Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Honourable mention: Anno Dracula 1899 and Other Stories

This was a 2017 release by Kim Newman and is a collection of multi-world stories, mostly taking the Anno Dracula premise of adapting a film or book into an alternate world, but only the last story being part of the Anno Dracula series. That was the last tale Yokai Town: Anno Dracula 1899, which in itself is a teaser of a new Anno Dracula novel due later in 2017.

It was actually fun to step out of that world and into other worlds created in Kim Newman’s fertile (and genre geek heavy) imagination. Some of the stories also touched on vampire themes occasionally.

The first story is Famous Monsters and follows the fortune of a Martian (ethnicity, it was birthed in the USA) actor in Hollywood. When I say Martian I mean, of course, those of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds (1898), which itself is a book concerned with alien vampires as our blood is their sustenance. In this cow’s blood is consumed.

The story Amerikanski Dead at the Moscow Morgue was probably my favourite in the volume. An unusual zombie apocalypse story that name checks wurdalaks and vrykolakas. The Chill Clutch of the Unseen sees the last monster hunter and the last monster (the invisible man) meet – with a memory of a vampiric attack touched on. Red Jacks Wild follows Jack the Ripper whose life is extended with ritualistic sacrifices to Hecate. In Übermensch Newman imagines what would have happened if Superman had crashed in Germany and fell under the sway of National Socialism – one of his enemies (in a name-check) was Graf Orlock. Completist Heaven sees a genre fanatic find a TV channel that shows the films you could imagine – obviously vampires feature in some of these.

Finally the Anno Dracula story sees a boat pull into Tokyo harbour, the passengers – all vampires fleeing Dracula – seek sanctuary and are allowed to move to Yokai Town – a place that officially doesn’t exist and houses the Yokai (in this reimagined as types of vampires).

A worthy volume though the Anno Dracula connection is more a selling point than the underpinning of the volume.

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