Literature: Dracula the Un-dead
For the Freda Warrington book, see Dracula the Undead.It's 1912, and young Quincey Arthur John Abraham Harker has always wanted to be an actor: the glory, the art, seeing the world. Too bad his father, Jonathan Harker, insists on Quincy following in his footsteps as a lawyer no matter what. In his last desperate attempt to make a name for himself in theater, he stumbles on a failing author by the name of Bram Stoker as Stoker is trying to stage a production of his little-known horror novel about a vampire named Dracula. Quincey is very surprised to find that characters in the novel suspiciously resemble his parents and some of their friends...Jack Seward, once a respected doctor but now ruined and a morphine addict, is now hunting vampires who turn out to be Psycho Lesbians, with the help of a mysterious "benefactor". He and his allies are still determined to fight an unholy evil, but 25 years after last time, it's not going so well.Inspector Cotford is a police officer in London who has a promising career until he let Jack the Ripper slip through his fingers by a hairsbreadth decades before. He has lost all chance for advancement, but never forgot about what his failure cost the world. When mutilated bodies start turning up in the streets of London again, he's back on the killer's trail.Dracula: the Un-Dead is a sequel to Bram Stoker's Dracula. There are many sequels and adaptations of this classic Public Domain Character, but this novel is unique in that it is the first and only one authorized by the family: it was co-authored by screenwriter Ian Holt and by Dacre Stoker, Bram's great-grand-nephew, partially in hopes of reclaiming the family legacy. In addition to being a straight-up sequel - to the hunters who put Dracula down in the original book, it looks like he has returned and wants revenge - Dracula: the Un-Dead also writes in Stoker himself as a character, attempts to elaborate on a number of vague details from the book, explains how several characters met and includes some vampire lore that wasn't in the original story. There's also Jack the Ripper.
This story provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: Several parts don't make much sense in the context of the original book, but the Afterword explains the authors wanted to honor both the original and the Hollywood versions that came later. In addition, the Afterword offers a Techno Babble explanation for vampirism as a virus which stimulates unused portions of the brain to grant Psychic Powers, but the book is set before our modern understanding of diseases and DNA.
- Blood Bath: Elizabeth Bathory is a character. What do you expect?
- Celebrity Paradox: averted, or at least played with. The original novel was published in 1897 and this was set in 1912. In-universe, Bram Stoker heard the story of Dracula from Van Helsing, who told him in hopes that publicizing the story would help other people fight vampires. He was disappointed that Stoker got so much wrong. No other characters from the original novel knew it existed simply because, like in real life, it was obscure and little-known for years after publication. Quincey Harker first encounters the book and Stoker himself while Stoker is trying to adapt the book for the stage.
- Downer Ending: Yay, the Big Bad Countess Elizabeth Bathory was killed! And Dracula and Mina can finally be together forever! Oh wait, it's too bad the only person who could pull Dracula to safety out of the sunlight isn't inclined to, and Mina committed suicide when she saw him go up in flames, and even if they survived all that, the ship Quincey and maybe his parents escaped on was the Titanic...
- Freudian Excuse: According to the story, why Elizabeth Bathory was so psycho. Not only was she forced into an arranged marriage with a brutish man, but she was a lesbian who had never had satisfying sex until her aunt came on to her.
- Genre Blind: Inspector Cotford would have made a great protagonist in a detective or police procedural story. Unfortunately for him, this is horror.
- Lesbian Vampire: Bathory and friends.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: This revelation is not as important in this story as it is in most, but it's still pretty important. Extra points for echoing the Trope Namer very closely.
- Meaningful Name: Basarab.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Mostly follows the rules as explained in Bram Stoker's original novel, but there are a lot of differences. First, sunlight burns vampires. Second, vampires aren't necessarily evil, although it just happens to look like that when they wake up for the first time, hungry and drunk on power. Less important to the story but still worth mentioning: a vampire's aversion to holy symbols is dependent on their own belief or lack thereof, and the Afterword alludes to a scientific explanation of vampirism.
- Psycho Lesbian: Played straight and very un-subtly.
- Public Domain Character: Dracula himself, of course. In addition, there are also historical figures Elizabeth Bathory and Jack the Ripper, as well as a number of brief appearances by minor figures, of which the most important to the story is Inspector Frederick Abberline, one of the police officers who had investigated the Jack the Ripper case in real life.
- Retcon: many. In the authors' notes at the end, they explain that they also wanted to pay homage to the many additions by Hollywood and other authors that followed the original. The most notable change is that in this version, unlike Stoker's original, vampires burn in the sun. Other retcons were needed to make the dates match up with Jack the Ripper's activity, and to make Bram Stoker's career last long enough to encounter Quincey as a young man. Many of the Ret Cons are Hand Waved by saying that Bram Stoker took great artistic license with the story he was told, or was told a vague, incomplete story to begin with. Others take advantage of ambiguity or even contradiction in the original story.
- Science Marches On: In-universe example. In the original novel, Van Helsing ordered that the protagonists give blood transfusions to Lucy after her blood had been drained by Dracula. It was published four years before the discovery of the blood type system, and this book is set about 25 years later, so skeptical characters are now aware of the problem: blood transfusions of the wrong type could easily have killed her without any help from a vampire.
- Sequel Hook: Many.
- Much is made in the book of the fact that in the original Dracula, Dracula was not killed in the way supposedly required to kill vampires. Well, neither was the vampire in this book. ( none of them were, although what happened to Bathory looks pretty final anyway. But Dracula and Mina both "died" with their hearts intact and their heads attached.
- Quincey left England fleeing his family's legacy. And it looks like his parents did too. Will he reconcile with them? Will he even survive the Titanic?
- Who was Elizabeth Bathory's mentor, and why did he hate Dracula so much?
- Unwitting Pawn: Cotford. An unfortunate consequence of being Genre Blind or Wrong Genre Savvy. Van Helsing's habit of mutilating bodies of people he claims are vampires is well known, so he was supposedly a minor suspect in the Ripper murders. Cotford barks up the wrong tree for much of the book.