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Sabella, or The Blood Stone

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  582 ratings  ·  62 reviews

A mere figment of superstition, a thing that could not exist.


A very real person, an enticing girl of flesh and warmth - who detested the sunlight, who required the blood of young men to feed upon, who was all that Dracula was said to be except never one of the "undead." Sabella was alive, sensual and dangerous.

She lived on Nova Mars, a colony of Earth and
Paperback, 157 pages
Published April 1st 1980 by DAW (first published 1980)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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mark monday
futuristic tale of an alluring and depressed vampire coping with life on the run and death in the sun.

young mark monday probably should never have got a hold of this book because it introduced him to a dark, rich, and enticing new world of fuckedupedness - one that he quickly embraced. poor, naïve markmonday... innocence smashed!

don't get me wrong, it's not like this book is full of graphic sexual violence. but what it does do is position what is usually seen as 'perverse' as something understan
Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*
Tanith Lee can write depressed characters like nobody else, without ever saying the word "depressed."

She can put a new spin on vampires in 1980, well before the genre began to stale.

She can lure me into enjoying a story seemingly without a plot, and then astonish me with how everything ties together.

I don't always enjoy Lee's books, but when I do, her writing really moves me. Sabella is a haunted by childhood, and though she doesn't exactly *enjoy* being a vampire, she doesn't deny herself what
Pam Baddeley
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This short book was a re-read and unlike quite a few of the author's novels did not disappoint. Sabella has a secret and it is gradually revealed, along with the background of what happened to her when she was about 11 years old and why she now has problems going out in the sun and a few other aspects traditionally associated with vampires.

The setting is Novo Mars, a planet colonised by human beings, where the original inhabitants died out, but have left behind a legacy for a select few. I did
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-read
3.75 (don't know if it's 3 or 4)

Read this one with Cari :3

I really liked some things, but overall something was missing for me. I think the setting wasn't what I was looking for, like it turned the novella into a mash-up of too many genres in a way.

Grace Troxel
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures:

Sabella is a science fiction vampire novel written by Tanith Lee. Sabella is your stereotypical vampire: she drinks blood, is sensitive to sunlight, and is beautiful and seductive. Much like Anne Rice’s vampires, Sabella struggles with regret because she is a predator by nature. She doesn’t want to kill people, but finds it difficult to stop herself. And yet, she’s also motivated by sur
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spooktober
This is a tale of terrible beauty. So I finished reading "Sabella"... two times in a row. I love this novella and yet, it's hard to explain why. How can 157 pages pack in so much? Let me first start by saying that it took me by surprise. The premise sounded ok but I'd never read a sci-fi vampire story and wasn't too keen on the idea of mixing those two. Second, it got me a couple of pages to get used to the narrative voice. At first, I was kind of lost and didn't really understand what was going ...more
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I sat down on the couch this evening and didn't leave it until I finished this book three hours later.

It was a rocky start - it took a while to get into the rhythm of Tanith Lee's language. It helps if you think of it as free verse poetry with the line breaks removed. But Sabella, remote and lonely in her darkened home, captivated me. And then the plot kept me wondering and intrigued.

This is one of those rare books where I genuinely couldn't guess how it would end. Would Sabella be redeemed, i
Deborah Biancotti
Just re-read this book in a day (8-Jan-2011) and: loved it all over again! Realised that these themes have been haunting me since my first reading (whenever that was - 20 years ago?): self, belief, isolation, burial, transformation, and of course redemption.

Loved Lee's lyrical, active descriptions & the physical awareness (self-awareness?) of her prose. Thought this a much more rich, dense book than SILVER METAL LOVER, though I know a lot of people would disagree with me. Brilliant take on the
Jun 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
I checked this book out of the Valle Vista Branch Library when I was in my early teens. The descriptions of untrammeled sexual ecstasy and erotic vampirism easily surpass Anne Rice at her best. Disturbing, fascinating and engrossing in equal measure.
Oct 2018, 3rd read, 5 stars: Liked it even better the third time around! Upgraded to 5 stars.

Oct 2015, 2nd read, 4 stars:
This has to be one of the strangest and most unique vampire stories I've read (though admittedly, I haven't read that many vampire stories). Sabella Quey is a reclusive young woman living on her own in Novo Mars when she receives an invitation to her aunt Cassi's funeral. Cassi has left her some money, some items, and an ominous letter stating that she found out Sabella's secr
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
2020 reread: So it turns out I'd forgotten basically everything about this book. Even reading my review really didn't spark anything. After rereading the book, my thoughts are somewhat similar.

