…and now, I’m gonna make you all help me remember it. It was about vampires, or, more specifically, it was about one single vampire who, through the years of drinking all kinds of blood rather indiscriminately, had acquired every blood disease known to man, yet couldn’t die of them, what with being an immortal vampire and all. I read it in a short story anthology of vampire fiction, another story from the same volume (I believe) concerned itself with the problems of being a ‘newborn’ vampire; what I remember most clearly is the method of his ‘turning’, which substituted for the traditional carotid artery draining a probably rather sucky blowjob (though the protagonist described it as the best orgasm he’d ever had, so I guess that judgement is everybody’s call to make). The vampire in the latter story also left his grave by manner of turning into fog, and then re-assembling into a corporeal form, which he could choose arbitrarily; at one point, desperate to attract a hapless victim, he transforms into the likeness of some playboy model whose likeness in turn had entertained him for many a teenage night, only to discover that everybody ran from him because he’d forgotten her face, and thus himself had none. He also practised the ‘I never drink… wine’ line at some point, I recall.
The Onion AV Club had a feature running for awhile in which they’d run down “what was that story/book/show/cartoon with the one guy, and then something happened” stuff, fairly effectively in most cases too. Not sure if that is still up and running.
I asked over at the horror board. One fella vaguely remembered the stories, and said he thought one of them might have been in The Ultimate Vampire and another in one of Ellen Datlow’s anthologies, A Whisper of Blood.
Ellen hangs at that board but she hasn’t been around for awhile. Maybe when she visits again she’ll see the thread and help you out.
I believe I’ve read the second story you described. The character is a man and wants to be a suave, sexy vampire dude, but finds he has a very difficult time seducing female victims (they’re too suspicious of strange men) and has to resort to taking the form of a sexy woman instead and preying on men. But he doesn’t like this and keeps practicing to be the perfect male vampire.
I know I read this story in a vampire anthology I borrowed from someone else. I’ll try to remember what it was and see where that gets us.
AuntiePam’s suggestion of Ultimate Vampire seemed somewhat familiar to me, so I was surprised to find that there appears to be no such book. (Nothing in WorldCat, nothing on Amazon.) Funny because it seems like a rather obvious title for a vampire anthology, and there’s certainly no shortage of those. A little further searching revealed that there is, however, an Ultimate Dracula (1991, eds. Byron Preiss, David Keller, and Megan Miller), and this is definitely the book I was thinking of. The hardcover had a yellowish cover with a batwinged vampire on it, and I recognized it right away. The Ultimate Dracula appears to be out of print but is held by a fair number of public libraries around the country and is available used for cheap through Amazon and other secondhand vendors. There was a 2003 paperback edition as well as the 1991 hardcover (and maybe others, I didn’t check).
I remember several other stories from this anthology, but am not sure I could match the titles to a plot description. However, based on my memory and a little Web searching I am pretty sure that the story about the male vampire who takes the form of a woman for hunting was Ron Dee’s “A Matter of Style”. I don’t remember a story about a diseased vampire so it may or may not be in this same anthology, but there’s a comment on Amazon about “All Dracula’s Children” by Dan Simmons having something to do with AIDS, so maybe that’s it.
Here’s the full table of contents for The Ultimate Dracula:
The master of rampling gate / Anne Rice
All Dracula’s children / Dan Simmons
A matter of style / Ron Dee
Selection process / Ed Gorman
The vampire in his closet / Heather Graham
The tenth scholar / Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem
Nobody’s perfect / Philip José Farmer
Dracula 1944 / Edward D. Hoch
The contagion / Janet Asimov.
Sugar and spice and … / Karen Robards
Vampire dreams / Dick Lochte
Much at stake / Kevin J. Anderson
The name of fear / Lawrence Watt-Evans
The dark rising / W.R. Philbrick
Los Niños de la noche / Tim Sullivan
A little night music / Mike Resnick
Mr. Lucrada / John Lutz
In the cusp of the hour / John Gregory Betancourt
Children of the night / Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
ETA: As far as I can tell from WorldCat, Dee’s “A Matter of Style” has only appeared in this one anthology. So if that’s the second story the OP remembered and if both stories really were in the same book, it must be this one.
Well, I think we have a winner! The Ultimate Dracula apparently was published in Germany as Das Beste von Dracula, a title which rings about a million bells, finally. Lamia, thanks so much for digging this up! Now, finally, I can rest easy.