Down in the Tunnels, Tryin’a Make it Pay

Some years back (about 6 I think?) I spent a fair bit of time putting together a map of the post-apocalyptic Moscow Metro system of Dmitry Glukhovsky’s Metro 2033 series. While this was received pretty well by both the cartographic and Metro communities I was never 100% happy with it – in particular the way it echoed the inaccurate depiction of interchanges from the official map – and I always intended to go back and revise it.

So now I have.

After many hours of studying Moscow’s geography and trawling my way through the Russian Metro wikia (with the assistance of Google Translate) I have redrafted and updated my map to produce what is undoubtedly (by which I mean ‘doubtedly’) the best English map of the Metro ever produced!

A miracle of rare device! A sunny pleasure dome with caves… wait, that’s not even CLOSE to accurate…
Seize-Seize the means of production! Yes-Yes!

As is my wont I’ve included some information from the expanded “Universe of Metro 2033” books by other authors, despite some of them being a bit silly (I’m still not quite over there being Skaven on the Serpukhovsko–Timiryazevskaya line). I’ve also used some content from the Metro computer game series, which is based on the books but takes a number of serious liberties with them (any version of Metro 2033 where Artyom doesn’t spend a week being forced to shovel human waste out of toilet pits simply isn’t Metro 2033!).

My next insane project is a redraft of the regional Moscow map I found on the Russian wiki, which is highly deficient in various areas. I will take some time off first however – at least until I stop waking up in the morning with the names metro stations echoing in my head (ТеатральнаяТеатральнаяТеатральная…)

Servo Skulls for a Crown Additional

I’ve formatted up my 40k rules for Saint Sabbat, and included an option to give her a retinue of Servo Skulls, as she had on Herodor. All still completely untested and probably badly overpowered. Enjoy!

The Saint

I’ve been thinking about how to field Saint Sabbat in a game of Warhammer 40,000.

Saint Sabbat. I can’t seem to find the name of the artist, but official GW art and hence copyright to them.

The obvious place to start is with the only Living Saint that actually has rules – Saint Celestine. I figure Sabbat should have the same statline as Celestine, with the exception of her movement, because while the Beati is undoubtedly awesome, the God Emperor declined to give her wings.

(It would have been highly thematic to give her 9 Wounds, but that’s just short of a Chimera APC, which seems a bit over the top)

MWSBSSTWALdSv
6″2+2+336692+

With stats sorted out the next step is wargear. Celestine wields the Ardent Blade – the handy-dandy, flame-throwing, power sword from hell, man! While very cool, this is a one of a kind weapon, and there is sadly a complete dearth of accounts of Saint Sabbat incinerating people with a sword thrust. So I decided to give her a knockoff Ardent Blade clone without the ranged attack.

Now a Saint cannot live by swords alone, so what else could Sabbat wield? Her description in Sabbat Martyr notes that her left hand is adorned with a gilded glove with eagle claws. This could simply be some Saintly bling, but I decided to do something with it. I have declared that the Eagle’s Talon gives anyone the Saint whacks with it a nice debuff, making it easier for everyone else to get stuck in.

Finally, what’s a Saint without ranged firepower? In Anarch she’s seen to be carrying a fancy golden autopistol, so let’s throw one of those in as an alternative for the Eagle’s Talon.

WEAPONRANGETYPESAPD
Power SwordMeleeMelee+4-32
Eagle’s TalonMeleeMelee+1-2*
* Target is at -1 Toughness until the end of the Battle Round
Master Crafted Autopistol12″Pistol 2301

Now we get to the fun bit, special rules!

I’m thinking that as Saint Celestine is a Saint for the Adepta Sororitas, Saint Sabbat should be a Saint for the Astra Militarum. So we’ll start by giving her the ability to inspire/boss around nearby infantry with Voice of Command. We’ll then nick Aura of Discipline from the great Commissar Yarrick, although we’ll call it Aura of Inspiration instead.

Checking back in with Celestine we’ll borrow The Armour of Saint Katherine, file off the serial numbers and call it Aquilan Aura, to represent that cool, glowing green eagle thing that shows up whenever Sabbat gets pissed off (see pic above).

