Booktober 14th: “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” by Seth Grahame-Smith

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Cover.jpg
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27855382

[This is Day 14 of #Booktober! Stay tuned for more recommendations!]

What It Is: A horror novel, dressed in the guise of a presidential biography (complete with “historical” photos) detailing how the sixteenth American president’s rise to political prominence was particularly impacted by his fight against a faction of vampires using the nascent Confederacy as a way to take control of the American continent.

Why You Should Read It: The year before AL:VH, Grahame-Smith had published Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which seemed to kick off a brief but notable “horror mash-up” trend, spawning several books and a few action movies. While the Jane Austen spoofs of that moment are of middling quality, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was excellent, not only because the horror elements are well-conceived, but because the overall tone of the book is pitch-perfect. The reason it works so well is that it doesn’t feel like a novel, but instead reads like a David McCullough biography, with its academic descriptions of vampire attacks taking on an almost business-like fashion. (Incidentally, this is why the film adaptation failed so miserably; the director and producers tried to reshape the source material into a typical Hollywood three-act narrative structure, including creating an individual villain who would be Lincoln’s final foe in the film’s climax. If they had framed the story as if it were a Ken Burns documentary, it would have been a rousing success.) I know this pick seems a bit out of left field, but trust me: it’s worth a look.

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