Thursday, April 19, 2012
100 Books #31 - Matt Forbeck's CARPATHIA
Carpathia contains one low-hanging fruit of an idea: take the name of the ship that rescued many of the survivors of the sinking of the Titanic, which is also the name of some mountains in Romania/Transylvania, which is where Dracula is from, and boom: instant vampire classic on the high seas! It sounds like something my friends and I would come up with over too many Guinnesses screaming "oh my god, it practically writes itself!"
Low-hanging fruit isn't delicious until someone actually harvests and serves it, though: the difference between us sitting in a pub laughing our heads off and screaming that something writes itself and someone actually taking the time and effort to research and write the thing, though, that's where Matt Forbeck comes in, mostly brilliantly, though it's a shame that the sober light of day prompted him (or someone close to him) to insist on a) beating (or would that be biting?) the dead horse of the Dracula connection a bit by including "descendents" of characters from Bram Stoker's novel as Titanic passengers and b) making their love triangle way more of a focus than the fun and frightening, clausterphobic fun to be had with vampires stalking prey through the cramped confines of a boat on the high seas, where there is no escape for anyone. Which is what people who want to read stuff like Carpathia (yo!), really want to read.
But hey, at least the vamps don't sparkle. Far from it. Despite the flaws I complained of in the last paragraph, there is still lots of fun to be had watching them go after the doubly-doomed Titanic survivors, starting with the slapstick awesomeness of vamps in the water attacking from below like so many sentient sharks. I could have read a whole novel just about that, I think.
Fortunately, once past the sagging love triangle-y middle, the story built to a pretty entertaining climax in the First Class dining room of the ship that begs to be turned into a major motion picture.* I would cheer for the vampires, of course.
*Maybe for the sesquicentennial of the Titanic disaster?