – or preys – this way. Blind dates can be really interesting, yes?
Actually the title Single White Vampire Seeks Same is a misnomer, as the beasties here aren’t just of the vampiric sort. And many of the stories here are surprisingly romantic, delving into the theme of loneliness and feeling lost in a big, anonymous world like, er, the Big Apple.
My favorites are Mickey Zucker Reichert’s Personal Wishes, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Folk Lure, Bradley Sinor’s Fireflies, Tanya Huff’s Someone to Share the Night, and Esther Friesner’s Werotica.
Personal Wishes has a modern day Cupid matchmaking two shy individuals who don’t even know each other until they read each other’s personals. Esther Friesner’s Werotica has a lonely man putting a personal that inadvertently makes him sound like a werewolf. A strange werewolf groupie responds, and soon this guy finds himself willing to do anything to be a werewolf.
Fireflies is a story of a she-werewolf meeting a vampire over a personal ad, and oops, an unlikely Romeo and Juliet romance blossoms. Likewise, Tanya Huff’s story tells her vampire series hero Henry Fitzroy’s attempt to find a new love to replace his ex Vicki, but alas, a seductive succubus answers instead. They solve a murder together, but sparks fly.
Tim Waggoner’s Fixer-Upper is a fun story too, of a Muse who selects her next project via personal ads.
But my favorite of my favorites is the romantic Folk Lure, where a hardened private investigator does everything he could to rescue his neighbor (whom he has a secret crush on) from a man she met via the personals, a man who isn’t who he seems. With prose like this, I can’t resist:
What I didn’t tell Karen, couldn’t tell Karen, was that I had come to appreciate her throaty voice running scales on the other side of my apartment’s paper-thin walls. That I now preferred her rendition of “Makin’ Whoopee” to virtually anyone else’s. Sometimes I lay on my couch with the lights off, listening to Karen rehearse as if I were listening to a brand new CD.
When she made it that next step up the ladder – and I had no doubt she would – when she would be singing in the bars instead of waiting tables, when she got heard by her first scout – I would cheer her like I had cheered no one else from our little dump on the wrong side of the tracks.
And I would miss her like no one else either.
Things can go wrong when some authors choose to start making pretentious philosophical ramblings instead of telling a good story. Yes, I know everyone’s lonely, but please, sex with a vampiress is not some sort of deep karma thing, so cut that out, okay? Interestingly, it is the male contributors who more often than not bungle up in portraying loneliness in their stories, where the plot more often than not has the lonely, loser men meeting drop dead buxom vampiress babes that fall hard for their manly sensitivity. Yes, keep hogging the remote and dream, guys. I’m sure if you try wishing hard enough, Elvira will drop by and give you losers a kiss. Hmph!
At the end of the day, though, after sifting aside the silly male fantasies, there is enough substance to make this anthology worth a read. One thing’s for sure, in this anthology, personals can’t be too bad since there are so many lonely people out there. The catch here is, of course, there’s no guarantee one’s soul mate wouldn’t howl at the moon or eat flies for snack.