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Lily Wight

     Updated 16/10/2015

     The Bloody Red Baron (1995) is the second novel in Kim Newman’s superlative and ever-expanding Anno Dracula series.  Newman continues to weave effortlessly both history and fiction to conjure a world in which Dracula – formerly wed to Queen Victoria – has joined forces with The Kaiser to bring terror to Europe.

     The shift in time and tone may surprise some readers expecting more of the first book’s Victorian gothic.  Book two is a World War I novel that successfully captures the tropes of military fiction whilst broadening its appeal with genre-mashing wit and just the right amount of girl power so you won’t miss those smog bound cobbled streets whatsoever.

     A running theme of genetic experimentation and weird science ensures that the series becomes increasingly pertinent and there is plenty of action too…

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Lily Wight

     John Polidori (1795 – 1821) is best remembered as Lord Byron’s travelling companion and personal physician but his short story, The Vampyre (1819) is the first significant vampire tale in English Literature, following on from Lady Caroline Lamb’s less revered Gothic Novel, Glenarvon (1816).

     The Vampyre is rather prosaic and melodramatic for modern tastes yet its brevity and vital role in vampire mythology make it an essential read.  The Vampyre himself, Lord Ruthven, is the original frilly-cuffed brooding immortal; a character endowed with the dangerous dilettantism associated with the Romantic writers and artists who, for many, have come to define the tastes, fashions and attitudes of the Georgian era.  Ruthven’s style of vampirism bridges the gap between the demons and monsters of folklore and the modern vampire anti-hero with his magnetic charisma and troubled conscience.  This new archetype was later perfected and explored by…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 08/07/2015

     Lily Wight is always available to be the sanguinous stuffing in an Anne Rice and Clive Barker sandwich – so please tuck in 😉

     The Grande Dame of Grand Guignol and The Master of The Macabre (via official administrator, Alex) were kind enough to recommend and share features from the blog at www.lilywight.com with their huge online communities.

     Just click the links below for these unmissable posts ~

“The Wolf Gift” scored this generous review by Lily Wight and I’m grateful.  Also note the cool use of Ran Valerhon’s art in this review.  Love it.

Anne Rice, 19th February 2013.

https://lilywight.com/2013/02/13/a-present-from-anne-rice-the-wolf-gift-matt-bomer-christian-grey/

Here’s a new blog post on Nightbreed by Lily Wight.

~ Clive Barker (administrated by Alex Ghastbrow) 21st February 2013.

https://lilywight.com/2013/02/21/clive-barker-cabal-nightbreed-directors-cut/

     Thank you, fellow imagineers x

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Lily Wight

     Updated 22/04/2015

     It is nearly forty years since Anne Rice refined and defined our contemporary Romantic Vampire archetype with her seminal and controversial novel Interview With The Vampire.

     Rice may have returned to The Universal Studio Monster Vault (vampires, mummies and now wolfmen) but her latest foray into the supernatural is distinctly light on familiar Gothic tropes and offers something entirely current via the imagination of an author steeped in history and mythology.

     The Wolf Gift is a superhero origin story with the werewolf or “Morphenkind”, Reuben Golding, glorified and elevated into a shape-shifting biological missing-link: a creature designed to track and destroy the very essence of evil.

     The bright, breezy world of modern San Francisco offers architectural and natural majesty a world away from the grim, historical Grand Guignol of Rice’s Vampire…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 05/02/2015

     Jamie Dornan may have bagged the much coveted role of sado-hunk Christian Grey but it is his little known co-star, Dakota Johnson, who is currently Google’s most searched for celeb.  So here she is,  Ms. Anastasia Steele, in this month’s movie adaptation of E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey.

     You’ll soon be seeing ALOT more of her 😉

*Dakota Mayi Johnson was born 4th October 1989 in Austin, Texas, USA.

*Dakota is the daughter of actors, Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson and the stepdaughter of Antonio Banderas.

