Andy Warhol's Dracula by Kim Newman
The Vaccinator by Michael Marshall Smith
(Gollancz, £4.99, 72/91 pages, paperback; published 28 December 2000; ISBN 1-85798-760-8. First published individually by PS Publishing in 1999 and as part of Foursight by Gollancz in 2000.)
I'm too young to remember the days when sf books would be published back-to-back like this, but fortunately I'm not so old as to remain unexcited by such brilliant writing!
The Vaccinator might have been one of the first drafts for Men In Black - one that was obviously discarded for being much too funny and intelligent. Eddie, 'The Vaccinator', lives in the Florida Keys and (for a price) helps alien abductees to not be abducted. OK?
I don't want to give any more away because even when published together these two novellas make a rather thin paperback and I really want you to get as much pleasure as I did out of these few pages.
The Vaccinator has no big ideas or pretensions, it's just subtly but extremely funny, straightforwardly but expertly told, and an hour or two of sheer joy to read - and sometimes you just have to be satisfied with that!
After reading The Vaccinator I was a bit nervous as to whether Andy Warhol's Dracula could keep up its side of the bargain. I probably shouldn't have been since it's by the mighty Kim Newman, I know, but I hadn't read any of his previous Dracula books and hadn't really even planned to. However, as it turns out, although a more complex read than its covermate Andy Warhol's Dracula, it's just as good!
Based around the arrival of vampire Johnny Pop from Transylvania in the punk rock '70s and the ensuing meeting of minds with the master of Studio 54, Andy Warhol's Dracula is a swift, smart look at the arty underbelly of New York as it exploits and is exploited by its undead Romanian refugees.
I felt myself becoming as mesmerised and addicted to the hinted at vampire culture as the lowlifes of Studio 54 - not quite to the point of haunting the streets in the dead of night looking for copies of Newman's other Drac books in bookstore windows, but not far off!
I can't wait to see the other Millennium Binaries (this is number 2). If they're anything like as good as this then we're doing Millennium a grave disservice by paying only £4.99 for them!
Charge us more, oh master, charge us more!
Review by Stuart Carter.
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© Stuart Carter 3 March 2001