“I’m attracted to big, audacious ideas.”
Never thought I’d use the word “vampire” (shades of the Twilight series) in this blog, yet I can’t resist the temptation after reading about Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. When I first heard about this book and film, I did a double take. I thought it was a joke. But then I found out that this project is just one of Seth’s mashups (now there’s a word for our times!). A few years back, he made a big splash with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies — now there’s a title that really has me curious.
You’d think that anyone who could dream up a moniker like that wouldn’t be a bibliophile, but Seth has been surrounded by literature and reading his entire life: His dad’s a dealer of rare and used books.
Historical horror: it seems like there’s a whole new genre a-borning. And yet, wild and wacky as all this sounds, Seth does manage to ground his stories in fact. Sure, Abe is axing off vampire heads, but he’s also courting Mary Todd and getting into politics. Actor Rufus Sewell said of the film: “It uses as much reality as it possibly can to gain footing for its leaps into flights of fantasy.”
To me, all this sounds like a strange new take on magic realism. Flights of fancy: aren’t they part of the joy of writing and reading? Talk about a “What if” premise for a story! “What if a vampire killed Lincoln’s mother?” Now that’s a “big, audacious idea” — that’s writing dangerously!
Abe may be winking — he was certainly a guy with a wry sense of humor — and history teachers may be groaning, but Seth actually believes that the movie will spark interest in the real Lincoln. And if it does, and kids start picking up books about him that aren’t filled with vampires, then that’s a good thing. At one time, I might have felt this whole idea was too wacky for words or an affront to history, but I’ve lightened up quite a bit. Now I think, well, it’s a big world out there. Why not? Write on!