Did Snipers Really Guard Drag Queen Story Hour? (Probably Not)

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Call me out of touch, but I don’t really get Drag Queen Story Hour. The idea is ostensibly to teach kids about inclusivity — but really, if you want to take your 3-year-old down the library to learn about exclusivity, can’t you just show them a book where Mr. Rabbit is friends with Mr. Hedgehog? Inviting a drag queen to do the same seems a weirdly baroque way of going about things.

But that’s not to say that I necessarily buy into the moral panic around the events. And I recently came across a prime example of that panic at work when I read a blog alleging that snipers — yes, snipers! — were protecting a Drag Queen Story Hour event, ready to pop a cap in anyone who made too much objection.

The case in question dates back to June, so it’s not all that new. But since I saw nobody else scrutinising the matter, I decided it was worth my while writing about these peculiar claims…

Continue reading “Did Snipers Really Guard Drag Queen Story Hour? (Probably Not)”

How I Spent November 2019

DorisNov19It was a bit anticlimactic, really. After months of work on the first draft of my novel, the creative process ended with a Microsoft Word spellcheck as I picked out weird typos and misplaced commas. Oh, well; the manuscript is now in the ends of my editor, and I should hopefully be able to make an official announcement before long. Suffice to say that it’s a tie-in for a TV series; and not Doctor Who, this time. Now it’s dusted off, I’ll have more time to work on my personal novel — I’m hoping to get it to at least 35,000 words by the end of the year.

And my first book came out on Halloween, but that already seems like an aeon ago. It’s about The Mummy (the original 1932 version with Boris Karloff) and examines the literary and cultural roots of the film; you can learn more about it here.

Right, then, with just one month left of the decade, I’m going to try and squeeze in as much writing as possible. Wish me luck…

Articles of mine published elsewhere this month:

Article topics for December and beyond:

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The Vampyre’s Legacy Nears its Close…

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My decade-by-decade history of vampire fiction for WWAC has reached its penultimate chapter over at WWAC. Join me as I take a look at the development of urban fantasy in the wake of Interview with the Vampire

Here are the previous instalments of the series:

Part 1: Two Centuries of Blood — John Polidori’s “The Vampyre” (1818); Cyprien Bérard’s Lord Ruthwen ou les Vampires (1820)

Part 2: The Feminine Touch — Théophile Gautier’s “La morte amoureuse” (1836); Elizabeth F. Ellet’s “The Vampyre” (1849)

Part 3: Deconstructing the Vampire — Charles Wilkins Webber’s Spiritual Vampirism (1853);  Paul Féval’s Le Chevalier Ténèbre (1860)

Part 4: Carmilla and Company — J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1871-2); Anne Crawford’s “A Mystery of the Campagna” (1886)

Part 5: Enter Count Dracula — Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897)

Part 6: An Occult Dawn — M. R. James’ “Count Magnus” (1904); Sax Rohmer’s Brood of the Witch-Queen (1918)

Part 7: Dion Fortune’s Demon Lover — Dion Fortune’s The Demon Lover (1927)

Part 8: In the Shadow of Hollywood — Henry Kuttner’s “I, the Vampire” (1937); Irina Karlova’s Dreadful Hollow (1942)

Part 9: Atom-Age Vampires — Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (1954)

Part 10: Sympathy for the Devil William Edward Daniel “Marilyn” Ross’s Barnabas Collins (1969); Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (1976)

Out Now: My Book on The Mummy!

deviladmummycoverMy Devil’s Advocates book about The Mummy is available to buy at Amazon UK, Amazon.com and a range of other outlets. Here’s the official synopsis:

Released in 1932, The Mummy was another horror hit from Universal, shocking audiences with the unforgettable sight of Boris Karloff clad in wrappings as the mummy Imhotep. At the same time, it took horror cinema away from the Gothic Europe of Dracula and Frankenstein and into a land of deserts, pyramids and long-lost tombs. The film was inspired initially by the discovery of Tutankhamun’s resting place and sensationalistic rumours of a curse, but during its development it also drew upon an established tradition of horror literature, one almost as old as the Western pursuit of Egyptology.

In this Devil’s Advocate, Doris V. Sutherland analyses the roots of The Mummy. Her book discusses the film in relation to the work of writers such as Bram Stoker, Arthur Conan Doyle and H. Rider Haggard; authors whose tales of living mummies, immortal sorcerers and Egyptian mysticism bear strong resemblances to Universal’s movie. Offering an overview of the contemporary cinematic landscape, the book looks at how The Mummy was informed not only by horror pictures but also by filmic depictions of a ancient Egypt. Finally, Sutherland examines The Mummy‘s status as the starting point of a cinematic subgenre, with an array of sequels, remakes and imitations attempting to recapture its appeal for subsequent generations.

This is the story of what happened when Hollywood horror went to Egypt.