SFF

The Route of Ice and Salt

Innsmouth. Jan. 2021. 196p. ISBN 9781927990292. pap. $9.99. HORROR
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This 1998 novella, published in English for the first time by the micro-press run by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, contemplates the ever-present themes of gay sexuality in vampire literature. By focusing on the pivotal but often overlooked section of Dracula featuring the doomed trip of the Demeter—the ship that brought Count Dracula to England, found with no crew and the dead, unnamed captain lashed to its wheel, desperately grasping a rosary—Zárate (Xanto: Novelucha libre) succeeds in crafting an eerie, disorienting, and hypnotic tale that fills the unexplored spaces of Bram Stoker’s classic novel. Told through the personal diary entries of the ship’s captain, the things he could not officially report, it begins with his homoerotic desires for his men and ultimately transforms into an absorbing and detailed look into their fate. With an afterword by horror LGBTQ pioneer Poppy Z. Brite.
VERDICT A necessary and engaging addition not only to the always popular subset of Dracula-adjacent tales such as Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker, but also to the growing pantheon of retellings of horror classics from a marginalized perspective such as Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom.

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