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Blood Dynasty

Novel by G C Clewett 1973.

This looks like a horror novel, the blurb on the back sounds like a horror novel, and it features vampirism of a sort; but this is really a science fiction novel of the less experimental New Worlds type. Gregory Altson hitches a lift with a beautiful pale woman in thick glasses. When he awakes he finds himself prisoner of the Nossings in Morne, their underground base, in which a battle of wills is being fought between Gi-Ni, the kindly driver, and Alrann, the young upstart who runs the rising opposition. The Nossings are vampires, not in name but in effect. Produced by deliberate chemical experimentation, they have huge bushbaby eyes and enhanced body control. Altson must find a way to both destroy the Nossings and escape their lair.

Gregory Altson is a superb main character, his level of intelligence and wit refreshing after so many lowest common denominator heroes. Science fiction fans should find at least something interesting here: Clewett works his ideas of vampirism into an almost cultic setting, with plenty of Wellsian idealism and Dune-esque names. We have Wistenn, firschers, the Mrinah, the Sec-prah and of course, to follow the mystical aspect, the Xyne which is the way. Very dry in humour, very English, very intellectual, this is a worthy novel, a runner-up in the Young Writers' Award, whatever that is. Clewett writes like a newly graduated Oxbridge student, or an underachieving dropout. Either way there is an abiding undercurrent of British intellectualism which would fit in a late Victorian scientific romance, but is certainly different in a modern horror novel. As a result, other than the use of the word 'steatopygean' in dialogue, which is unforgivable, this is well worth plenty of attention.


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