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Book Review: The Vampires of Mars by Gustave LeRouge

July 29, 2019

 

I’ve been reading The Vampires of Mars by Gustave LeRouge, translated from French by Brian Stableford. Originally published in 1908, this is an interesting mashup of science fiction and vampire lore. Written in an older style and with gothic novel themes, it’s not for everyone. But for those who like classics, I recommend it.

 

Why am I reading it? I needed some background on vampire lore for my current project, and since my story’s about vampire goddesses in space, when I came across this book, I thought I’d hit the motherlode. While it’s not enlightening regarding lore, it’s a fantastic documentation of one person’s vast imagination about what life off Earth might be like.

 

I haven’t finished the book but decided to review it anyways. Usually, exceptional books make me slow my reading pace, so I can internalize what’s said and implied. This one has me savoring every page. Not only does LeRouge masterfully paint his vision of life on Mars, but each time he delves into something different, whether trees, swamps, or fish, I can’t help but think how far we’ve come over the past hundred-plus years to understand the desolation of Mars instead of the lush, human-supporting world in the story.

 

In other words, I have to take it slow to erase what I know about Mars in order to enjoy what LeRouge writes. And when I do get immersed, it’s a wonderful journey. I’m only about a third into the book, but from what I’ve read so far, I highly recommend it to lovers of classics, gothic novels, and pre-modern science fiction.

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