In this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio, I am joined in the studio by horror scholar Amy Jane Vosper as we discuss the figure of the vampire! Amy Jane and I examine the history of the vampire and how the vampire has changed, adapted, and modified itself in our mythology and fiction to express the issues, fears, and anxieties of various ages and cultures. We particularly look at that enigmatic figure Dracula and how Dracula has changed since Bram Stoker’s novel over time.
Because Amy Jane and I are both feminists, we examine the figure of Dracula’s Brides, characters who are relegated to the background, sexualised, and disempowered and we look at how these figures have changed to become empowered figures in Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s brilliant short story “A Handful of Earth”.
You can listen to this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio at the link below
This audio file was originally broadcast on Trent Radio, and I would like to thank Trent Radio for their continued support. I would also like to thank Dwayne Collins for his consistent tech support and help with the intricacies of creating audio files.
Make sure to allow a few minutes for the file to buffer since it may take a moment before it begins to play.
“To minds that crave binary order, and the simplicity of the male-female dichotomy, the study of gender can lead to despair. They say that women with Y chromosomes and men with two X’s are abnormal. But normal is just a word that gets thrown around when we try to make sense of biology.”
-Scott Fotheringham – The Rest is Silence (Goose Lane Editions, 2012)
“I made no distinction between history of mythology. Troy and Gilgamesh, for example, cross-references to both historical and mythological entries. Bored and restless and wanting to believe anything that would stimulate me, I was more than happy to accept that these often contradictory readings of the past were all equally true, that reality was not flat and linear, but complex and multidimensional, allowing for many versions of the same events to exist simultaneously. For many pasts to lead to the same present.”
-Claude Lalumiere – The Door to Lost Pages (ChiZine Publications, 2011)
A review of Liz Strange’s “Erased” (Dark Continents Publishing, 2014)
By Derek Newman-Stille
Cover photo for Erased courtesy of the author
Liz Strange’s “Erased” is an intersection of stories of loss and secrecy. Set in the future in a world with the capacity to erase a person’s memory with one needle stroke, “Erased” opens with character Grey Singer who has woken uncertain of her identity, her selfhood, or any markers of the person she once was. She finds identification hidden in the seams of her clothing, but it is the identification of several different people, all with her face, further complicating the question of her identity.
Singer is able to discover that she was part of covert activities, and her search for her own memory is complicated by the secrecy that she shaped around her life. This intertwining of uncertainties is made more complicated by the fact that the act of recovering her memories itself comes with a price – the potential that trying to push herself to discover more can cause a repeat of the memory loss and put her in the position of having to re-discover herself from scratch once again. Singer is in a state of perpetual discovery of her identity and perpetual loss… but the new her is someone who she may be more comfortable with anyway. The new her doesn’t have all of the barriers that are raised by trying to block herself from caring, and the new her is capable of letting down her barriers enough to love.
The only problem is that because of the secrecy her previous job required, she is now left uncertain who to trust since neither her own memories nor her records hold any keys about which people around her are safe for her to become comfortable around
Lis Strange puts readers into the position of questioning their notions of loss and considering the idea that memories may not make up everything about a person. She invites readers to explore their own engagement with the notion of memory and our social fear of the loss of memory. She plays with ideas of uncertainty, and, particularly uncertainties around identity in order to put her reader into a position of mystery, shaping the overall spy-fi story around a general feeling of curiosity.