Celestine also has that nice Shield of Faith ability. The 6+ Invulnerability Save is a bit much, but slapping down enemy Psykers is totally in character, so we’ll chop the save off it and call it No Miracles, Only Men (you know, since that’s a direct quote).

Finally we need something unique, an ability that only Saint Sabbat has access to. I can think of nothing better than giving her an Honour Guard. At the start of the battle a player fielding Saint Sabbat can designate a friendly unit with the INFANTRY and ASTRA MILITARUM keywords. As long as Saint Sabbat remains on the field that unit has +1 Toughness.

With that sorted the only thing left to do is set keywords and costs. Saint Sabbat’s Faction Keywords are IMPERIUM, ASTRA MILITARUM and <REGIMENT>, and her general Keywords are CHARACTER, INFANTRY, OFFICER and SAINT SABBAT. Her POWER level is 8 and points cost 150 – both estimates based on Saint Celestine

So, there we go. Completely untested and probably overpowered, but what the hey!

Saint Sabbat 40k Rules

Return to Brichester

I have finally got around to finalising the updated version of my Campbell Country map that’s been sitting on my desktop for months.

The changes are pretty minor – basically just tweaks to fix a few discrepancies uncovered by a re-read of the source material. Brichester for instance only has one train station, located in Lower Brichester, Temphill is surrounded by woods, and there’s actually a road running out to the Devil’s Steps. There are also some carvings in the woods near Castle Morley – I think that’s it.

Anyway, here ’tis!

For info on my cartographic process see Brichester and Parts Beyond.

EDIT: And of course – the universe being perhaps not quite as bleak and hostile as Lovecraft thought but still a thorough pain the posterior – no sooner do I publish this updated map than I discover more geographic detail. “Brichester Lake”, the favoured abode of Gla’aki, should actually be named “Deepfall Waters”.

I discovered this fact courtesy of Justin Alexander over at The Alexandrian, who has come up with a fantastic solution to the limited geography of the Vale of Berkely that simply never occurred to me despite the puzzle pieces lying in plain sight.

Meanwhile on Vogsphere

Ah! Rugose, flaccid nose-hole of the ruffled temple zone,
Your googly funnel-bunny gnaws a constipating bone,
The flow of curdled fennel burbles freely ‘twixt my toes,
Like humming lemon lemmings plinking furgled fertile rows,
Give over to me all your wingèd tokens priss-pristine,
Lest I dislocate your gruntle sack you disgusting pervert,

Brichester and Parts Beyond

Update! A newer version of my Campbell Country map can be accessed here…

In early 1960’s Liverpool – a city still suffering the scars of the determined Luftwaffe bombardment of twenty years earlier – a teenage boy purchased a short story collection titled Cry Horror! from a sweet shop that also did a line in second hand books. The book was a re-titled print of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Lurking Fear and Other Stories, and the boy was a young Ramsey Campbell who would go on to become one of Britain’s greatest horror authors.

Totally infatuated with Lovecraft’s work, the young Campbell whipped off a series of pastiches set in H. P.’s fictional New England towns of Arkham, Kingsport and Dunwich. Then – in a remarkable act of self confidence – he sent them off to August Derleth, Lovecraft’s literary executor and publisher.

One would expect Derleth to have thrown these efforts straight into the bin, but apparently he saw something in them. He wrote back to Campbell telling him “in no uncertain terms” how to improve his writing, including advice to stop trying to imitate Lovecraft’s style, and to stop trying to set his tales in America. Campbell took this advice on board and shortly afterwards Derleth published one of his rewritten tales – with a revised title and some other editorial amendments – in a short story collection, and a few years later published an entire book of his stories – The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants.

Over the next few years Campbell continued writing Lovecraft inspired works, gradually developing his own voice and style. In the process he created his own version of Lovecraft’s New England, a fictionalised version of Gloucestershire’s Severn Valley sometimes referred to as ‘Campbell Country’.

The locales of Campbell Country and Lovecraft Country can be roughly matched. The university town of Brichester maps to Arkham. Temphill is Kingsport – despite the former’s inland location. Goatswood is an English version of Dunwich. Of course as Campbell continued his writing his versions moved further away from the originals.