*Dakota made her acting début in Crazy In Alabama (1999) directed by Antonio Banderas and starring with her mother, Melanie and half-sister, Stella Banderas. 

*Dakota signed to IMG Models in 2006 and became Miss Golden Globe the same year.

*Film credits include a brief  *ahem* but memorable scene in Facebook movie, The Social Network.

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Lily Wight

     Updated 21/01/2015

     Recommended reading 🙂

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Lily Wight

     Updated 15/01/2015

     Vampire: The Masquerade‘s role-playing world offers plenty of intrigue and diversity but the chronological re-editing of multiple novels tends to mar an otherwise engrossing series.

     Vampire Hesha’s story is over-written and uneventful yet it dominates this second collection whilst the laboured build-up to major events causes structural shortcomings.

     With future volumes offering more conclusions and twists this is still a series worth sticking with and a great introduction to the realm of role-playing games.

     Click here for a review of Volume One 🙂

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Lily Wight

     Updated 09/01/2015

     Every vampire fan should be well aware of White Wolf’s seminal role-playing game system, Vampire; which effectively collates and categorizes every bit of vampire lore and literature up to and including the work of Anne Rice.

     This book owns a hefty title – and well it might – as it boasts a doorstop-sized collection of spin-off novels and associated writings, re-edited chronologically into a complex and epic drama.

     With numerous authors at work there is some jarring in the narrative style and the structure suffers, albeit necessarily for the books conceit.  Certain events are needlessly re-played from different characters’ perspectives without providing extra insight whilst dramatic tension is often lost when chronology forces precedence over plot.

     There is however so much going on that new readers of all tastes…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 11/12/2014     

     Students of English Literature should be eternally grateful for this Graphic Novel adaptation of a core curriculum classic.

     The simple black and white noir-style graphics contemporise the satirical content whilst aiding differentiation between the many realms and circles in Dante’s compelling trawl through a unique afterlife.

     Chwast’s vision is a brief and entertaining read that may just inspire you to seek out – and perhaps better appreciate – Dante’s original.

     More Graphic Novel interpretations of Literary Classics please!

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     Click the link for this amazing post from Lily Wight’s award-winning blog #CumberbatchIsSauron

https://lilywight.com/2012/11/21/benedict-cumberbatch-is-sauron/

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Lily Wight

Updated 27/11/2014

     Recommended reading because Graphic Novels are about more than Superheroes…

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Lily Wight

     The diligent Christopher Reuel Tolkien seems every bit as inspired by and devoted to Middle-earth as his much celebrated father.

     The Unfinished Tales: Of Númenor and Middle-earth is the first compilation of findings and fragments edited by Christopher for publication after J.R.R. Tolkien’s death.

     Be warned adventurer!  The more you delve into Middle-earth the further you will want to go!

     The revelations concerning major characters from The Lord Of The Rings, which bridge The Hobbit to its epic sequel, will make readers’ believe they have stumbled on their very own treasure horde.

     Considered editing makes it possible to simply enjoy the tales or refer quickly to the copious notes for a more enlightened, academic experience.

     It is an ideal read for anyone keen for some Hobbit…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 09/10/2014

     Another full-length prose novel from (the admittedly deceased) J.R.R. Tolkien is too good to be true and infinitely more satisfying than all those collected fragments with endless footnotes.

     It’s business as usual with The Children Of Húrin as ancient oral-storytelling traditions pervade Tolkien’s reliably rich and evocative prose.

     Húrin has much in common with Norse dragon slayer Myths and is almost unbearably tragic.  It’s a great place to start with pre-Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings’ history and the maps and glossaries are essential – although why Tolkien is the only author who can get away with such things remains a mystery.

     It is a book to make you homesick for Middle-earth all over again.

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Lily Wight

     Updated 30/09/2014

     The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies arrives in UK cinemas on December 12th!  If you can’t wait that long Lily Wight ~ The Arcade of Arts & Arcana can satisfy your Middle-earth cravings with a variety of Tolkien related posts (just click the category in the sidebar).

