John’s note on The Beast Without by Christian Baines

christian bainesThe Beast Without by Christian Baines

2013

Once again, I have to thank the group for directing my attention to a book and an author I have most enjoyed. I have read some gay/horror material in the past and enjoyed it (Poppy Z Brite especially) however the more recent ‘effluence’ of TV and film material focussing on this subject has been less than interesting to me (I make an exception for Australian Ryan Kwanten).

I found this to be a most enjoyable read. It was well crafted with good local interest (Sydney – Darlo) and with a background to he ‘vampire’ phenomenon that was different, interesting and neatly informed. I particularly enjoyed the voice of the narrator which was a mixture of traditional camp, contemporary argot and references and always a sharp somewhat bitchy wit – glad to know that it is alive and well – “Virgins? On Oxford Street?”

I googled the author and his has the contemporary requisite blog where he has revealed on Jan 15th a new short story ‘ ‘The Prince and the Practitioner’.

Right from the start we are regaled with information that young male blood tastes better and is to be preferred. From this flows an interesting parallel between male homosexual sexual practice and the business of feeding on blood. At no time is this intrusive but the reader is constantly made aware through context and description.

The story-line is perfectly adequate if somewhat incomplete at times. This could be the consequence of too much good material or the desire to lay foundations for future episodes (or a screenplay). I would like to know more about Reylan’s home circumstances (his elder Polish fellow tenant), the St Barnabas’ boys (a lot of potential there), the strange Arcadia Trust and Father O’Bear while oddly Jorgas (on whom so much could develop) remains rather incomplete and unfulfilled.

I thought this was a remarkably sure hand for a first novel and I look forward to reading more from this source.

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