So, why am I writing about all this? It comes down – as it usually does with me – to cartography.

The Inhabitant of the Lake contained a map of Campbell Country, as did the 1995 tribute anthology Made in Goatswood. But both of them were sketch maps at best. The problem of developing a more detailed map of the Severn Valley has vexed me ever since I discovered Campbell’s oeuvre in the 1990s, and a few years back I decided to finally do something about it.

Map from "The Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Less Welcome Tenants" 1964
Map from “The Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Less Welcome Tenants” 1964

Map From "Made in Goatswood" 1995
Map From “Made in Goatswood” 1995

The primary problem with Campbell country is that there’s actually no room for it! It lies between the lower Severn River and the Cotswold hills – an area about 15 kilometres across. Brichester – a city easily the size of Swindon – would take up most of that space, leaving nowhere for the various desolate plains and creepy, isolated villages of Campbell’s stories. The map from Made in Goatswood even tries to fit the whole region in between the river and the M5 motorway, an area 6 kilometres across at the very widest!

On top of this, the Vale of Berkeley (as the region is properly known, the term ‘Severn Valley’ usually applying to areas north of Gloucester) is full of villages and urban developments, leaving ever less room for ominous woods and alien monuments.

So, I made two decisions. Firstly I would ignore matters of scale, and secondly I would free up space by replace existing locations with Campbellian ones.

So I got to work. But then (as so often happens) I got distracted. But then a few months back I found the files and decided to get back onto it.

In my revised geography Purton becomes Severnford with Old Severnford on the opposite side of the river. Claypits become the decaying hamlet of Clotton – it’s in the right place and I couldn’t resist the alliteration. The real world town of Cam is shrunk down to provide room for Camside. Ulley is converted to the sinister Goatswood and its valley filled with forest. Nympsfield becomes Temphill. The area around Haresfield (appropriate!) is depopulated and Warrendown plumped in the middle. Brichester Lake (and its inhabitant), the Devil’s Steps and Castle Morley are placed appropriately, and finally the city of Brichester is placed on the intersection of the railway and the A38 (which looks like this in reality). A few roads are moved, a few rivers redirected, and we’re done!

So here is my map of Campbell Country. I’ve no doubt made some mistakes and some incorrect assumptions, but overall I’m pretty happy with it.

Iä Gla’aki! Iä Iä Y’golonac!

Brichester and the Severn Valley
Brichester and the Severn Valley

The Strange Case of Randolph Peterson

Recently my local pizzeria – a place I buy far too many dinners from – underwent a major renovation. As part of this they got rid of the plastic outdoor furniture that was doing service as a place to wait for one’s order and installed a couple of luxurious dining booths, upholstered in funky vinyl decorated with a pattern of reproduced newspaper articles and Cuban postage stamps (yes, you read that right – Cuban postage stamps).

One of these articles has been catching my eye each time I’ve visited, and I here reproduce what parts of it are visible beneath other articles and stamps commemorating Columbus’s voyage to the new world…

MYSTERIOUS DISPARITION [sic]

Randolph Peterson, citizen of Boston that was living at the 138 Lane Street, is said disapeared [sic] since November 18. Randolph Peterson lived in Boston during his young times. At the age of 12 he contracted a strange and very severe illness that grag [sic] him in the coma for one full year. At the age of 13 he waked [sic] up from his coma, the illness was miraculously gone but he suffered of amnesia and had difficulty to readapt [sic] himself to a normal life. This ilness [sic] also left […] Some years ago he went to Africa to pursue some studies on pagan cults and living habits in some Afri- […]of still […] he […]u  ive[…] an inspect […] up soon to atr[…] him by the local authorities. If you have any information about where Randol-

What initially attracted my notice to this rather fragmentary account was the combination of extremely Lovecraftian elements, to wit a strange disappearance, New England, the name ‘Randolph’, a mysterious illness, amnesia and pagan cults. It almost read like a retread of The Shadow Out of Time! So I hurried home (once I had my pizza and garlic bread) and started Googling, confident that I would soon uncover whatever piece of sub-Derleth fan fiction the article derived from…

But… nothing….

