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Don’t waste your money on The New Annotated Dracula by Leslie Klinger

Just threw the New Annotated Dracula across the room. As an annotated book, it is utterly and completely worthless. The first two paragraphs of the actual novel result in 7 full pages of annotated text, which is double columns in case you’re wondering. Almost none of it is in any way germane to the book and really feels like the idiot who annotated was just shouting (get your best Caboose voice ready) “I AM ANNOTATING! I WILL ADD LOTS OF NOTES TO SHOW THAT I AM ANNOTATING!” I don’t need the whole wikipedia article on Wallachia reprinted for me. The text dumps are exhausting, and we’re not into page two of the actual novel yet.

Worse yet, I’ve discovered that I already don’t trust anything this guy has to say about anything he’s said in his notes. I don’t know if any of the books he’s quoting exist, and I suspect that some probably don’t. He’s utterly destroyed his credibility with the bullshit fiction he’s woven into his annotation.

The central joke of the annotation, that the whole thing really happened and it’s all true, is so very frustrating and stupid that it really makes the book nearly impossible to read. I don’t need bullshit theories as to why there are inconstancies in the book. A bad writer didn’t write or research very well. Mina didn’t polish Harker’s diary up. Stoker wasn’t influenced by the hand of Dracula himself in a bid to tell the world he was dead so they wouldn’t come looking for him. Van Helsing was inspired by three people, and no amount of pretending he was one of those three will make it so. Quincy Morris wasn’t at the Battle of Shiloh and Steward never rapped on stage with Professor Elemental BECAUSE NONE OF THOSE PEOPLE EXIST BECAUSE THIS IS A WORK OF FUCKING FICTION!

The idiot probably giggled himself silly while doing this, but it’s an impossible read. It’s got to value or weight, just a lot of noise. Even when I see something that might have some bearing on the book, that is suspect because I don’t know if it’s just part of the bullshit or not. I can’t separate the wheat from the chaff, and I don’t feel inclined to try. I know now why the book looked like it hadn’t been read past page 17, which is exactly the page I got to before deciding to quit.

August 21, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,


  1. Sorry you found the book so objectionable. If you had read the Editor’s Preface, you would have understood the aim of the book before you got started. All of the material referenced in the notes is 100% accurate. I strongly encourage everyone who hasn’t read the novel before to skip the notes and read the story first. The notes are intended to enhance the reading experience in the same manner as a bonus track on a DVD.

    Les Klinger

    Comment by Leslie Klinger | August 22, 2012 | Reply

    • I’ve read about a dozen annotated books in the past, I know how they work. In what way did I give the impression that I haven’t ever read one? That’s part of why this annotation was such an abomination to my eyes. An annotated novel is generally accepted to be a scholarly work that lend insight into the writing of the book the life of the author and the world in which the book was produced. This is a fan fiction that got out of hand. As for your statement that it’s meant to be like a bonus track on a DVD… in a commentary track, for a fictional film, the director does not claim he made a documentary. Peter Jackson, for example, does not claim that Lord of the Rings is a historical document.

      I simply cannot trust anything in the book, because I am asked to believe that a fictional character had a hand in the production of the book. Once I found that I could not trust that, I began to wonder if any of the other books being mentioned were being quoted accurately, or if indeed they existed at all. Once that trust has been violated, and I am doubting the work, then there is little hope in going on.

      And I have read Dracula at least half a dozen times over the years. Again, what would give you the idea that I hadn’t?

      Comment by greyweirdo | August 22, 2012 | Reply

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