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Way back in 1992 (has it really been almost twenty years ago?), Kim Newman published Anno Dracula, the first in a fascinating and influential series, that posited what might have happened if the heroes of Dracula had failed to stop the good count from conquering Britain. The Anno Dracula books are interesting not just because of their plots and characters, but also because of the sheer number of references to both actual historical figures as well as other fictional characters and situations. This page nicely summarizes all of the characters, fictional and historical, referenced in Anno Dracula (beware spoilers on that page if you haven’t already read it).

I was delighted that Titan Books is reprinting the series which has been out-of-print for a while now, along with the long-awaited fourth novel in the series. Kim Newman has kindly provided an annotated list of the ten classic vampire novels that inspired him to write Anno Dracula. This list, coincidentally, provides a very nice starting point for those interested in reading the classic vampire tales. I am ashamed to admit that — much as I love vampires — I haven’t actually read four of these ten novels. There are certainly additional novels that should be included in a list of critical vampire fiction (perhaps I should assemble my own list some day), but this is a great start.

Oh and by the way, vampires are inhuman, if seductive, monsters. They don’t sparkle and they don’t fall in love with high-school girls. They eat them.