Thursday, October 29, 2009

Horror Classics Reworked - Readings for the Season

Halloween has been growing in popularity and extravagance for quite a while now. Costume parties are held; homes are strewn with orange lights and scary creatures; everyone looks forward to a fine and scary time. Maybe it’s because we all like a good scare? Whatever the reason, and just in time for this creepy season, three different authors have produced re-worked versions of some truly unsettling horror classics.

Professor Charles Robinson (professor of English at the University of Delaware), has gone back to the earliest surviving manuscript of Mary Shelley’s work and produced two “new” versions of Frankenstein, the story of a created monster gone horribly wrong. In this new edition, you get to “hear” Mary Shelley’s young voice and can even see what additions and changes were suggested by her husband, Percy Shelley.

Peter Ackroyd is also dealing with Frankenstein’s monster in his new book The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein. This brilliantly imagined novel is written (purportedly) by Dr. Frankenstein himself and Mary Shelley and Percy B. Shelley are characters in the novel. Publisher’s Weekly calls Ackroyd’s novel a “brilliant riff on ideas that have informed literary, horror and science fiction for nearly two centuries.”

The Vampire Archives, edited by Otto Penzler, is the biggest, “undeadliest” collection of vampire stories ever (weighing in at 1056 pages!), with an accompanying comprehensive bibliography of vampire fiction. As the blurb on the cover says, The Vampire Archives is “dark, stormy, and delicious. Once it sinks its teeth into you there’s no escape.” Meg
[This post is based on an article in BookPage by Michael Alec Rose.]



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