Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Vampire Tapestry-Suzy McKee Charnas

The Vampire Tapestry
Suzy McKee Charnas
Tor Orb, Aug 2008, $14.95
ISBN: 0765320827

Anthropology Professor Dr. Edward Weyland is a vampire who is considered by his peers as a genius on dream therapy. He conducts experiments testing whether dream therapy can help people with their psychological issues. So well-liked is he with the students, there is a popular T-shirt “SLEEP WITH WEYLAND, HE IS A DREAM”. However, Weyland’s brilliance is not with human psyche, but using his scientific tests as a cover that enables him to hide his biological evolutionary condition from the cattle he teaches while also satiating his need for human blood.

However, early stroller Katje witnesses the star professor sucking blood from a student just outside the Cayslin Center for the Study of Man. Not long afterward she shoots Edward, which leaves the wounded professor at the unkind mercy of an abusive avaricious Satanist Reese and his followers. Human teenager Mark risks his life to save the professor who struggles with the lad’s kindness. As difficult to deal with if not more so is psychiatrist Floria’s misplaced love for him and the friendship of disturbed Professor Irv, as Weyland finds human passion is part of his soul even if he feels he is Homo Superior.

Though more five interrelated vignettes focused on a relatively short time span of one person rather than a novel, this reprint of the classic 1980s vampire tale remains a strong character driven tale with limited action. The cast is solid as the five prime people (and a few others) in Weyland’s life force the overall unlikable with his air of superiority lead protagonist by their negative or positive relationships to reconsider how complex humans are and how he treats them. The action is limited as this is more a character study of how the next evolutionary line interacts with the current (sort of the first Cro Magnan amongst the Neanderthals). Readers will enjoy Suzy McKee Charnas’ interesting scientific vampiric mythos (no supernatural).

Harriet Klausner

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