Wow, it's been a really long time since I wrote on the blog. Bad Bryan!
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has several things going for it:
- It's a quick read, with (unsurprisingly) lots of action!
- The decision to suspend your disbelief is not complicated here: you either accept the basic premise or (and I'm sure this is common) you just don't bother with the book.
- Grahame-Smith actually turns out to be much more interested in Abraham Lincoln than he is in Vampires
- And, perhaps most importantly, the premise is actually quite an interesting metaphor.
It's that last point that is surely arguable, and I'll concede it is not to be taken too seriously. The two hundred and fifty years or so during which North America experienced the horrors of human slavery are surely among the most evil period of modern human history, and anything which deflects from that evilness can be criticized and rightly so.
On the other hand, it is all too easy for modern Americans in their easy chairs to look away from that time, close their eyes, and try to avoid thinking about it entirely. For how can we easily come to grips with the sheer monstrosity; it is so dreadful that we cannot even bear to contemplate it, and yet, undeniably, Abraham Lincoln did contemplate it, and did come to grips with it, and did do something about it, and did pay for that with his own life.
It's a story worth telling, and if Grahame-Smith's bizarre mash-up of history and horror novel manages to provoke even some people to stop and consider and imagine what it must have been like in those times, and how hard it must have been to completely re-shape the country into a totally different result, I'm willing to grant him considerable latitude in trying to take steps in that direction.