I went along to London’s Forbidden Planet bookshop tonight because my pal Kim Newman was signing copies of his recently republished novel Anno Dracula.
While the shelves are full of monster mash ups and vampire stories, this is the daddy of them all. Forget about Pride Prejudice and Zombies and the Twiglet saga. This is no retelling of a classic story with added monster bits by a hack writer, this is an original work, albeit with characters drawn from literature, film and history. Here Dracula has won, the blood sucking Count is married to the vampire Queen Victoria, Van Helsing’s head is on a spike outside Buckingham Palace and a serial killer with a silver blade is taking care of Whitechapel’s vampire prostitutes.
Part of the fun of reading the book is identifying characters that you have encountered before from say Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling, HG Wells and Hammer horror movies, and I am full of admiration for the way that Kim has melded so many characters both real and fictional (including many of his own) into the story. There are also some handy notes at the back so you can look up characters you don’t know.
Anno Dracula has been out of print for ages in the UK and my old copy is falling to bits, so I was delighted to get a new copy, signed, with some extra stuff in it too. Oh and there are no wet sparkly vampires thankfully.