Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Sundays with Vlad"

New from Three Rivers Press: Sundays with Vlad: From Pennsylvania to Transylvania, One Man's Quest to Live in the World of the Undead by Paul Bibeau.

About the book, from the official website:

At eight years old, Paul Bibeau had the footie pj’s scared off of him when his sister sprang out of a crawlspace in the dark wearing plastic fangs. It was the start of a lifelong fascination with vampires. Now a “grownup” journalist, he embarks on a quest to discover the story of how a second-rate Wallachian Prince named Vlad, inaccurately recounted in an odd little 19th century book by some guy named Stoker, became such a pervasive cultural icon.

Bibeau’s search for answers takes us on a rollicking journey that begins in Romania, as — on his honeymoon, no less — we visit the rubble of Vlad’s real castle and examine the mystery of the Count’s missing body, learning why his head might lie at the bottom of a well, smelling vaguely of Honey Smacks.

But those are just the first steps on a ride that traces Drac’s diaspora through the centuries. Soon Bibeau finds himself visiting live-action role playing conventions, learning the virtues of tight leather pants and eye shadow, chatting with a man who ran for governor of Minnesota on an “impalement” platform, and marching in a parade dressed as a bulb of garlic. Along the way, we meet journalists, Dracula experts, Transylvanian hookers, Bela Lugosi’s son … and some folks who actually like to snack on fresh human blood.

With a mixture of reverence, humor, and you-are-there reporting, Sundays with Vlad shines new light on the story of how Dracula has seeped into every corner of mass culture, becoming at once a multi-billion dollar industry, a touchstone for millions of goths and fantasy roleplayers, and. In doing so, it illuminates a fascinating underground society that usually only comes out at night — and shows us that they might not be so different from us after all.