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Monday
May282012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Like Mahatma Ghandi, Jesus Christ, and Sherlock Holmes, Abraham Lincoln's life has been pored over by countless historians. And like those people, many historians doubt he ever truly existed. So, what then do you do when these countless historians have written countless books all taking a slice of the Lincoln pie? Same thing all those other so-called Lincolnologists have done: Make things up out of whole cloth.

The author Seth Grahame-Smith is no stranger to making things up. His earlier works include his own last name as well as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which takes the most captivating Victorian love story and adds the masculine violence it so desperately needed, all while attempting to stay as close to the source material as possible. So when he got the opportunity to take one of the greatest Americans who ever lived and make stuff up about him, he approached the challenge with gusto.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is unique, compared to Lincoln-was-gay or Kennedy-was-reincarnated-Lincon claims, so far that everything stated is plausible. The book starts with the standard Gnostic hidden diaries lark and then delves deep into Lincoln's war against secret undead, then follows his career from strapping axe-swinging youth to distinguished axe-dusting statesman. Not surprisingly, that other evil thing that everyone knows Lincoln fought also appears, and not surprisingly the two are related in somewhat ham-fisted fashion. Yes, slavery was evil, and yes, vampires are evil (but judge them not equally), but for some reason vampire slaveholders are not double evil, probably for the same reason zombie Nazis are just silly evil. Nothing interesting comes from framing the evil of slavery with vampires, which disappoints me.

You know what else disappoints me? This book is full of interesting depictions of Lincoln's secret violent past, but my favorite Lincoln story, when he ended up duelling a man in a pit with broadswords makes no appearance. What's wrong, Seth? Are actual stories of Lincoln's life more completely awesome and insane than anything you can come up with? Is this example of Lincoln's sense of humor too good for your bloodsucker book? I'm saddened that you couldn't come up with some good framing. Maybe James Shields was mistaken for a vampire, or was an ally to vampires, or maybe he just had a bloody nose one day and things got out of control. 

Well, in any case now this is going to be a major motion picture, which will surely suck every last dreg of originality out of it.

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