     Let’s get started with a flash review of a book that definitely deserves a trilogy of movies… are you listening Peter Jackson!

     

     The Silmarillion

     Genius is not a term to be attributed lightly but if any author deserves such an accolade it is John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.
     Traditional Mythologies contain a vast body of evolving materials collected over time by countless storytellers and authors.  So, for one man to invent arguably the finest and most emotive…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 16/09/2014

     The episodic structure and super simple YA-style prose mire a book worth reading for its genius premise: pensioners battling the supernatural in UK Goth Capital, Whitby.

     Magrs inventively homages all the genre classics with warmth and wit whilst Brenda and Effie disguise cracks in an episodic narrative with the sheer force of their personalities.  Two great roles for Dames Judi Dench and Helen Mirren perhaps 🙂

     A silly, frothy yarn perfect for Sunday tea time telly.

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Lily Wight

      H.P. Lovecraft’s longform novel makes a fine introduction to the author’s original mythos and recurring themes but, like Poe before him, the style and structure of his weird tales has not aged well and demands patience from modern readers.

     The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward reads much like a dry historical legal document and Lovecraft’s obsession with architecture is interesting but not thrilling.  The lazy dénouement owes much to Dracula – and vampire fans might catch the name “Ferenczy”: a major player in Brian Lumley’s superb Necroscope series.

     Lovecraft’s short fiction is far more satisfying but completists and occultists will love this nonetheless.

     View a trailer for The Resurrected (adapted from The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward)…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 21/08/2014 

     Kim Newman’s Glastonbury set tale of a year 2000 millenium apocalypse may have passed its sell by date (without incident) yet still offers a gorily fun interpretation of The Book of Revelations for horror fans who enjoy the likes of Stephen King, Clive Barker, James Herbert and Brian Lumley.

     There is a comfortable soap-opera quality to the slow-burn character-building of colourful locals and visitors but, in the final act, as chaos descends, the diversity of their living nightmares causes a loss of focus.

     Some of the sexual-horror is just plain nasty and there is a missed opportunity to explore the dynamics of cult religions with more intelligent depth.

     As an entry into the sub-genre of supernaturals versus psychic spies it makes a sufficiently fun but hardly a life-changing…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 12/08/2014

     A short sharp review of Once…

     James Herbert does little to shift his low-brow Stephen King associations with this perfunctory foray into the world of faerie.

     A spooky house and a missing testament provide Scooby Doo plotting while flat characters and shallow research create a strangely uninvolving tale of mixed-up folklores.

     Frequent sexiness will keep you reading but Herbert’s work remains dogged by seventies style misogyny.

     If you’re a Herbert fan you’ll love it regardless, but this is lazy work.

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Lily Wight

     NBC’s Constantine TV show is set to air on 24th October with Matt Ryan in the lead role so there’s plenty of time to familiarise yourself with Vertigo’s paranormal PI.

     Grubby, British, sociopolitical and astute, Constantine’s adventures will appeal to those who want smarts with their supernatural.

     There are bigger, more epic story arcs than the standalones in this graphic novel collection but time in Constantine’s company is always well spent.

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Lily Wight

   

     Updated 22/07/2014

     Billy Majestic’s arresting Graphic Novel, Humpty Dumpty is a Science Fiction/Horror yarn and definitely not recommended for children.

     Vivid colours and smooth digital blending achieve a film-like look; entirely appropriate for a snappy origin tale which plays like a movie storyboard and makes no qualms about its B-Movie intentions.

     Redneck grotesques, small-town cops and ethereal aliens provide familiarity whilst the titular Humpty is an atrocity to remind you of the heyday of direct-to-video prosthetic horrors.  Humpty’s conception and birth stray into uncomfortable exploitation territory but once the monster madness is underway sequels seem both likely and gory good fun.

     For more unique images follow the link to The Gallery.

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Lily Wight

     Audrey Niffenegger, best known as the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, spins a macabre yet enchanting novel in pictures.

