www.wired.com: Fans of classic science fiction will be saddened to hear that one of its most imaginative writers has passed. In the 1950s and 1960s, William Tenn stood with pioneers like Theodore Sturgeon in creating vivid scenarios of mind-blowing alien worlds in novels and stories that illuminated emotional, political and ethical issues of good old humanity. Tenn was a pseudonym for Philip Klass. His particular contribution to the Golden Age was a willingness to put humor at center stage. (My favorite story of his: “On Venus, Have We Got a Rabbi.”)His death on Sunday, a few months short of his 90th birthday, is a blow to sci-fi. Condolences to his wife Fruma (herself an award-winning writer) and daughter Adina. But the loss also extends to those who never did manage to crack his novel about an extraterrestrial race with seven sexes.
After the surprise success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith is following up his New York Times best-seller with the history/vampire mashup, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
“Some people, Abraham, are just too interesting to kill.” So says the vampire who saves a teenage Abe Lincoln, who’s bitten off a bit more than he expected after ambushing a vampire in the guise of an elderly woman, on board an Ohio river boat. After discovering that his mother was slain by a vampire, the young Abraham Lincoln swears vengeance against the undead, using an axe to begin a campaign of vampire eradication that eventually has him becoming the most skilled and successful vampire hunter in America. All the while, he’s steered by Henry Sturges, the vampire who saved him early on in his career and who is determined to prevent America from being over-run by those of his kind who would destroy the country with their excesses. Sturges uses Lincoln as his assassin, supplying the future President with the name and location of vampires to be disposed of and slowly maneuvering him toward his greatest role.
As a Canadian, I may lack the credentials to comment on the authenticity of Lincoln history, but I do have a basic grasp of the subject matter and I own a copy of Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary (which I’ve watched several times); I have a pretty good idea of the names, places and dates that form the background story. Grahame-Smith does an excellent job of capturing the spirit of this style of story-telling, mixing historically accurate anecdotes with entries from Lincoln’s fictional secret journal, weaving the vampire elements into the story in a manner that’s quite believable.
It is sad to lose great writers, specially those who have influenced on creating classic works that will be remembered.
I’ve heard from people that have read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies without reading the original version that they’ve really liked it, making them want to read more of the classic books. In a way it is great that they’re portraying history in this new supernatural way to attract the young readers. What do you think?