First Lines: Catch-up edition

The list of books I have to write about is only growing, so it’s time to play catch up.

Before Twilight and The Vampire Diaries, before Blade, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Interview with the Vampire, even before Dracula there was John Polidori. In his 1819 novel The Vampyreconceived in the same time and place as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein—a mysterious Lord Ruthven enters the social scene. A impressionable young man enters his retinue, travels with him to Greece, falls in love with a girl who gets killed by a vampire—you know how it goes.

The Vampyre is seen as the first tale that successfully ties several elements of vampirism together. Even with just a passing familiarity with the vampire-genre, you can clearly see how it influenced what came after. Which is probably the best reason to read it.

Book Read
John Polidori — The Vampyre; a tale
First line
It happened that in the midst of the dissipations attendant upon a London winter, there appeared at the various parties of the leaders of the ton a nobleman, more remarkable for his singularities, than his rank.

Included in the first Humble eBook Bundle, Paolo Bacigalupi Pump Six and Other Stories collects eleven tales, mostly set in an universe that moved on, if you will. It’s a bleak and grim universe, one I probably wouldn’t want to live in. It are tales of bio-engineering leading to corporate greed and control, of ecological devastation and the human race doing what it does—adapt to the change and move on.

You can sample a few stories on Bacigalupi’s website.

Book Read
Paolo Bacigalupi — Pump Six and Other Stories
First line
Wang Jun stood on the rain-slicked streets of old Chengdu and stared up into the drizzle at Huojianzhu. —from Pocketful of Dharma

John Green’s Double on Call and Other Stories, a collection of early and largely unsuccessful attempts to write about illness and tragedy and life in a children’s hospital, was made available in exchange for a donation to the Project for Awesome. Some themes introduced in these (fragments of) stories eventually made their way into his best-selling The Fault in Our Stars. Which was so made of awesome that I bought a Dutch copy for my mother and sister to read. It’s just that good, and you should read it too. But these stories, well, sure, there’s potential there, but I can see why they got shelved.

Still, it provided at excellent chance to hone my ePub building skills.

Book Read
John Green — Double on Call and Other Stories
First line
The chaplain is just a boy, just a shock of unwashed hair and a pair of glasses and an ill-tied tie. —from Double on Call

Next time, I’ll have to tell you about the graphic novels I read, or about that time I made an apple-bacon pie.