I have been entirely unable to find any instance of Randolph Peterson and his mysterious vanishing anywhere online.

So, where did it come from?

Assuming that it wasn’t thrown together by some graphic designer on a Cthulhu binge I rather suspect that it may be a genuine article collected from an African newspaper. The rest of the articles used on the pattern appear genuine, and although I’m no linguist the slightly eccentric English has – to me – a distinctly African feeling to it, constructions such as “readapt himself” and “suffered of amnesia” . Randolph Peterson does not appear to exist anywhere on the internet, so I imagine it’s a fairly old article, even though some of the others appear quite recent (one concerns online music teaching).

So there the mystery must rest. Was Randolph Peterson ever real, and if so, what happened to him?

We may never know.

On Oil Guzzling Spiders

Sometimes while wandering the lanes and byways of the internet one comes across information too fascinating to be ignored – even if it is of dubious immediate utility.

For instance, consider this extract from Volume 88 of the Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany (1821)

The sexton of the church of St Eustace, at Paris, amazed to find frequently a particular lamp extinct early, and yet the oil consumed only, sat up several nights to perceive the cause. At length he detected that a spider of surprising size came down the cord to drink the oil. A still more extraordinary instance of the same kind occurred during the year 1751, in the Cathedral of Milan. A vast spider was observed there, which fed on the oil of the lamps. M. Morland, of the Academy of Sciences, has described this spider, and furnished a drawing of it. It weighed four pounds, and was sent to the Emperor of Austria, and is now in the Imperial Museum at Vienna.

What, I ask, is to be done about that?

Kim Newman’s Vampire Romance – Annotations

Update: Thank you Mr Newman for taking an interest in this project, and supplying a few tips! I am not worthy! ;D

One of my favourite things about Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series is reading the annotations – both those Mr Newman provides himself, and the ones various people have put together online.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any annotations for the highly entertaining novella Vampire Romance. So I figured, why not produce some myself?

Now, when it comes to scholarship I am a dilettante at best. I’m not going to be searching through dusty tomes to track down every single reference. I shall instead mostly be throwing names and terms at Professor Google and seeing what comes back. And I’m not going to be spending huge slabs of time – I’ll just do a chapter here and there. It’s a long (or at least prolonged) project to which I shall be making occasional updates. So don’t expect the whole thing to be complete any time soon! But do check back now and then.

So without any further ado, here we go…

Chapter 1: Genevieve Bobs Her Hair

The chapter title is take from Bernice Bobs Her Hair, a 1920 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Genevieve is of course Mr Newman’s original vampire character  Geneviève Dieudonné – specifically Geneviève Sandrine d’Isle Dieudonné, as opposed to her other versions (or “trans-continual cousins”) from Newman’s other series.

…Her appointment at M. Eugene was for just after sunset…

M Eugene is Eugene Suter, a Swiss immigrant who along with Isidoro Calvete popularised the perm in post WWI London.

…The salon was Cox and Box…

“Cox and Box”, meaning “to take turns” derives from a comedic play Box and Cox – A Romance of Real Life in One Act by John Maddison Morton, first produced in 1847. It concerns two boarders unknowingly sharing a room, one during the day and one at night and the chaos that ensues when they discover each other. It was adapted into a comic opera Cox and Box by F. C. Burnand and Arthur Sullivan in 1866.

…the pre-broken ‘Transylvanian’ crenelations of Tower Bridge…

Tower Bridge was constructed between 1886 and 1894 in a Victorian Gothic style. Prince Consort Dracula obviously had more influence on its design – and perhaps sped up the construction – in the AD universe.

…the ugly bat frescoes of the Sir Francis Varney Memorial…

Sir Francis Varney (from Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood, published as a serial between 1845 and 1847) was Governor of India under Dracula and came to a rather nasty end during the Prince Consort’s overthrow. The timeline doesn’t work out, but I can’t help but wonder if the Varney Memorial takes the place of our universe’s Albert Memorial.

