'Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter' - Premise sounds nuts, but friend raved about the book. Is it good?

Just wondering if anyone read it, and what they thought.

I read the book and quite enjoyed it. Hope you’re not a history stickler, because even apart from the whole vampire thing, a number of historical liberties are taken.

I hope the film measures up favorably against Calvin Coolidge: Mummy Slayer.

Is it better than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? That was a good one-joke the author ran into the ground. Would have made a funny magazine piece, but the writer was not deft enough to make it into a whole book.

I my persona as Captain Pedant, it would bother me that most of the Tropes we associate with vampuires didn’t exist in Abe Lincoln’s time. Bram Stoker was responsible for a lot of them, and the movies for others. In fact, there were a lot of former “truths” about vampires that have pretty much disappeared today. But we shouldn’t expect:
1.) Vampires being unseen in mirrors

2.) Vampires having to sleepp in “their native earth”

3.) Vampires dissolving in sunlight

4.) Vampires vulnerable to holy water

5.) Vampires being repelled by garlic

6.) Vampires capable of super-speed

7.) Vampires with fangs

Whsat would we expect of period-correct vampires?

1.) Sleep in grave all day

2.) Creatures of the night

3.) Can be dispatched with a stake through the heart (and by other methods)

4.) Great Physical Strength

5.) Can pass as human
Those last two aren’t “traditional” vampire characteristcs, but had been since Polidori’s story “The Vampire” and its adaptations.

I’ll betcha we see lots of vampires that move really fast and dissolve under sunlight.

Read it and loved it. It was a “serious” history- it never seemed like it was tongue in cheek, and it pulled it off. I felt like I was reading a credible history.

Enjoyed it very much.

The dispatching thing isn’t that traditional either is it? I thought was original stake thing was just to physically nail them into their coffin, so even if they do “wake up” they can’t get out and do anything.

There’s no such thing as a period-correct vampire. They’re fiction, a correct vampire is whatever the author wants it to be. Would you be upset if there was a prehistoric story that included vampires because they hadn’t been invented yet at that time period in real life?

I thought it was a million times better than P&P&Zombies, which I hated. I went into Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter expecting absolutely nothing and ended up loving it, much to my surprise. I think the difference is that I know P&P so well, and it was jarring and annoying to have zombies (and ninjas, bleh) thrown in after the joke wore off. I think Abe Lincoln was done much more seamlessly and it was really a fun read.

I read it on vacation and I found it to be a good “beach book”. The writing is less than stellar in some spots. But, the author tells a story fairly well. I would recommend it. Just don’t set your expectations too high.

Depends on who you talk to. But Varney the Vampire used the direct stake-through-the-heart, and so did the later Carmilla. There were other methods of staking, but using a simple wooden stake was an old and attested method.

Anyone can write any kind of fiction they want. My point is simply that, at the time the film is nominally set, vampires didn’t have most of the features we associate with them. Abe Lincoln – the real one – would almost certainly be familiar with the idea of vampires. They’d been prominent in pop Western culture for over half a century by the time he wa elected. But his image of them wouldn’t have been what ours is.

I don’t follow, his image of them would be what he really encountered, given the premise of the book, or are you presuming Lincoln was writing a fictional diary and therefore would be confined most likely to the vampire tropes of his era?

So seeing as Robert Louis Stevenson invented the modern concept of the treasure-hunting pirate, any pirate story using his tropes set before Treasure Island was published is inaccurate?

Or how about The Name of the Rose? That hack Umberto Eco wrote a Sherlock Holmsian detective story set literally centuries before Conan Doyle was born!

I have no idea what the premise of the book is; I haven’t read it. I suspect they used vampires as they are viewed today, because it was written today.

My point was simply that vampires as imagined by the historical Abe Lincoln would be significantly different from the way they’re viewed today.

I’m not saying that it’s against some literary rule to write he book or the screenplay with any sort of vampires you want, or taking the book or movie to task because they didn’t keep period-specific vampires. I’m just pointing out that, if you were writing a historical novel or screenplay about a president fighting supernaturakl entities as if it really were written in the period (or if you were chronichling the adventures of such a hands-on presidential administration in a parallel universe that had vampires), it’d almost certainly be different from what we ended up with.

