The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Anno Dracula merges nineteenth century history and literary fiction in such a way as to blur the distinctions between them. Chapter 1, “In the Fog,” opens with Dr. Jack Seward of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) recording on a phonograph cylinder, as was his habit in that novel, a murder he has just committed. His narrative clearly identifies him as the historical Jack the Ripper. As the novel begins, Stoker’s famous vampire nemesis, Dr. Van Helsing, has his head on a pike on the London bridge, and Arthur Holmwood (one of Lucy Westenra’s stalwart suitors) is now the up-and-coming vampire Lord Godalming.

Even more surprising is that in the quasi-historical realm, Count Dracula, identified as Vlad Tepes, has become the Queen’s consort. All of London is trying to reconcile itself to the changes as more and more people “turn,” or become vampires. Dracula has brought the Carpathian guard to Buckingham Palace, where Mina Harker is one of his vampire mistresses. Oscar Wilde has turned vampire but is still shunned for his homosexuality. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll is studying the dual nature of vampire existence and physiology. Seemingly every important nineteenth century figure from George Bernard Shaw to Beatrix Potter makes a cameo appearance.

In Anno Dracula, Jack the Ripper, first known as The Silver Knife, is at large in London, killing young, female, vampire prostitutes. His activities concern...

(The entire section is 525 words.)