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Dracula Unbound by Brian Wilson Aldiss

Dracula Unbound (1991)

by Brian Wilson Aldiss

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Brian W. Aldiss is known as one of the greats of Science Fiction. He has published many stories and books, and is still active. Whenever I come across one of his works while thrift-shopping, I pick it up. I have 22 works by now, and have read only three, of which only one was one hundred percent science fiction. The other two, this one and Frankenstein Unbound, are a mix of science fiction (time travel mostly) and classic horror.
It is the future (1999, but still) where one inventor/entrepreneur, Joe Bodenland, has developed a machine that can keep a thing (like toxic waste) at one certain point in time, making it effectively disappear. He is also involved with archaeological research, and because of that he is called when one archaeologist finds a casket with a human body below the K-T boundary (so more than 65 million years old). While looking into this the team gathered at the site get the feeling one night that a train is coming out of nowhere and travels over them at high-speed. Of course Bodenland must investigate, and thus he enters the Time Train that travels through time while carrying "The Fleet Ones", vampires. He ends up in the nineteenth century, picks up Bram Stoker and his gardener, and together they must fight to save humanity from near extinction and servitude in the future by killing the vampires (led by Lord Dracula himself, of course) in the far past.
Like 'Frankenstein Unbound' the book was a bit chaotic, another 300 pages and more time to work out the ideas in this book (time travel, vampires as an evolved species, humankind in the future) would make it so great. As it is now, the ideas are original, the action is pretty good, and the conclusion was good. Still, three out of five stars. ( )
  divinenanny | Feb 5, 2014 |
What a disappointment! I was really looking forward to reading my first Brian Aldiss - one of the 'masters' of science fiction - book. It sucked!

The characters and dialogue was flat and annoying. The imagery, with possibly the exception of the first description of the time train and the torture of Alwyn, below par for a school essay by a twelve year old. The science highly contrived. The time travel paradoxes were what you might expect from a 1950's pulp SF novel.

I doubt that I would ever read another Brian Aldiss novel, and am flabbergasted that my favourite author, Gene Wolfe lists him as a favourite, ( )
  chvdwalt | Nov 11, 2010 |
When two coffins are found below the K/T line aging them to 65 million years in the past Joe Bodenland gets involved. Add in a time machine, vampires, Count Dracula, and Bram Stoker as a character and you have got the workings over a clever and exciting novel.

I really enjoyed this story. Brian Aldiss is a master at blending science and fantasy into an epic tale through 65 million years of history. First book of his I have read but will definetely be looking for more. Perhaps the previous Frankenstein Unbound. ( )
  LouCypher | Sep 16, 2009 |
How does one describe a novel that combines time travel, hazardous waste disposal, alternate theories of evolution, Bram Stoker, ghosts and vampires? I don't know, either. But that, in a nutshell, is this book. ( )
  avanta7 | Apr 24, 2009 |
Normally I enjoy books about a) vampires, b) time travel and c)time travel paradox. But I have to say that I did not enjoy this one very much until a few pages just before the end when it seemed like the author got his act back together and got on track. I said to my husband that this is probably one of the worst books I've ever read, and yet I felt compelled to finish it. Why? No clue.

here's a brief look, no spoilers:
According to this book, vampires (which are definitely real here) are the evolutionary descendants of very simplistic carrion-eater life forms. Events (which I won't go into here, it would spoil the story for anyone who wants to read it), help further the evolution of the vampires along through millenia. I could actually totally have lived with that notion (fresh premise, actually; always looking for that) except that it took FOREVER through all of the winding around plot wise for us to get there. Aldiss sets his story first in the desert of Texas, where an archaeological dig reveals 2 rather human skeletons which are found below the K-T boundary, meaning that they seemingly co-existed with the dinosaurs. That was a rocking discovery indeed. As the group of main characters are pondering this, they witness a mysterious phenomenon of light in the desert sky, and attempt to capture it. This is when all of the "fun" begins.

I will say that this novel involves time travel, and one of the joys of reading this (perhaps the only one) was that the author placed Bram Stoker in the novel -- those parts were really good and made the book much more palatable.

My advice: unless you're a true, die-hard fan of stories about vampires flying through space and time on ghost trains, skip it. ( )
1 vote bcquinnsmom | Sep 6, 2007 |
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Nicht sein kann, was nicht sein darf
FOR FRANK who was sitting at our dining table when the spectre arose
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Gondwana Ranch Texas 75042 USA 18 August 1999
Dearest Mina,
Soon we'll be living in a new century.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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