None of this applies, for instance, to Newman’s Anno Dracula – he assumed Stoker’s vampire as a starting point.

You’re assuming that people would only have known about vampires from reading about them in the popular fiction that had been written up to that time. The real vampires that actually exist (in the world of the book) had whatever characteristics vampires actually have (in the world of the book).

I just want to add that there isa “mockbuster” on DVD right now called Abraham Lincoln VS. Vampires. So, I guess it’s big enough for a spoof.

I’m assuming only that the vampires then had the characteristics at the time attributed to them by pop culture at the time, which is pretty much the way people operate today, and have always operated. If you want to imagine that vampires have different strengths and capabilities, you’re perfectly free to do so. That, in fact, is the mahjor way fictional creatures “evolve”

The vampires in the book are indeed stronger and faster than humans, though apparently not to an absurd degree, since Abe is able to pretty well match them with training. It’s stated in the book that young vampires are vulnerable to sunlight, but by the end of their first century of vamp-life, they’ve grown immune to sunlight (though it still hurts their eyes and most wear dark glasses during the day). Immortality is another vampire trait, though it’s stated that the monotony of long life drives most vampires to suicide before they reach 300 years of age. They don’t sleep underground or in coffins; one says, “I cannot speak for others, but I am quite comfortable in a bed.” As for garlic, it “merely makes you easier to discern from a distance.”

As for the means of killing vampires, the preferred method seems to be beheading. Abe’s weapon of choice is an axe, as seen in the trailers, though as I recall he also carried a crossbow at one point, more for “quietness” than “woodenness”. A vampire is burned to death at one point. Bullets seem to have little or no effect. In general, there’s nothing “magical” about the vampires in the book, like lacking reflections or being unable to cross running water.

One thing I don’t remember from the book is how much blood a vampire requires to survive on a daily basis, and whether animal blood would suffice. Another thing: if I recall correctly, the original way to become a vampire was that a vampire would kill you, drain all of your blood, and a few days later you’d rise from your grave. Recently in vampire fiction it appears that the victim has to drink the vampire’s blood to become a vampire, usually with the victim first being drained to the point of near-death. AL:VH features the latter style, which seems to me a more recent addition to the mythology. When did that method first come about?

That came in with Stoker. IIRC, the only vampire Dracula “makes” in the novel (not counting his Transylvanian brides, who have been there since God-knows-when) is Lucy, and it is heavily implied that she drinks of his blood. (After weeks of almost dying of anemia, she is suddenly rosy and chipper. Then she dies and comes back.) Dracula explicitly binds Mina to him in this way, and it is also explicit through the book’s denouement that she is gradually changing into a vampire.

Folklorically, this addition is not necessary. In the most well-known “real” vampire flap pre-Dracula, everyone who might have died because of Serbian vampire Arnold Paole was suspected of being a vampire. Vampire epidemics were self-limiting, however. Folkloric vampires (in the South Slavic tradition) were relatively weak, and the point of the vampire hunt was to get rid of all the potentially troubling recent dead, not go after some antediluvian creature who had been preying on the pashalik for centuries.

ETA: I don’t recall how much blood an AL:VH vamp requires, but this is the crux of the book: a slave society provides easy, ostensibly legal sustenance for vampires, and the Confederacy is substantially vampiric in its motives. In this, I have to respectfully disagree with Max Torque: it is actually surprising how FEW historical liberties are taken in the novel. Given the above slave/blood dynamic, as well as how much tragedy Lincoln endured in his life (losing his mother, lover, and three sons at young ages), the vampire angle fits the historical narrative way better than it should.

I took it as a fun popcorn book. One thing i didn’t like, is the persona changing. Like this:

He looked at his friend.

I thought to myself, what a maroon!

In this case “he” and “I” both referring to the same person, as if we suddenly zoomed into his body. Once or twice would have been OK, but it was constant.

Beyond that, though, I enjoyed it, though there were some unanswered questions at the end.

The star of it, Benjamin Walker, was profiled in the NY Times Sunday Magazine. He was the star on Broadway of a show that he got good reviews in called Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. And he was originally cast as The Beast in the latest X-Men movie but pulled out to be on Broadway.

And he’s married to Meryl Streep’s daughter, actress Mamie Gummer.

So for a guy in a movie about an axe-wielding Honest Abe, you could say he’s got…chops.