Fiction Reviews


(2000) Ed. Peter Crowther, Gollancz, hrdbk, £16.99, 216pp,ISBN 0-57506-870-1

This is a book of four novellas (or novelettes, depending on how one counts such things these days -- how about four long short stories...?). The first, Leningrad Nights, is by Graham Joyce and concerns a boy, Leo, trapped in Leningrad during the German seige of WWII and, possibly, his doppleganger. Joyce’s writing is a joy, but the story is a bit weak. The second, How the Other Half Lives, by James Lovegrove ia, again, well written but, again, weak. A businessman, William Ian North, has founded his empire on a very private cruelty. The third is Andy Warhol’s Dracula by Kim Newman, set in his Anno Dracula universe, and full of famous faces. A joy to read, and hilarious as usual, this is the story of Johnny Pop, the last unliving descendent of Dracula, his New York drug trade and, of course, Andy Warhol. This is only the second best story in the anthology, because the best has been saved til last (how wise of Crowther). The Vaccinator by Michael Marshall Smith is about Eddie who, for a price, can buy you a ‘vaccination’ against kidnapping or, I should say, abduction. This story is everything that the film Men in Black was not; which is to say, funny, entertaining, illuminating and something you’ll want to go back to. On the whole I’d recommend this book, though the price is a bit steep, so I’d wait for the paperback.

Tony Chester

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