Science fiction harbors an unfortunate subgenre wherein time travel is used to explain away the creative genius of past artists. A sample of his work might be brought to a master before "he" has created it; he might be exposed to another era and thus to events that then inspire his (now unimaginative) work. Aldiss ( Greybeard ), winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards, here sails very close to that wind. Dracula sends assassins to kill Bram Stoker before he can write his novel about vampires. Joe Bodenland hijacks a time train from the vampires and rides it to London in 1896, where he teams up with Stoker. Together they set off to save humanity from the undead, with assistance from Stoker's gardener and Bodenland's family. The writing is drab, imparting none of the excitement expected from such fertile subjects. The introduction of time travel does nothing to enhance the original vampire story. Except for Stoker, the characters lack motivation and substance enough to make them attractive to the reader. Even Lord Dracula lacks bite. Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The basic premise of the book is an interesting one and is similar to a theory put forward by Carl Sagan in his book, "The Dragons of Eden." In "Dragons . . ", Sagan argues that the innate fear that humans have of reptiles is a genetic remnant of the struggle for dominance that took place between reptiles and mammals millions of years ago. Aldiss explains the human fear of vampires as another relic of the development of the human species, describing vampires as a separate species, evolved from carrion … more