a birthday review of a twelve-year-old story


In honor of my birthday, Steven H. Silver of Black Gate Magazine reviewed my 2005 short story “A Vampire and a Vampire Hunter Walk Into a Bar,” which appeared in what was at that point the final print issue of Amazing Stories (a distinction it’s going to lose soon, as the magazine is at last being revived). It’s an all-dialogue story that I originally wrote for a Van Helsing anthology that was being put together to time with the release of the 2004 Van Helsing movie, before we all could possibly know that that movie would be a steaming pile of poo.

The story was rejected because all the other stories that editor Jeanne Cavelos took for the anthology were serious and nasty horror stories, and my slight all-dialogue short short didn’t fit the tone of the rest of the book at all.

So I submitted it to Amazing, they took it, and the rest is history. As was the magazine after this issue. The story was later reprinted in The Town Drunk in 2006 and in my short-story collection Without a License in 2015, plus Gypsy Audio did an audio drama of it in 2012.

Money quote from Steven’s lovely review:

The very clichés which DeCandido skewers in “A Vampire and a Vampire Hunter Walk Into a Bar” are what cause the story to work. On its surface, it’s the tale of the two title characters sitting in a bar complaining about the expectations the public has about them, particularly the vampire, based on the films NosferatuDracula, and the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

However, the very sense of camaraderie the characters show is based on the idea that during the Victorian period, when Dracula was first published, gentlemen antagonists would have a level of respect for each other’s abilities.

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