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 eaters. While that is an interesting premise, the story line meanders too much to be consistent. He introduces a train used by the vampires to move through time, and the humans capture it and use it to their advantage, ultimately via time loops that are not well explained. The capture of the train is simply too easy, a device this critical would be very well guarded by the vampires and they would have mounted an all-out offensive to recapture it. The ultimate bomb used to destroy the vampires exceeds the bounds of the number of "new devices" that are allowed in a science fiction tale. I did enjoy the inclusion of Bram Stoker, the author of the original Count Dracula vampire story. The description of this man of Victorian times is without question the best part of the book. This was not a book that kept my attention. The story meanders and the actions of the vampires in allowing the capture and possession of the time train while they are capable of sucking blood from the neck of the thief was just too much. I finished it, but this is one tale that did not excite me.
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Charles Ashbacher (CharlesAshbacher)
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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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.