Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fiction: Blood Lite II: Overbite edited by Kevin J. Anderson

I am not a big fan of themed collections of short fiction. They often seem to me to be like restaurants positioned in tourist areas: with so much emphasis on location, location, location, the food is often entirely overlooked. With themed collections, with so much emphasis on staying on task and on track, it seems that it is easy for writers and editors to lose sight of what must be their most important goal: to enlighten or entertain readers with compelling works of short fiction.

So it is with Blood Lite II: Overbite (Gallery), a follow-up to a mildly successful collection published in 2008. Though the book bills itself as a collection of horror fiction -- and while it is, in fact, published under the “Horror Writers Association Presents” banner -- as the title suggests the fiction in Blood Lite II falls on the soft side of horror. Even the names of the contributors tell that story: Kelley Armstrong; L.A. Banks; Allison Brennan; Heather Graham; J.A. Konrath; Sharyn McCrumb and others contribute to a collection that calls itself “humorous horror,” two words that, under most circumstances, should not go together.

Hardcore horror fans will want to give this one a miss. However other readers looking for seasonal fare “accompanied with a does of humor to tone down the terror” will find much here to like.

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