Bram Stoker, Father of Vampire Fiction


Fans of Twilight, take note – on this day in 1847, Abraham “Bram” Stoker was born. Though his name may not be familiar to kids with Robert Pattison posters on their walls, they have Stoker to thank for bringing the modern vampire to life.

Stoker’s classic 1897 horror novel Dracula wasn’t actually the first vampire tale to be published. John Polidori’s 1819 short story The Vampyre is considered the first prose fiction vampire story. James Malcolm Ryder published “penny dreadfuls” (a genre so named because they sold for the low price of a penny, and the writing tended to be… well, dreadful) about Varney the Vampire from 1845 to 1847. And Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1871 lesbian vampire Carmilla was a precursor to the vampire gender-bending in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and TV’s True Blood.


Vampires, Dracula and history explored in round of new books


Love Bites: Vampyres of Hollywood II, Vol. 2

By Adrienne Barbeau

St. Martin’s, $24.99w

Screen scream queen (and, yes, erstwhile “Maude” co-star) Barbeau’s second biting satire skewers Hollywood and vamp lit with a tale of a 450-year-old vampire/horror film legend/cutthroat producer who falls for a Beverly Hills detective. The cast includes a bunch of relentlessly job-seeking undead friends, slithering “weregators” and exceedingly strange paparazzi. Barbeau signs the book Nov. 1, 5:30-7 p.m., Garden District Book Shop.


Walk through this portal with me into another world


The “portal fantasy,” where somebody walks through a magical door (or wardrobe) into a fantasy world, has become a terrible cliche. So why do we keep walking through those portals and loving the hell out of it?

I heard a lot of grumbling about portal fantasies last weekend at the World Fantasy Convention in Ohio, an annual gathering for writers, publishers, and editors who deal with fantasy. Often a writer would begin describing his or her book by saying, “It’s not a portal fantasy.” What most of them meant was that their fantasy stories don’t follow the old rules of the medium, probably originating with Alice in Wonderland or Wizard of Oz, where a youthful protagonist is sucked into an amazing alternate world but spends the entire story trying to get home rather than exploring.


The modern world is the past’s science fiction


For anyone who grew up in the 1970s, it seemed that hardly a week went by without technologists unveiling another triumph of converting science fiction into fact. From moon-shots to microprocessors and mobile phones, nothing seemed beyond their power.

Since then the flow of truly astonishing breakthroughs seems to have tailed off. Quite why is a matter of debate. The end of the Cold War and its colossal military R&D budgets didn’t help. Then there is the fact that scientists have increasingly run up against fundamental limits to what can be achieved in terms of power, speed and compactness. Yet every so often, scientists unveil something straight out of the sci-fi handbook. And last week, a team of researchers in the US demonstrated a classic example of the genre: a holographic projector.


The Tao of Drizzt: Salvatore’s Dark Elf Turns Adventure Fantasy into Literary Manna for the Soul


Whenever anyone ever mocks me for being a science fiction/fantasy book reviewer – and they do! – or criticizes adventure fantasy specifically for being mindless literary fast food, I always ask them if they’ve ever read any of R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt Do’Urden novels. That shuts them up every time.

Although this saga is breakneck paced, nonstop action and adventure, Salvatore’s Drizzt saga is essentially an intense, and oftentimes lyrical, exploration into what it means to be human – and Salvatore’s signature character, the scimitar wielding dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden, is arguably the most complex and deeply contemplative fantasy character ever created.


How Video Games Changed Our Science Fiction Fantasy

Source: Greg Bear @

Roger Ebert has said that video games cannot be art. Similar judgments have been made over the decades and centuries about novels, plays, movies, television, comic books, and of course science fiction.

Now, video games are up in front of the Supreme Court. Once again a new and innovative form of art and entertainment is being put through an almost ritualised process of legal justification.


What do you think of today’s book news? Are you a fan of Bram Stoker’s? What did you think of his writing history?

Join us in the forum to discuss!