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Necrologue: The Diva Book of the Dead and the Undead
ISBN: 1873741871
Edited by Helen Sandler
Review by: Morgaine Swann

5/15/04

Despite the ominous title, I’d call this book poetry rather than fiction if it weren't for two particular inclusions which were good, but horrific. More about those later. These are stories about death, the dying, the dead, those who ought to be, those who wish they were or might as well be. In the 21st Century, it would seem that H.P. Lovecraft is a lesbian and a poetess, not to mention one hell of a lay.

I'm tempted to comment on each of the 30 stories individually, because each can perfectly stand on its own. Ms. Sandler has done an admirable job of collecting works that are uniformly strong and yet unique in tone and vision. The writing was a joy to read, which is a rare treat these days, and must be credited to the editor as well as the individual writers. This collection is the third in a series which began with an anthology called The Diva Book of Short Stories and another called Groundswell. It's apparently the darkest of the three.

The first story, “Zoom” by Carol Finlay, opened the collection with apoetic and romantic air of regret about a love lost and the young lesbian's family just figuring out what went tragically wrong. The fourth story, “Baking Bread” by Kathi Kosmider was my favorite, in which ghosts have sex because they can do little else. “Daddy's Girls” by Ellen Galford provides a ghoulishly ingenious alternative to artificial insemination.

The two stories I mentioned earlier, the titular piece “Necrologue” and another called “The Auto-Cannibal” were a bit much even for a ghoul like me, though I'm going to send a copy of the latter to every one I encounter who thinks GM (genetically modified) Foods are a good idea. The inclusion of these two gave the collection I could have lived without, and I'm not squeamish.

Overall, I highly recommend this fresh and unusual book, and I'll be giving a copy to someone I love.









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