Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The year is 1982 and while there have been a ton of traditional vampire novels floating about, the big twist in the vampire industry hasn't quite come about yet with Interview... or has it? Enter Fevre Dream, taking this our darkest mirror to our humanity and turning him into something tragic and noble and throwing him into a Mark Twain novel.
What? Mark Twain? Oh yeah, steamboats, 1857, we've got 15 mile an hour races and chases and deeply disturbing looks at what makes men monsters and what makes monsters into men. Hate being a cow or a slave? Hate being a slave to your baser instincts, and have you decided never to simply give into them, unlike so many others? How heroic. :) Of course, this came out a good deal before our current glut and, at least to me, it marks a sudden and fantastic development in the whole field.
Sure, we might have had some sympathy for the original Dracula, just as we have sympathy for the Devil, but the heroes were much more often outside of the curse. And up till now, Vampires were still just the expression of truly base humanity, not worth much redeeming.
So this human aspect is truly excellent in the tale, but don't let me downplay the real gem here: steamboats. Total immersion in the world. Totally cool. I never guessed that chugging along at 8 miles per hour could be so exciting! But of course, that's all due to a master storyteller. :) GRRM has been around for a long, long time, practicing a very fine craft. We really shouldn't forget that. :)
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