In London in 1895, Professor Edward Copplestone recounts his visits to the future under the influence of drugs to a group of historical and imaginary personages, including H.G. Welles, Oscar Wilde, and the mysterious Count Lugard, revealing that humankind will eventually be ruled by vampires
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Stableford stumbles in a dull, talk-ridden minor novel that's simply not up to his terrific alternative-history vampire science/fantasy trilogy (Angel of Pain, 1993, etc.). As with that trilogy and 1991's The Empire of Fear, the present story is set in Victorian London, this time featuring such figures as Oscar Wilde, H.G. Wells, M.P. Shiel, parapsychologist Sir William Crookes, Nikola Tesla (the Croatian-American genius of electricity), and stand-ins for Holmes and Watson (characters still covered by copyright). These folks, and young-looking old vampire Count Lugard (spell that backwards and you get Dragul/dragon/Dracula), gather to hear a futurological tale by intrepid traveler Professor Edward Copplestone, who has just come back from his third hallucinogenic trip to the very, very far distant future. H.G., of course, is miffed, since his novel The Time Machine is now being serialized--and, he thinks, seriously plagiarized by Copplestone. The bulk of the story is descriptive, a kind of Gulliver's Vampires, telling of three successive civilizations based upon rule by vampires. In the first, humankind has been reduced to simpleton bovine bloodmakers for the superior race of vampires who live underground. In the second, the darkly brilliant vampires now make blood themselves in vats, having released mankind from servitude and having cross-fertilized the blood with creatures of Greek myth (satyrs and centaurs). In the third civilization, perfect peace descends in the absence of man altogether, but, says Copplestone, in the great scheme the vampires ``are our brothers and not our conquerors: They are our other selves, our heirs, our ambassadors to the universe.'' Lotsa rhetoric follows. Futurologically, this is a penlight beside such beacons as Franz Werfel's Star of the Unborn or Olaf Stapledon's The Last and First Men. As period British vampire fiction, it cries for at least a dollop of the saving humor displayed in Kim Newman's The Bloody Red Baron. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
The Wellsian scientific romance gets a vigorous retooling in this captivating mix of fantasy, science fiction and metaphysics from Stableford (The Carnival of Destruction, 1994). It is 1895, and in a London salon a group that includes, among others, Oscar Wilde, H.G. Wells, "The Great Detective" (aka Sherlock Holmes) and Dr. Watson, as well as secretive narrator Count Lugard, listens spellbound as scientist Edward Copplestone prophesies a future he glimpsed during three drug-induced trances that revealed to him a humanity that will have degenerated into a race of satyrs ruled by vampiric overmen. While Wells frets that his host has "scooped" the idea for his gestating novel, The Time Machine, and the others debate whether the foreseen era can be averted, a mystery with far-reaching ramifications for the human species unfolds before their unseeing eyes. Stableford conjures believable reactions from his historical celebrities. He also peppers the reader with more provocative ideas than many writers cram into a trilogy, the most mind-boggling of which is that ancient shamans may have taken drug trips similar to Copplestone's and translated their visions of the future into the vampire superstitions of yore that inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula. From its portentous opening on a fog-shrouded dueling field to the clever twist at its end, this novel offers a nonstop challenge to readers' expectations. (June) FYI: A shorter version of this novel appeared in the magazine Interzone in 1995.
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Book Description Mark V. Ziesing, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110929480805