#ShortStoryMonth Day Eight — “Derek and Angus,” by Jeff Mann

08

See What’s Become of Me…

If you read my blog at all, you’ll likely have heard me wax poetic about Derek Maclaine, Jeff Mann’s 1700’s Scottish Vampire (who is now residing in Appalachia in the present day) already. When Desire and Devour came out, I was so excited to have all my Derek stories in one handy volume (it didn’t last, to my pleasure, as since then there have been more Derek tales) but more importantly, Desire and Devour delivers “Derek and Angus” to readers.

It’s no spoiler that Derek’s past was completely entangled with his first love, Angus, but the story and the details of what happened were left scattered like crumbs of sacher torte among other tales until “Derek and Angus.” Now we finally get to go back hundreds of years and spend time with Derek, who is in love, who has his Angus, and who hasn’t yet become immortal.

And then we get to watch it all happen.

“Derek and Angus” is a novella of love and revenge told with depth and brutality—the sense of the time is so well evoked, and the reality the two men face in being together isn’t skipped over. And while it’s bittersweet, it begins the story of Derek so it feels somehow triumphant as well. And if you start here? You’re lucky enough to have so many more stories of the dark Scot vampire ahead of you. No one does the dichotomies of death and the erotic, violence and love, dominance and compassion, and fear and arousal like Jeff Mann.


Other tales I’ve enjoyed that stand outside of time, or involve immortals or time-travel or some twisting thereof? “Letter From An Artist To A Thousand Future Versions Of Her Wife” by J.Y. Yang, from Queers Destroy Science Fiction, was so fantastically written and performed, about a woman who has been stymied by the failure of a technology to allow her to communicate across the limitations of light-speed; Matthew Bright’s “What a Coincidence” from Men in Love, which has a kind of Venn Diagram of Meet-Cute and Time-Travel and Aww to it; and “A Brief Guide to Other Histories,” by Paul McAuley, from Other Worlds Than These, which handled alternate timelines and temporal incursions and the notion of temporal doppelgängers really, really well.

What about you? What are your favourite stories about time?

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