Short Story Review: MEAT + DRINK by Daniel Polansky

My search for interesting short stories (and a quick sample of authors who are new to me) continues…  I have recently discovered the dedicated section over at Tor com, and found many interesting offerings.  This week’s choice is for:

MEAT+DRINK by Daniel Polansky

The vampire myth has been explored in all its forms and variations, so one might think there is no room for a new angle or a different perspective, yet at times you can find authors able to put a different spin on the trope.  This is the case of Meat+Drink, indeed, a story told from the perspective of vampires who have none of the glamour, attraction or sophistication that’s usually associated with the most classical point of view of the genre.

The narrator here used to be a 17-year old girl but is now meat, as opposed to flesh – dead as opposed to living. She shares a hiding space with four other undead, one of them a child, spending their days in a basement, away from the sun, and their nights either scavenging in search of money or valuable objects, or hunting for prey – for drink.

This former girl’s voice is quite peculiar, more like a stream-of-consciousness report than a organic tale, grammar and punctuation as decayed and still decaying as the walking meat these vampires have become once they lost the vitality of flesh.  As the unnamed narrator says: “flesh is ever-changing, flesh is self-aware. meat is insentient, meat is stagnant”.   The horror in this story does not come so much from seeing these vampires prey on the living, but from the feeling of hopelessness and despair of such a condition, so much stronger and poignant because they remain unexpressed and probably unfelt.

And yet something of the former personality must remain after the transformation, as the events show when the little “family” undergoes an upheaval that changes the internal dynamics. It might be wrong to use the world “hope” in such circumstances, but the end is a little less bleak than the rest of the story. And that’s enough.

My Rating:  


17 thoughts on “Short Story Review: MEAT + DRINK by Daniel Polansky

  1. Creeeeepy! XD The prose mirroring the theme sounds like an awesome touch. Were you impressed enough to try the author again? You sound like you enjoyed it, but for some reason my computer won’t load your star rating so I can’t be sure lol

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Awesome! I’m glad your search bore good fruit! I just looked Polansky up on Goodreads and he seems to have written lots of stuff. Good luck on your search! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Holy crap, I love the idea behind this. And you know how much I love vampire stories. One with such a creepy, horrific concept…I just have to take a look! Thanks for linking to the page, I’m going to bookmark this and check it out as soon as I get the chance 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m always amazed when writers can take vampire stories in an entirely new direction; my most recent discovery was Certain Dark Things, which I absolutely love. It sounds like Meat + Drink has a similar feel to it in terms of the grotesque and solitary nature of certain vampires, so I may have to check this one out soon!

    Liked by 1 person

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