This blog series starts here: http://pseudopod.org/2018/10/25/the-clan-novel-saga-a-revisitation/
Anthology covers events that start nearly a century before the primary events of the Clan Novel Saga, up through New Year’s Eve after the events. Also, oddly, part of the Assamite story also has events happening in 2001, a year after the anthology was published in November 2000. I can’t help but make squinty eyes at the title of this thing. “Clan Novel: Anthology” is crafted from elemental contradiction, and naming an anthology “Anthology” squanders so much opportunity for an evocative title.
It is the fourteenth entry in the series, but frequently has a tenuous connection at best to the events of the rest of the series. We get thirteen stories, one for each clan (and clan novel). Each of these gives us another appearance from one of the signature characters of that clan. Many are vignettes or scenes, rather than self-supporting stories. This anthology largely answers questions that I didn’t ask, and I was generally ambivalent to have them answered.
In several of the stories, some stuff happens. In a couple others, there’s just a long conversation or just a bunch of thinking. A handful of these are worth the time, and a select few are worth seeking out. The Assamite story is by Bruce Baugh, and this along with the Lasombra story is his contribution to the clan novel saga. This is also a self-supporting story where Fatima shows up in the periphery. While an interesting take on the existential ennui of joining the ranks of the undead, our POV character is unfortunately passive, draining much of the interest of the story. The Lasombra story is more engaging, as it is a nice melancholy musing of the ennui that affects some of us after achieving a major goal. It’s a really good tale where Lucita explores what it means to live.
If you’re looking for a satisfying endcap to the plot of the novels, the Nosferatu story “The Cellar” is the one to seek out. This scratches the itch left by the untied threads of the monster waking up beneath New York City. While unable to resolve everything, this mitigates the feeling of something left incomplete in the novels.
The Setite and Ravnos stories are written by Kathleen Ryan, who wrote those respective novels. The Setite story “Embarkation” follows how Hesha and Vegel met in 1916. While being more of a scene than a story, it is an excellent portrayal of vampire wisdom in maintaining the Masquerade, where vampires blend into human society so as to not get hunted into extinction. See the commentary in the Lasombra post about this policy. The Ravnos story “Selfless” was the best in the book, providing us a window into how Khalil became a thrall in Calcutta in 1987. It is an excellent story of love and loss and betrayal. It is also a story of how Khalil’s idealism and honor was destroyed, showing us the point in the path where he turns into the selfish beast we see in the Ravnos novel.
If you only dip your toe in this Anthology, read “Selfless.” If you’ve read the Clan Novel Saga, also seek out “The Cellar.”
The initial post: The Clan Novel Saga: A Revisitation
The next post: Final Thoughts