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511s4a9bkxl_sl500_aa240_.jpgBlood Lite: An Anthology of Humorous Horror Stories Presented by the Horror Writers Association
Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kevin Anderson (editor)

Blood Lite: An Anthology of Humorous Horror Stories Presented by the Horror Writers Association was amusing to say the least. I actually tend to take a liking to sci-fi and fantasy books (shout out to O.W.F.C.), so this seemed right up my alley. Short stories for those of us (i.e. me) with short attention spans, all about the fantastical things that you don’t see happen in real life. The promise of a new and better story at the turn of a few pages! I read eagerly, waiting for the next story to be better than the last. Sadly, it was not so.

For the most part, Blood Lite was just strange. I mean, I’ll give it to the authors, I’d have never thought of the directions they took in the various stories found in the book. Elvis’s life (unlife?) as a vampire, Native Americans raising the dead to race in NASCAR, ostrich assassins, a ghostly goldfish wanting to play games, cocaine dealing thugs time traveling to the dinosaur age. It was all so very strange. There was so much potential. I think had some of the stories been made into novels, they’d have been spun into longer and better tales that made more sense, but with only twenty-some pages the stories were either too abrupt or too abstract to resolve or explain much.

Maybe I am asking too much from a horror/humor novel of short stories. I do find the need to make some sense out of literature, even that which contains things that are fantastical. Take this story for instance- one about a bear who sits next to some guy on a plane. I spent the first two pages of the book trying to figure out if it was a really hairy man they were talking about and using a euphemism, or a real bear. I mean, it’s not generally unexpected in a work of fiction for animals to talk and whatnot, but I wasn’t expecting a bear to just waltz in and sit down (in my defense, the writer just sort of jumped into the story using little description and expecting readers to understand that bears need to fly places too). What the heck is a bear doing on a plane?? Maybe my imagination needs work. Anyway, the bear takes the dude out for a night on the town, kills a hooker, and then takes his new pal to his home in Yellowstone to have a “weenie pull” (yeah, it’s what it sounds like, unfortunately). Uh, what? I suppose it’s supposed to get some laughs, but the end of the story is far from funny.

Most of the stories were similar in the “What just happened?” feeling that washes over you upon finishing (that was possibly the weirdest though). Overall, I’d say the book was a letdown. It’s lovely that the authors came up with something unexpected, but not so great when the unexpected twists leave one saying “What the fuck” instead of “Totally tubular!”

-Caitlin Elgin