August 13th, 2012

Dead Dog Cat

Essay for F&SF about Dracula

It is my contention that in the novel Dracula, the Count is the emblem for foreign influences on English mores that are driven back by a coalition of the island's nobility, gentry and professional men, supported by American arms, and Western European knowlege, shown by Quincy Morris, the cowboy, and Abraham Van Helsing, the professor. Stoker describes the filth and depravity of Eastern European folks, brought to England by Gypsies and supported by them, debasing and ruining fine British womanhood and changing them to emulate himself. Without the strengthening of their will by the intervention of Van Helsing, and their fighting prowess by the Winchester-armed American, the Englishmen were disarmed and weepy. In the end, though, the British Empire triumphs over the evil of the East, while the Western Hemisphere is slain in support of the Mother Country.

The novel was published in 1897, when Queen Victoria reigned, and as the British Empire was reaching its zenith on the world's stage. The Count's effect on the English in the novel would be especially frightening when it appeared that the power of the United Kingdom was unassailable at sea or on land. His eerie powers, and his disgusting habits would sicken and thrill the readers of the time. Even then, though, before the events of the First World War, it was clearly apparent to the intelligentsia that the British would need the aid of the Americans were they to get involved in fighting on the European continent to be able to succeed. All non-English but Professor Van Helsing and Mr. Morris were described in disparaging terms, suggesting the prevailing views amongst the subjects of the Empire of their relative value as allies.
Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

Yesterday wasn't relaxing, but it was fun!

We got on the road before 10AM, but it was already unbearably hot in our area. We'd agreed to go to a part of the Greater Los Angeles Area that would be cooler, but going to the beach (any beach) wasn't in the cards. We knew how bad parking would be.

So, we decided to try out a place that we knew existed, but hadn't seen yet: Mysterious Galaxy independent bookstore. The original store is in San Diego, and we've been there occasionally, but this last year or a bit less, they've opened another one in Redondo Beach. So, a pilgrimage was made. Books were purchased (especially, in my case, books that in the past I would have found in a trice at Borders, but B&N will only special order), and we had a nice time there. We even found bookplates signed by David Brin for free! There's an attached snack place, and we hydrated there, as well.

We then contacted Chaim and Suzanne, drove up to their place, and went out for a late lunch to Factor's, which I'd never tried before. We chatted, ate, and then took a drive with them over to Surfas, where we got a few items for the kitchen. Nice time all around.

En route home I got a panicked call from my mother. Apparently, a tornado touched down in Perris, but she only heard that it was near I-15, and she thought it was close to our home. I reassured her, and we got home safely.

After a nap (when I should have been reading Dracula, but clearly my brain was avoiding homework), I put on the Closing Ceremonies for the London Olympics. I admit to being an Olympic junkie, but I also admit that I'm replete for the time being. I can wait two years for the Winter Games in Russia.
Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

I've been pushing to finish Dracula for a Coursera class (which I still didn't enjoy, just like when I read it in high school), and did so last night, and then felt relaxed enough to read Osprey Weapon #6: Sniper Rifles, which was somewhat more technical than enjoyable.

I need to start/read Frankenstein next for the F&SF class, but I think that I'll really aggressively get into that tomorrow. More fun reading FTW!