The Vampire of Northanger, by Bryce Anderson (40:00)

IOD-VampireNorthangerToday we see an example of a stylistic homage paid in brilliant coin. Jane Austen’s long-lost vampire novel.

What I gleaned about the story: Catherine Morland is that most inauspicious of heroines, born without benefit of sign or portent. But in the waning days of the last vampires of England, young Catherine is about to prove that heroines are not anointed by heavenly displays. They forge themselves in the harsh furnaces of danger.

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Kudos #1: Ballsy premise

Details: The preface, attributed to a dry and stuffy scholar, does a wonderful job of both mimicking Enlightenment-era fiction, and introducing the book’s two central conceits: that what you hold in your hands is a long-lost Jane Austen novel. And that it’s about hunting vampires.

Kudos #2: Charming Austenisms

Details: To this point, I’ve only ever read a Jane Austen parody, so my opinion on the matter is only weakly informed, but the tone and subtle humor of the first chapter seems right on the money.

WTF #1: Echoing headword

Analysis: This might be the first time I’ve ever charged an echo against chapter headwords, or in this case, head phrases. The faux preface, written by the august historian, begins in homage to Austen herself, with “It is a truth universally acknowledged that…” Clearly an homage to Austen’s own witticism about well-heeled men being in need of a wife. While it is a rather flagrant re-use of that introductory phrase, it can be forgiven, since the fictional historian writing the introduction would be expected to be familiar with Austen’s work, and would no doubt find it charming to make such a conspicuous homage in his essay. But when Chapter Five begins with: It is a truth not to be contradicted, this goes too far for my tastes. It shocked me out of the story and called attention to itself.

Final note: After the treadmill, I went on to read the whole thing and loved it. I may have to investigate Jane Austen now. Or I can wait for more of Anderson’s reinterpreted versions.

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About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is underqualified in just about everything. That’s why he writes.