     The Adventuress, an ethereal yet tenacious heroine, is created by an alchemist, has a love affair with Napoleon and gives birth to a cat in a quest of Fairy Tale subversions and surreal post-feminism.

     The text may tell us of wedding revelry and honeymoons but the fragile images betray subjugation and abuse as The Adventuress is repeatedly betrayed by the promises of love and motherhood.  This is a story in which transformation can lead to madness and happy-ever-afters may only be attained through cleansing fire or the release of death.

     Niffenegger’s images combine the uncanny distortions of German Expressionist cinema with  a sketchiness which invites universal interpretations.

     A truly beautiful, unique and inspiring work.

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Lily Wight

  

*Postage stamps, matches, refrigerators, lightbulbs, antiseptic, inflatable tyres, cars, buses, telephones, iron bridges, railways, cameras, bandstands and promenades are all Victorian inventions.

*After the death of Prince Albert (1861) Queen Victoria dressed in black and had fresh clothes and a wash-stand prepared for Albert every day.

*She also spoke of “the mad, wicked folly of women’s rights”.  No comment.

*Only two British monarchs have reached their Diamond Jubilee.  Victoria celebrated hers in 1897.

*Britain and China went to war… over Opium trafficking!

*A large part of the world still speaks English today because of Victoria’s empire.

*The Commonwealth is made up of countries which were once under British rule.

*The River Thames was so thick with sewage that paddle-steamers could hardly move.  After 30 years of work a new improved sewage system was completed in 1875.  It is still in use today.

*Victorian architecture favoured Medieval Gothic and Classical…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 17/06/2014

     Here at The Arcade of Arts & Arcana we are not ashamed to trawl kids’ books for fascinating factoids.  Here are few of our findings…

 

*Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital opened in 1852.  If you scroll down the sidebar you will find a link to Children With Cancer UK, this site’s nominated charity 🙂 

*Edward Jenner helped to wipe out smallpox in just 40 years when free vaccinations became available in 1840.

*The bell residing in the Houses of Parliament clock tower was cast in 1858 and named for building supervisor Sir Benjamin Hall.  Big Ben of course.

*Building ships from steel instead of heavy iron was a very good idea.

*Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies (1863) influenced Parliament to pass the Chimney Sweeps Act.  The use of children as sweeps was finally stamped out in 1875.

*Today southeast…

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Lily Wight

     

     Updated 14/06/2014

     It takes a writer as bold as Game of Throne’s George R.R. Martin to pen a Southern Gothic vampire novel just three years after the publication of Anne Rice’s genre-bending Interview With The Vampire.

     Martin’s Fevre Dream includes plenty of Rice’s familiar tropes – such as setting, era and two bickering immortal dandies – but Fevre Dream has less romance and more grit, as though two writers used the same remit to inspire very different tales.

     Martin pens marvellous prose in any genre, he is descriptive but never dull and poetic without being florid.  He has a knack for authentic, character-crafting speech and an ability to make even the driest detail fascinating so readers will come away with a new love and comprehensive understanding of life as a Mississippi steamboat captain even if…

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Lily Wight

Updated 09/06/2014

     All these amazing facts have been borrowed from the Snapping-Turtle Guide, Victorian Life by John Guy.

*The average life expectancy for a Victorian city-dweller was a measly 40 years!

*At the beginning of Victoria’s reign (1837) 20% of the population lived in towns.  By the end of her reign (1901) this figure had risen to 75%.

*Beer was less than a penny a pint causing problems with drunkenness… especially amongst children.

*This was probably because both boys and girls wore dresses until they reached about five years old.

*Thomas Edison didn’t just invent the phonograph (1877) he suggested talking-books for the blind.

*The Railway Age created affordable travel for all and inspired that Great British pursuit: a day-trip to the seaside!

*Victorian Artists and Poets reacted against The Industrial Age by incorporating romanticised Myths, Legends and The Natural World into their work.  (Click the…

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