We like Daikaiju, we like Dracula and we like Kim Newman so what’s not to like about Anno Dracula: 1899 from our good friends at Titan Books The big news is that this new anthology of Newman’s works contains Yokai Town: Anno Dracula 1899 an 1899 (obviously) set teaser for his forthcoming Anno Dracula installment, Anno Dracula 1999: Daikaiju, setting the seed for the events due to unfold 100 years later.
As if that isn’t enough the volume contains some long out of print stories from difficult to find collections along with Sarah Minds the Dog, a gruesome radio play about he consequences of fibbing to your employer about that pet who dies on your watch and Frankenstein on Ice, Newman’s own contribution to the rather wonderful Amicus style horror portmanteau stage production The Ghost Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore.
Top story for me was Is There Anybody There where a 19th century séance collides with a contemporary internet hacker with dire consequences, though Completest Heaven really speaks to my inner geek, I’d just love a TV channel with Channel 1818’s programming. Genre culture is gloriously pilfered to show us what happens when one of the few War of Worlds survivors becomes a Hollywood bit player in Famous Monsters, Dr Jekyll’s formula goes into patent medicine in A Drug on the Market, Orson Welles visits the home of Charles Foster Kane in The Snow Sculptures of Xanadu and Kal-El grows up in Nazi Germany in Ubermensche!. Meanwhile Edgar Allan Poe takes over Hollywood and deals with a doppelgänger in IIllimitable Domination and Just Like Eddy and the zombie plague hits the Soviet Union in Amerikanski Dead at the Moscow Morgue. Other stories feature Jack the Ripper and Casablanca‘s Rick Blaine and we find out where Movieland’s monsters go to die.
Kim’s fiction more fun than Forest Gump’s box of hard centres could ever be, there’s always plenty of surprises even when he is dealing with the familiar. It’s like being a chef, knowing your ingredients and knowing what to do with them. Mr Newman certainly knows how to cook up a great story.
A superb collection of stories from a master story-teller I give Anno Dracula 1899 and Other Stories a big 666/666
Anno Dracula 1899 and Other Stories is published by Titan Books as a paperback and EBook price: £7.99 UK/ $14.95 US/ $19.95 Canada