Friday, 29 May 2009

Fiction Book Review - The Dracula Tape

Note: This is a version of a review I have previously posted elsewhere. Should you find a review of this book anywhere on the net under the name Shutsumon or Firebird157 they're me.


The Dracula Tape by Fred Saberhagen is a book with the power to make me go WOOT. Well it's got vampires in it which helps. But more importantly this is a bloody good book!

Back when I first read it in 2000 I wrote the following review on Amazon.

"This is a gem in my opinion. The case for the defense as it were and in places it truely tears the prosecution (Dracula by Bram Stoker of course :-)) to shreds. In others the defense case has it's own weaknesses but I suspect this was deliberately done by Saberhagen. There are three sides to every story, your side, my side and the truth inbetween. So now we have two sides... will we ever have the third? Well not until the Dracula tape goes out of Copyright I guess :-). That's the one problem the dracula tape, it does quote large chunks of Dracula verbatim, then again it never claims to do otherwise. This is not a book that could have been written while the original was still in copyright. Then again we have our imaginations... don't we."

I stick by this even now nine years later. (Though hopefully with better punctuation and without the missing words). This book is still a gem.

It's no spoiler to say that this novel consists of Dracula telling his version of the events of "Dracula" by Bram Stoker to the descendents of Jonathan and Mina Harker while they tape it. That's just the starting point for a very interesting sideways look at "Dracula".

Saberhagen's novel is in many ways a deconstruction of Stoker's most famous work. It gleefully points out all the plot holes in "Dracula". Plot holes that when considered at length make Stoker's storyline a real mess. I will say no more, because if I describe the plot holes there's no point in reading Saberhagen's classy tale.

It's these plot holes that allow Saberhagen to have Dracula make a compelling -- if occasionally rocky -- case in his own defense.

The book is actually the first in a series but I have only read the original book.

My verdict: Classy, witty and very imaginative. This is definately a novel I recommend to anyone and everyone.