Friday, 7 December 2012

Books: Anno Dracula: The Bloody Red Baron by Kim Newman and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier and Century: 2009 by Alan Moore (Art: Kevin O'Neill)

Imagine elaborate alternate histories where characters and creatures from hundreds of years of fantasy literature and cinema co-exist with real historical figures and events. Kim Newman's 'Anno Dracula: The Bloody Red Baron' is a continuation of his 'Anno Dracula', which imagines a universe where the infamous vampire wins at the conclusion of Bram Stoker's novel. Here WW1 is fought with the undead as the dominant force in Europe, although it's Germany and Austria-Hungary with Dracula as commander-in-chief of its armies and Manfred von Richthofen as a monsterious bat, that has embraced the true gothic vampire aesthetic. A mash up of ripping yarn, steampunk, pulp horror and 'All Quiet On The Western Front," this is a highley entertaining read.

Black Dossier and Century: 2009, part of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series of 'graphic novels' by Alan Moore, creates an even more complex mythos, where almost every imaginary character and land (lost worlds, imaginary kingdoms) from earth bound fantastic and pulp fiction co-habitate in an alternate timeline. Some of the authors drawn upon are Shakespeare, H.Rider Haggard, Verne, Wells, Stoker, Lovecraft, Orwell and countless others including even Gerry Anderson and J.K. Rowling! Behind the elaborate pulp fantasy is a celebration of the transformative power of the human imagination.

Read a review of The Bloody Red Baron from Kirkus Review here

Read Wiki entry for Black Dossier and a review from The Independent for Century: 2009 here and here

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