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Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

Ad Eternum - Elizabeth Bear Rating: 4* of five The Book Description: For centuries, the wampyr has drifted from one place to another. From one life to another. It's 1962, and he's returned to New Amsterdam for the first time since he fled it on pain of death some sixty years before. On the eve of social revolution, on the cusp of a new way of life, he's nevertheless surrounded by inescapable reminders of who he used to be.For a thousand years, he's chosen to change rather than to die. Now, at last, he faces a different future.... My Review: This entry in Bear's New Amsterdam alternative history series, in which vampires exist and majgicqk works, and the world's various political powers have a variety of different uses for it, is a doozie, but a shortie. It's only 90pp long. Don Sebastien de Ulloa, as the wampyr was styled when first we met him, returns to New Amsterdam (our New York) to begin a new chapter in his life. Abby Irene, a forensic sorceress who figured prominently in the series, has gone to her sorcerous reward. Unsurprising, since it's now 1962, and she was over a century old. Don Sebastien/Dr. James Chaisty/Jack Prior, as he now styles himself, is recognized on his transAtlantic jet flight by Dr. Damian Thomas, a sorceror with a plan to open a magical university in New Amsterdam: Its first, and he hopes Jack Prior (such a sweet hommage) will join their faculty and share his many centuries of knowledge with the students. What will he get in return?A home. For so long as he wants it, for once, instead of so long as it's possible to hide his true nature. Universities, you see, outlast people, cultures, politics, nations...damned close to eternal, as it would seem. And a magical university is going to be able to protect our wampyr as long as he needs to be protected. They're sorcerors. They got this.It's a tempting offer, but a millennium of survival habit, of keeping moving at all costs, is hard to overcome. A team of persuasive sorcerors, a meeting with the “Comte de Saint-Germain,” and the demise of Don Sebastien's other living arrangements as well as plans made with a certain werewolf, still don't convince him. But Dr. Damian Thomas...love...connection...that still seduces him after a millennium of watching human loves wither and die.It is this sense of hopefulness, this willingness to answer the call to connect despite a weariness and a sadness and a misery of loneliness bred by a millennium's solitary wandering, that makes these 90pp so powerful. Why “live”? Why keep feeding and surviving? Because, well, because love and connection...they never stop mattering. Don Sebastien, older than anything else in the world that walks on its own feet (maybe), he still wants to be in it and with it and experience it.Still.Isn't that an amazing and a beautiful thing? I think it is, and that's why I read these books.