…She loitered over a thimble of mouse-blood in the Maison Lyons on Shaftsbury Avenue…

J. Lyons and Co. was a restaurant, hotel and food manufacturing company founded in 1884 and eventually shutting down in 1981. In addition to a chain of tea shops they ran a number of more upmarket art deco ‘corner houses’ including the Maison Lyonses at Marble Arch and on Shaftsbury Avenue.

…Now, it was cocktails at the Criterion and a rag at the Troc…

The Criterion is the Criterion Restaurant at Picadilly Circus. The “Troc” is the Trocadero, another restaurant operated by J. Lyons and Co.

…the warm English comedian was ‘the Little Vamp’…

Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Little Vamp’ character is of course our universe’s ‘Little Tramp’.

…In the two-reeler One P.M

One P.M. replaces One A.M. a 1916 comedy in which Chaplin depicts a drunk encountering various mishaps stumbling his way to bed (and eventually falling asleep in the bath!).

…posters advertising Oxo concentrated blood cubes, ‘Nutrax for Nerves’ and NetherBeast gramaphones…

Oxo cubes are concentrated beef stock, first produced in 1910 and still available today. Nutrax is a nerve tonic that features in the Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey mystery novel Murder Must Advertise. NetherBeast is a reference to the 2007 office comedy movie Netherbeast Incorporated, which is based around a telephone company staffed by the undead.

…Kink-limbed and -backed stick-figure men followed a leader…

The Crook’s cypher would appear to be a reference to the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Dancing Men. As Holmes exists in the AD universe it is not out of the question that the Crook was inspired to create his cypher by the one in Holmes’s case (or vice-versa given the Crook’s extended history).

…even scientific thinkers like Edmond Cordery…

Edmund Cordery is from The Empire of Fear by Brian Stableford. He researches the scientific causes of vampirism in an alternate 17th century ruled by vampires (it does not end well for him).

…Max Planck’s Black Blood Refractive Postulate of 1902…

In our universe physicist Max Planck investigated black body radiation. In the AD universe his research was obviously a bit more esoteric.

…straightening curls with terrifying Heath Robinson contraptions…

William Heath Robinson (1872-1944) was an English cartoonist who became famous for illustrations of elaborate and ridiculous contraptions – similar to the American Rube Goldberg. He is mentioned as designing armaments for the British in The Bloody Red Baron – presumably he did his cartoons on the side.

…The warm blonde girl – Miss Bunting, according to her nametag…

Miss Bunting is Daisy Bunting, played by June Tripp in the 1927 silent Alfred Hitchcock film The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog. The movie (and the novel it is based on) are centered on the hunt for a Jack the Ripper style serial killer.

…back numbers of  The Tatler somewhat surprisingly piled in Charles Beauregard’s Chelsea house…

The Tatler is a magazine focusing on high society and politics first published in 1901. Charles Beauregard is of course Mr Newman’s original character who features in many of the Anno Dracula and Diogenes Club stories.

…recognised the daughter of the millionaire Percy Browne…

Percy Browne should not be confused with British politician of that name who was born in 1923 and would hence would be a few months old at best at the time of the story. He is instead the millionaire father of Polly Browne from the 1954 musical The Boy Friend. Polly was portrayed by the model Twiggy in the 1971 movie adaption.

…She’d personally battened on half the young the young bloods in the Drones…

The Drones can be presumed to be the Drones Club from the works of P. G. Wodehouse – the first of many Wodehouse references in this story.

…Ivor Novello was carrying on with the drag artiste Handel Fane…

Ivor Novello (1893-1951) was a Welsh composer and actor and one of the most popular British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century. In a nice touch he stared as the title character in the already mentioned Hitchcock film The Lodger. Handel Fane (played by Esme Percy) is the cross dressing actor and killer in the 1930 Hitchcock film Murder!

…the organist Anton Phibes…

Anton Phibes is the title character – portrayed by the great Vincent Price – from the 1971 horror comedy film The Abominable Doctor Phibes. In the movie he is believed to have died in a car crash in 1921 but secretly survived with horrific injuries. Perhaps in the AD universe he overcame these by turning?

…a skirmish with Countess Verdel…

Countess Verdel (AKA ‘Ejacula’) was portrayed by Patricia Kennedy in the porn films Ejacula, la vampira and Ejacula 2, both from 1992 (thanks Mr Newman!).

