How I got into Gothic fiction: Getting out of your comfort zone

Two or three years ago, for whatever reason, I felt compelled to read Dracula. Now I’ve never been a huge fan of classic fiction (though I’ve read plenty and enjoyed some) or of horror (though I’ve tried and enjoyed less than classic fiction). But hey – it’s one of those books that any real SFF fan should at least consider reading.

I was glad I did. Though it was a bit of a slog at first, once I got used to the style, it was enjoyable if slowly-paced. Not only was it interesting to get a look at an older portrayal of the modern vampire, but it was informative to note the differences between the source and the stereotypical Dracula character. For instance, he could of course transform into a bat, but he could also turn into a wolf, and indeed had power over all manner of “creatures of the night.” Though there was a seductive element to his powers, he wasn’t a suave Adonis. Rather, he was an old mustachioed man with stinky breath.


Gleaning the older source material and inspirations for contemporary Scifi-Fantasy has become a pleasurable pursuit. My foray into Appendix N has been part of this, but that’s just one small component, one nook.

My next encounter with Gothic horror was prompted by HP, who was reading Frankenstein for Halloween. This one went down a little easier because of my experience reading Dracula. Although once again the pacing felt a bit slow (which may be characteristic of the genre or the times), I felt much less impeded by the old-style prose. Frankenstein was an interesting read, indeed, for the changes and inaccuracies he and his monster have suffered at the hands of Hollywood and successive lazy writers are particularly notable.


Recently I’ve been reading The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which is a much shorter book. Although it’s not my usual cup of tea, I find myself acquiring a taste for the flavor. And so I’m glad I stepped out of my comfortable zone when I did and opened myself up to a type of story I had little interest in. There’s a lot to be appreciated here!




6 thoughts on “How I got into Gothic fiction: Getting out of your comfort zone

  1. I simply cannot wait for the next iteration of your exploration into older works:
    “Why the Cave Paintings of Indigenous People found at Balancing Rock National Park should be considered the original Appendix N works”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am glad you are at last familiarizing yourself with these seminal works. I think being more mature helps with the different style [pacing, etc] where a younger reader might just stop and call it “boring” without being able to appreciate the actual writing skill that went into them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree. Pacing is generally slower in any 19th century book, it is part of a different style, and many people today cannot or will not make the adjustment. It has an impact on setting the mood of the book, which is a big factor in Gothic fiction but other types as well.

    Read the unabridged version of the Count of Monte Cristo, for example.

    Liked by 1 person

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