Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Book Review: Vampires: Encounters with the Undead

This book, "edited and with comentary by David J Skal," is pretty good. Here's my "official" review...

You can't fault Mr Skal for his selection of stuff -- fiction, nonfiction, excerpts from longer works. All that material is on-target and really a wonderful portmanteau of Vampirian lore.

But, despite the tagline on the cover, "edited and with commentary," the commentary is, at times, rather thin gruel.

I would have hoped for commentary specific to the selections, more like annotations, or explanations of this or that thing that appears in the story or article. Instead, in the sidebars, we often have excerpts of other stories that were published at the same time as Story X, or interminable lists of decades of vampire movies or lists of vampire books, etc.

The amount of actual commentary, compared to this "padding," is a small percentage.

It's also ironic that, in the acknowledgements, Mr Skal thanks his copy editor. Now, nobody's perfect, but in this book I came across a few dozens of simple misspellings, letters dropped from words, etc; paragraph indents at the tops of pages when we were continuing a sentence started the previous page; and so on.

And what's with the sudden change in type size for just one word, or one line? This happens more in the sidebars than in the main text, but for some of us it's kind of jarring.

These little irritants keep this book from being A-Number-One, for me at least. If these things don't bug you, then run -- do not walk -- to dive into this anthology.

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