…reading the latest number of British Pluck

I can’t find anything specific for British Pluck either, although a collection of articles from The Boys Own Paper titled The Best of British Pluck was published in 1977 – perhaps suggesting that’s the name of the publication in the AD universe.

…Next up was a floppy haired male dandy…

I strongly suspect that this is Dorian Grey. Oscar Wilde of course appears in Anno Dracula, but Grey is too good a character to leave out on that kind of technicality!

…Bywaters had gone to the gallows… …Thompson was hanged too…

Frederick Bywaters and Edith Thompson were executed in January 1923 for the murder of Thompson’s husband Percy. They had been having an affair and exchanged letters in which Edith encouraged Bywaters to “so something desperate” to free her from Percy. Despite Thompson carrying out the deed by himself – and a petition for mercy signed by almost a million people – they were both convicted and hanged.

…The dreadful Dr Sheppard, guilty of the Ackroyd murder...

Dr Sheppard is from Agatha Christie’s third Hercule Poirot novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, published in 1926.

…Caroline Reboux must do a roaring trade…

Caroline Reboux (1837-1927), the “Queen of the Milliners” was a French milliner and fashion designer.

…figure-flattening Eulalie Soeurs slips…

Eulalie Soeurs is the name of the lingerie shop owned by would be fascist dictator Roderick Spode in P. G. Wodehouse’s works. There will be more about him later.

…Garrard & Co. carried strings of all-black pearls…

Garrad & Co. are a famous London jewellery manufacturer founded in 1735.

…He stood near the door, waiting for her…

The man by the door is Edwin Winthrop, another of Mr Newman’s recurrent characters. He first appeared and is a major character in The Bloody Red Baron.

That’s it for Chapter 1!

Chapter 2: Mildew Manor

I am unable to find a specific reference for Mildew Manor, although it seems a somewhat common phrase on certain hotel review websites.

…bloody Aunt Agatha…

Aunt Agatha is Agatha Gregson, Bertie Wooster’s fearsome and least favourite aunt in P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster stories. Bertie claims that she “kills rats with her teeth” and “is strongly suspected of turning into a werewolf at the time of the full moon”. In the AD universe either or both may be literally true!

…to vampire eyes, human veins throbbing red and blue in the moonlight…

If it wasn’t for the fact that the movie came out two years after the publication of Vampire Romance I’d suspect this description of vampiric sight was taken from the rather dull 2014 movie Dracula Untold.

…She’d heard that from Cousin Bertie…

Bertie Wooster himself, requiring ‘someone’ to take him firmly in hand.

…Miss Carlotta Francis, éditrice of The Dark Flame

Carlotta Francis is taken from an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. She wrote a series of vampire novels (featuring a ‘Lord Fantomas’) in the 1950s before committing suicide. There seems to be a remarkable level of interest in her online with people searching for her (entirely fictional) books.

…Rudolf Valentino as Magnus in The Count, the film of the famous novel by Elinor Glyn…

Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926) was one of the first movie idols, who was already a sensation before his untimely death at age 31 sent his female fans into hysteria. One of his most popular films was 1921’s The Sheik – based on the novel by Edith Maude Hull – in which he played an imperious Arab who abducts a headstrong white woman (who then naturally falls in love with him). The Count is clearly the AD universe’s version of the film – the plot described is an amalgam of The Sheik and elements from classic vampire and mummy films.

The name ‘Count Magnus’ may be taken from the M. R. James story of the same name, featuring the undead (or something) Swedish Count Magnus de la Gardie. Or it may refer to the vampire lord Count Magnus Lee from the Japanese manga series Vampire Hunter D.

Elinor Glyn (1864 – 1943) was a British novelist and screenwriter who popularised the concept of It (in terms of charisma and sexual magnetism). She wrote a series of romantic novels that scandalised polite society and then moved on to screenplays in 1919. Valentino starred alongside Gloria Swanson in the film version of her novel Beyond the Rocks in 1922.

