New Treasures: The Vampire Archives, edited by Otto Penzler

New Treasures: The Vampire Archives, edited by Otto Penzler

The Vampire Archive-smallLast week I wrote a brief piece on Otto Penzler’s marvelous The Big Book of Adventure Stories, and I’ve been having so much fun with it that I decided to look at some of his other door-stopper genre anthologies. So here we are this week with The Vampire Archives, one of the best collections of vampire stories I’ve ever encountered.

What makes it so great? It’s over 1,000 pages of the finest vampire fiction ever written, old and new, in a beautiful and inexpensive package. This is the only volume you need to bring yourself up to speed on vampire lit of the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries — no small claim.

It includes the classics you’d expect, like John Keats’ 1820 poem “La Belle Dame sans Merci,” Guy de Maupassant’s “The Horla,” and “The Girl with the Hungry Eyes” by Fritz Leiber — as well as many that you might not, like Ambrose Bierce’s 1891 tale “The Death of Halpin Frayser,” an excerpt from Lord Byron’s poem “The Giaour,” “Ligeia” by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Lovely Lady” by D. H. Lawrence, and even a Sherlock Holmes tale, “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire” by Arthur Conan Doyle.

There’s a generous selection of fiction from the pulps, including “Stragella” by Hugh B. Cave, “Revelations in Black” by Carl Jacobi, “When It Was Moonlight” by Manly Wade Wellman, and Clark Ashton Smith’s Averoigne tale “The End of the Story.”

Here are some of the greatest modern vampire stories — like the Dan Simmon’s dazzling novelette “Carrion Comfort” (eventually expanded into his terrific novel of the same name), “The Master of Rampling Gate” (1984) by Anne Rice, “Popsy” by Stephen King, “The Man Who Loved the Vampire Lady” by Brian Stableford, and “When Gretchen Was Human” by Mary A. Turzillo (from 2001).

Blood Suckers-smallIt doesn’t stint with the novellas either, which is something you can’t say about most horror anthologies. It includes three: Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Parasite” (1894), Sheridan Le Fanu’s classic “Carmilla” (1937), and “Midnight Mass” (1990) by F. Paul Wilson.

On top of the authors already listed, it includes work from Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson, Roger Zelazny, August Derleth, Gahan Wilson, Robert Bloch, Clive Barker, M. R. James, Tanith Lee, Steve Rasnic Tem, H. P. Lovecraft, Joseph Payne Brennan, and dozens of others.

Penzler provides an introduction to every story. Horror novelist Kim Newman wrote the foreword, and the preface is by Neil Gaiman.

One brief caveat: believe it or not, this giant book was reprinted in mass market paperback in 2010. I know, I didn’t believe it either. The catch: it was reprinted in three volumes: Bloodsuckers, Fangs, and Coffins.

Here’s the complete Table of Contents. I was going to run through it and count how many stories there were for you, but I got tired halfway though and had to have a bit of a lie down.

