Clerk’s Log, MJDate 54611.9: The following is my pitch to the Parsec nominating committee on behalf of Chris Lester’s story “Huntress,” part of his Metamor City Podcast. I’ve intended for a while (and yes, I know what they say about good intentions as paving material) to write a piece about the entire Metamor City cycle; its first novel, Making the Cut, an excellent treatment of life in a telepathic community, is currently being serialized. Chris is a surprisingly good storyteller who clearly has thought long and hard about the various aspects of the Metamor City universe (hey, he’s a biologist; I’d expect it). I heartily recommend his work.
“Huntress” is a perfect mix of thoughtful storytelling and expert reading/acting. With the care and thoroughness we have come to expect from the Metamor City series, Lester and performer Leann Mabry examine the nature of vampirism and its effect upon a young woman forced into it against her will, who decides that rather than meekly be assimilated by her new population, she will not only cling to but assert her individuality. (Note: Lester’s vampires remain single persons in both life and undeath, unlike the recently popular variety proposed by Joss Whedon.)
Much has been written about the equivalence of vampiric attacks and sex (indeed, Fred Saberhagen’s vampires have substituted the former for the latter), but Lester’s construction takes this idea even further by proposing that a vampiric encounter produces the same kind of exchange of spirits as intercourse among his telepaths; both experiences involve an imprinting that is but an extension of the imprinting felt by us “mundanes” during our own sexual experiences. His superb line “Blood is the river in which the spirit flows” deserves to be carved somewhere in granite.
Mabry delivers a virtuoso performance in two roles: Morgan, the vampiric medical examiner for the MCPD, and the young woman whom she discovers targeted by three vampire would-be predators. Each part is distinct and well-rounded; one almost forgets that there is a single actress at work here. Indeed, given the climate conditions under which she did her work, it becomes clear that Mabry is one of the most underestimated voice talents among the podcasting community, and one hopes that her recent retirement from voice work will be only temporary.