…Lady Diana, played by the kohl-eyed Norma Desmond…

Norma Desmond is the eccentric/insane washed-up silent movie star portrayed by Gloria Swanson in Billy Wilder’s classic 1950 film Sunset Boulevard. Mr Newman is clearly having a ball with his references here.

…The Dark Flame hinted the Italian actor had turned in secret for the role…

Given the unpredictable effects of vampirism on mirrors and film in the AD universe this would be an incredibly risky move for an actor!

..rat-ears, wolf-fangs, enlarged and almost hairless skulls, talons and long, long faces…

A fine description of Max Schreck as Count Orlok in the 1922 Dracula rip-off Nosferatu. I guess this makes The Count the AD version of The Sheik, On the Rocks, and Nosferatu all at once!

Orlok himself of course appears in Anno Dracula and The Bloody Red Baron.

…and is English-born to boot…

Valentino’s Sheik turns out to be respectably English as well, rather than a nasty foreigner.

…whereas Madame Glyn writes that the Count impatiently tears off her nightie altogether…

The movie version of The Sheik attracted some criticism from fans of the novel for omitting a rape scene.

…the (drippy, if appealingly floppy-haired) violin virtuoso Ralph Levé…

I can’t track down anything regarding this student of Paganini. I have an inkling I’m missing something extremely obvious…

…George Valentin as Rupert of Hentzau in The Vampyres of Zenda

Anthony Hope’s popular 1894 adventure novel The Prisoner of Zenda invented the Mitteleuropean kingdom of Ruritania, from whence hail several characters in the AD universe (including Rupert himself who turns up in Anno Dracula). Versions were filmed in 1913, 1915 and 1922, the latter presumably the version referenced here. One wonders if the AD version of the story is at least semi-historically accurate.

George Valentin is a silent movie start who encounters problems moving to sound in the 2011 film The Artist. Jean Dujardin won the Best Actor award at the 2012 Oscars for the role.

…stiff Lord Godalming (Lewis Stone)…

Lord Godalming is of course from Dracula and one of the major characters in Anno Dracula. Given that he was framed for the Silver Knife/Jack the Ripper murders it seems a bit strange to have him appear as a movie hero – perhaps Sherlock Holmes spread word of his innocence after the events of The Bloody Red Baron?

Lewis Stone (1879-1953) played the title role (Rudolf Rassendyll) in the 1922 version of The Prisoner of Zenda.

…to begin serialising Son of the Count

The Son of the Sheik was the 1925 sequel to The Sheik written by Edith Maude Hull. Presumably Elinor Glyn got her sequel written a bit faster. It was filmed in 1926 with Rudolph Valentino reprising his role, as well as taking on the title character. It was Valentino’s last film – he collapsed and died while on a promotional tour two weeks before its premiere.

…Otterbourne’s Nitelite Saga…

Salome Otterbourne is a romance novelist from Agatha Christie’s 1937 Hercule Poirot novel Death on the Nile. Her saga full of glittering vampires and swooning heroines can only be the AD version of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga (as such it’s a shame Jacqueline de Bellefort didn’t shoot her a couple of decade earlier…).

…Banks’s Mal de Mer mysteries…

Rosie M. Banks is a romance novelist from the Jeeves and Wooster stories of P. G. Wodehouse. Her habit giving characters names like ‘Snookie’ and ‘Lurlene’ suggests her works are the AD version of Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries, (featuring Sookie Stackhouse) which have been adapted into the HBO television series True Blood.

…Vanes’s Vampyrrhic Chronicles

Harriet Vane is a mystery writer and later wife of Lord Peter Wimsey in the works of Dorothy L. Sayers. Her books written from the vampire’s point of view and full of long lectures on ancient history and Roman Catholicism must be Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. One wonders if Lestat de Lioncourt – who has a cameo in Anno Dracula – features.

…Bram Stoker’s what-might-have-been novel…

Dracula of course!

…articles by Dione Fortune or Luna Bartendale…

Dione Fortune (1890-1946) was one of the most significant and influential occultists of the 20th century. She wrote a vast number of articles and books on occult and magical themes, and several occult novels.

Luna Bartendale is an occult detective created by Jessie Douglas Kerruish. She appeared in 1936’s The Undying Monster where she displays a number of psychic powers.