This book is still middle of the road for me. I do think the book is spacey enough - it's clearly set in the future and not on Earth. The point of the book isn't Mars though, it's Sabella and her relationships with others and herself. I don't think we need a bunch of spaceships or crazy tech to tell that s
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Love, passion, vampires, strog women, science fiction, all together for a bigger purpose; introduces us to a very new point of view of people's relationships in the future. Written in 80's, the author takes us to a ride in a new plant where people share interests between future and past... and look forward to meet the reality into the modern life. ...more
Ruby Hollyberry
Jun 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
Really awesome science fiction vampire story. Any vampire fan who aims to read them all should add this one to their list. Well above the quality of most newer vampire novels, and the setting is wonderfully different.
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tanith-lee
I wrote a song inspired by this book, which addresses a lot of emotional issues, disguised as a scifi vampire story.
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Well-done vampire sci fi by a favorite author of mine. She actually has something new to say in the form, I think!
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In my top five of Favorite Tanith Lee novels. A different take on the vampire mythos and well done at that.
Sam S
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

I picked this up because it was short and sounded like a unique mix of scifi/aliens and vampires. I didn't realize it was a republishing of the original from 1980! I think this really shows how vampires have come full circle from the more abstract, religious tones (thinking Anne Rice) to the paranormal romance vampires and now they're back again, but grittier and without the sparkly glitter stuff.

I did struggle with the writing style of this novella. It was a mix of stream of consciousn
Dec 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Tanith Lee is a bit of a forgotten voice these days, but I personally really like her slightly gothy beatnik stylings and I was drawn in by this little sci-fi vampire novel. This was a nice alternative, feminist (though possibly the end lets this down a bit) viewpoint to the usual dominant-male vampire storylines, with lots of talk of menstruation, male douche-baggery, and alienation. Written in 1980, I think, this still felt cool and edgy and much-needed.
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
tanith is as always a certified freak but this is the best possible ebony dark'ness dementia raven way ...more
Steven Montano
Feb 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, languid, gripping and melancholy. No one writes lyrical dark prose better than Tanith Lee.
This was such an odd little book, but I did enjoy it. It’s sort of gothic science fiction? Nonetheless, I’m glad I decided to check this one out because spending time reading Tanith Lee is always a bit of a treat.

Where do I start? Let’s talk about the writing style, because for me that’s the best thing about this book. I haven’t read a lot of things by Tanith Lee, mostly short fiction, but she had a way of creating atmosphere that seems almost effortless, just by the way she tells the story and
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh Tanith, my gothic princess. You set the standard for me and even the older books are still wonderful. I had missed reading Sabella for some reason and was glad to come across this little gem of a reprint. Vampires on Mars! Yes! Sabella is not a terribly sympathetic character, but she is interesting and the ending was very satisfying.
Aug 05, 2016 rated it liked it
This is relatively early Tanith Lee, meaning she still hasn't quite figured out when description is necessary and when it isn't, and where cities are always being set on fire by a gorgeous red sunset and every building and person drowns in this beautiful deep red suffusing the landscape every other chapter.

But still.

I liked that this story was a cross between Sci-Fi and a vampire story, I didn't predict the ending but it wasn't a surprise to me. I appreciate the amount of world-building, though
Andrei Ryumin
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vampires
This is a short novel about a female vampire who seduces men to drink their blood. Sound rather stereotypical, though I think it was not in 1980, but this is just the surface. From the first pages you have a feeling that things are not what they seem, something remains untold, incomprehensible, foggy; you have these feelings together with Sabella who has her own doubts about existence. Things become clear only in the end with a rather unexpected twist, which makes you wish to re-read the book, t ...more
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
So I was not expecting a vampire book when I picked this up, let alone an interesting new (at least to me) twist on the vampire mythos.
I really don’t like the main male character in this, but otherwise the whole book was really very enjoyable.
Jul 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vampires
The first book I know of to take a look at what it would take for vampires to be real. Perhaps a precursor to all of those new alternate-history vampire books.
L.T. Brooks
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I absolutely adore this book. Each time I read it, I see something different.
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Better, much better, than expected. I'm pretty sick of vampires these days, but found this fresh (in a slightly dated way). Short of time now but will try to expand later. ...more
Hallie Snowman
One of my favorite vampire books. Ultimately a story about redemption.
Josh Karaczewski
Mar 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
A premise that sounds ridiculous when you write it out (Vampires and Ghosts on Mars) is made enthralling by Lee's writing. Lush and hypnotic, tense and sexy. ...more
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Tanith Lee was a British writer of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. She was the author of 77 novels, 14 collections, and almost 300 short stories. She also wrote four radio plays broadcast by the BBC and two scripts for the UK, science fiction, cult television series "Blake's 7."
Before becoming a full time writer, Lee worked as a file clerk, an assistant librarian, a shop assistant, and a wai

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