Sunday, August 13, 2006

Review: Daughters of Darkness

Pam Keesey, ed. Daughters of Darkness
Published by Cleis Press
Reviewed by Theresa Heath

How many different scenarios can you possibly imagine that facilitate an erotic lesbian vampire tale? Prior to reading this I might have said one or maybe two, but in this real labour of love, Pam Keesey has collected a smorgasbord of vampiric delights that span a dizzying range of eras and genres. From the familiar, bloodsucking seductresses of the past to futuristic lesbian vampires in space (no, really), most of these tales have at their core beautiful, pale women named Lillith, Catherine or Elizabeth running around ravishing and then biting - or biting then ravishing – buxom beauties called Lucy or Francine.

As you might suspect, Daughters of Darkness runs the gamut from the wickedly fang-tastic (sorry) to the unbelievably awful. More than the sum of its parts, few pieces in the anthology are really able to stand alone but are tied together well by Keesey’s useful introduction. She makes the necessary link between vampirism and dangerously uncontrollable female sexuality, and places the collection in a much-needed context. By turns titillating, horrifying, playful and ironic, read this with your tongue firmly stuck in your cheek – and your garlic and crucifix at the ready.

Theresa Heath specialised in queer literature at university. She now runs the gay/lesbian section of a bookshop and writes about vampires.


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