And that’s chapter 2!

Chapter 3: ‘Tell Tom Tildrum that Tim Toldrum’s Dead…’

The chapter title is from the traditional English folk tale The King of the Cats. In the story – first recorded in 1553 – a traveler hears a mysterious voice say “Tell Tom Tildrum that Tim Toldrum’s Dead”. On arrival at his destination he recounts this to his hosts, at which point their cat leaps up, says “Then I am King of the Cats!”, and vanishes up the chimney never to be seen again.

…’Sergeant Dravot,’ she acknowledged…

Sergeant Daniel Dravot is from Rudyard Kipling’s 1888 short story The Man Who Would be King. In the tale he and an associate carve out a small kingdom in remote Afghanistan by posing as gods, but their scheme is undone when Dravot is bitten by a local girl, revealing through his bleeding that he is merely a man. He is executed by being thrown into a gorge (it is tempting to suspect that in the AD universe the girl was a vampire, and Dravot  revived as one of the undead after making the plunge).

Dravot was portrayed by Sean Connery in the 1975 movie of the story.

As an employee of the Diogenes Club Dravot has a recurring role in AD works.

…How long had the Diogenes Club been keeping this eye on her?…

The Diogenes Club was introduced by Arthur Conan Doyle in the 1893 Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter. In the Holmes stories it is merely a (somewhat unusual) gentleman’s club, however many writers have re-interpreted it as a front for British Intelligence due to its connections with Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft.

In addition to including the club in the Anno Dracula universe Mr Newman has written a series of other works focusing on it, featuring alternative versions of many AD characters.

…But also Katharine Reed…

Journalist Katherine Reed was created by Bram Stoker for Dracula, but later cut. Mr Newman resurrected her in Anno Dracula and she has featured in his AD works ever since.

…Jennifer Chevalier… Grace Ki, the Ghost Lantern Girl… Lady Jane Ainsley…

I have not had much luck tracking down Jennifer Chevalier – it’s apparently a very common name in the real world! A Jennifer Knight appears in the 1980s classic Knight Rider but this could simply be coincidence.

Grace Ki, the Ghost Lantern Girl appears to be Mr Newman original and is mentioned as a former student in The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange.

Lady Jane Ainsley is portrayed by Frieda Inescort in 1943’s The Return of the Vampire – an unofficial Dracula sequel starring Bela Lugosi as Armand Tesla (who shows up elsewhere in the AD universe). The first part of the film is set around 1920 and sees Lady Jane defeat Tesla – presumably this incident bought her to the attention of the Diogenes Club.

…If Harold Lloyd does it they give him the key to the city…

Harold Clayton Lloyd, Sr. (1893-1971) was a famous comedy actor and stunt performer. He is best remembered today for the iconic clock dangling scene in 1923’s Safety Last! Genevieve’s comment may simply be referencing the movie, but it’s equally possible that in the AD universe Lloyd climbed buildings in real life rather than just on film.

…my friend Catriona Kaye…

Catriona Kaye is one of Mr Newman’s original characters, first mentioned as Winthrop’s fiance in The Bloody Red Baron. Winthrop may be being coy by calling her his “friend” or his experiences during the way may have altered their relationship.

…the Cult of Saamri…

Saamri is a black magician who rises from the dead to take revenge on his murderers in the 1985 Bollywood horror film 3D Saamri. He was played by Anirudh Agarwal who also portrayed the similarly named undead monster Samri in the previous year’s Purana Mandir. The later is perhaps more likely to be the entity worshiped by the cult.

== To be continued! ==

Books they Made Me Read at High School

Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Pretty good!)

The Legends of King Arthur by someone who I can’t quite remember  (Plenty of fun to be had here)

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (Two words – Kick. Arse!)

The Collected Poems of Bruce Dawe (Moving along…)

Hamlet by William Shakespeare (Awesome!)

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (OK, but a bit long winded)

Tess of the D’Urbevilles by Thomas Hardy (Not bad)

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (The Simpsons did it better)

The Go Between by L. P. Hartley (The past is a foreign country. They write fucking terrible novels there.)