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2009 Stories 256 - 258

These three, all to be found in the anthology Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Writings, polishes off my attempt to read every Bram Stoker short story in my collection (unless I discover anything on the Gutenberg Project that's not in my three anthologies).  Of the 9 stories in Dracula's Guest, I have already commented on 6 because they were featured in one or both of the earlier anthologies from my previous post.  The second half of the volume I have is actually the Stoker novel The Lair of the White Worm, which I am not going to review as a short story here, because it is an actual novel.

So, here we go:

256. A Gipsy Prophecy.  Stoker likes to deal in dreams, visions, portents.  This story is no different.  A scoffing pair of upper-crust men visit a gipsy encampment and one gets a vague fortune that implies he will kill his wife.  His wife doesn't take the news so well.  I like the twist later in the story, and the somewhat ambiguous ending.

257. The Coming of Abel Behenna.  This one is a tale of jealousy between childhood friends over, of course, a girl they both love.  The two men are polar opposites in looks and in disposition.  I found the female main character to be too indecisive to feel any pain for her as the story progresses -- the situation she finds herself in is almost entirely her own fault -- but at least I liked the female main character more than I liked her mother, who is one of the most reprehensible supporting characters I have encountered in a long time.

258. A Dream of Red Hands.  If the writers of Heroes read this story, they might understand what redemption is all about and see how the character arcs they're creating for their "redemption" volume aren't really about redemption at all.  This is a strong Stoker story with only a mild supernatural element (and perhaps no supernatural element at all ... that's for the reader to decide).

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