Foreword by Kim Newman
Preface by Neil Gaiman
Introduction: “They Will Have Blood” by Otto Penzler
“Good Lady Ducayne” by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
“The Last Lords of Gardonal” (1867) by William Gilbert
“A Mystery of the Campagna” (1886) by Anne Crawford
“The Fate of Madame Cabanel” (1880) by Eliza Lynn Linton
“Let Loose” (1890) by Mary Cholmondeley
“The Vampire” (1886) poem by Vasile Alecsandrai
“The Death of Halpin Frayser” (1891) by Ambrose Bierce
“Ken’s Mystery” (1883) by Julian Hawthorne
“Carmilla” (1937) novella Sheridan Le Fanu
“The Tomb of Sarah” (1900) by F. G. Loring
“Ligeia” (1838) by Edgar Allan Poe
“The Old Portrait” (1890) by Hume Nisbet
“The Vampire Maid” (1890) by Hume Nisbet
“The Sad Story of a Vampire” (1894) by Count Stanislaus Eric Stenbock
“A Case of Alleged Vampirism” by Luigi Capuana
“An Authenticated Vampire Story” (1909) by Franz Hartmann
“Revelations in Black” (1933) by Carl Jacobi
“The Master of Rampling Gate” (1984) by Anne Rice
“The Vampire of Kaldenstein” (1938) by Frederick Cowles
“An Episode of Cathedral History” (1914) by M. R. James
“Schloss Wappenburg” (1948) by D. Scott-Moncrieff
“The Hound” (1924) by H. P. Lovecraft
“Bite-Me-Not or, Fleur de Fur” (1984) by Tanith Lee
“The Horror at Chilton Castle” (1963) by Joseph Payne Brennan
“The Singular Death of Morton” (1910) by Algernon Blackwood
“The Death of Ilalotha” (1937) by Clark Ashton Smith
“The Bride of Corinth” (1797) poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“The Giaour (excerpt) (1813) poem by Lord Byron
“La Belle Dame sans Merci” (1820) poem by John Keats
“Place of Meeting” (1953) by Charles Beaumont
“Duty” (1991) by Ed Gorman
“A Week in the Unlife” (1991) by David J. Schow
“Four Wooden Stakes” (1925) by Victor Rowan
“The Room in the Tower” (1912) by E. F. Benson
“Mrs. Amworth” (1922) by E. F. Benson
“Doctor Porthos” (1968) by Basil Copper
“For the Blood Is the Life” (1905) by F. Marion Crawford
“Count Magnus” (1904) by M. R. James
“When It Was Moonlight” (1940) by Manly Wade Wellman
“The Drifting Snow” (1939) by August Derleth
“Aylmer Vance and the Vampire (1914) by Alice Askew and Claude Askew
“Dracula’s Guest” [from Dracula]” (1914) by Bram Stoker
“The Transfer” (1911) by Algernon Blackwood
“The Stone Chamber” (1898) by H. B. Marriott Watson
“The Vampire” (1920) by Jan Neruda
“The End of the Story” (1930) by Clark Ashton Smith
“The Lovely Lady” (1927) by D. H. Lawrence
“The Parasite” (1894) by Arthur Conan Doyle
“Lonely Women Are the Vessels of Time” (1976) by Harlan Ellison
“Blood” (1955) by Fredric Brown
“Popsy” (1987) by Stephen King
“The Werewolf and the Vampire” (1975) by R. Chetwynd-Hayes
“Drink My Red Blood” (1951) by Richard Matheson
“Dayblood” (1985) by Roger Zelazny
“Replacements” (1992) by Lisa Tuttle
“Princess of Darkness” (1987) by Frederick Cowles
“The Silver Collar” (1989) by Garry Kilworth
“The Old Man’s Story” (1933) by Walter Starkie
“Will” (1899) by Vincent O’Sullivan
“Blood-Lust” (1922) by Dion Fortune
“The Canal” (1927) by Everil Worrell
“When Gretchen Was Human” (2001) by Mary A. Turzillo
“The Story of Chugoro” (1902) by Lafcadio Hearn
“The Men & Women of Revendale” (1984) by Steve Rasnic Tem
“Winter Flowers” (1993) by Tanith Lee
“The Man Who Loved the Vampire Lady” (1988) by Brian Stableford
“Midnight Mass” (1990) by F. Paul Wilson
“The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire” (1924) by Arthur Conan Doyle
“A Dead Finger” (1904) by Sabine Baring-Gould
“Wailing Well” (1928) by M. R. James
“Human Remains” (1984) by Clive Barker
“The Vampire” (1930) by Sydney Horler
“Stragella” (1932) by Hugh B. Cave
“Marsyas in Flanders” (1900) by Vernon Lee
“The Horla” (1886) by Guy de Maupassant (translated by Le Horla)
“The Girl with the Hungry Eyes” (1949) by Fritz Leiber
“The Living Dead” (1967) by Robert Bloch
“Down Among the Dead Men” (1982) by Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann
“Necros” (1986) by Brian Lumley
“The Man Upstairs” (1947) by Ray Bradbury
“Chastel” (1979) by Manly Wade Wellman
“Dracula’s Chair” (1980) by Peter Tremayne
“Special” (1991) by Richard Laymon
“Carrion Comfort” (1983) by Dan Simmons
“The Sea Was Wet as Wet Could Be” (1967) by Gahan Wilson

Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!-smallThe Vampire Archives was published by Vintage on September 29, 2009. It is 1,056 pages in a massive, over-sized trade paperback, priced at $25. There is no digital edition, but it is still in print.

The eye-catching cover is the poster for the 1958 Christopher Lee film “Le Cauchemar de Dracula” (the French version of Horror of Dracula.)

Otto Penzler has built quite a library of Big Book anthologies over the last decade, all focusing on genre fiction. He’s produced roughly one per year since 2007. They include:

The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps — 2007
The Vampire Archives — 2009
Agents of Treachery — 2010
The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories — 2010
Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! — 2011
The Big Book of Adventure Stories — 2011
The Big Book of Ghost Stories — 2012
The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries — 2013
The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries — 2014
The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories — 2015
The Big Book of Jack the Ripper — 2016
The Big Book of Rogues and Villains –- 2017

See all of our most recent book coverage here.

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[…] pages), and The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps (a whopping 1168 pages). Perhaps my favorite is The Vampire Archives, which describes itself as “The Most Complete Volume of Vampire Tales Ever Published” […]

John Hocking

Whoa. I don’t think of myself as a big fan of vampire fiction, but this collection is impressive.
Inclusion of variant & borderline vampire stories (those missing standard bats & fangs & Lugosi stylings) really makes the book.

Ever read Bierce’s Death of Halpin Frayser? It’s 120 years old and Really Disturbing.

Revelations in Black might not be Carl Jacobi’s best story, but it has the distinction of having been rejected from Weird Tales by Farnsworth Wright, and then haunting the editor enough that he wrote to Jacobi months later asking if he could buy it.

I don’t have this collection. And that injustice will not stand.

[…] popped up in horror collections from time to time, including Otto Penzler’s magnificent The Vampire Archives, and Henry Mazzeo’s Hauntings: Tales of the Supernatural), and that’s probably an […]

[…] Penzler’s giant anthologies, including the 1,056-page The Vampire Archives, The Big Book of Adventure Stories, and The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries, occupy a place of […]

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