‘The Graveyard Book’ is about a little boy who survives the murder of his family. The ghosts of the graveyard take the boy in and raise him. At this graveyard, the dead raise the living.
In an early scene from Mary Barton, Gaskell’s 1848 high-realist novel of class and crime, Mary’s father and a former coworker go to visit a sick worker from Carsons’ mill. Wending their way through the poverty and hopelessness of industrial Manchester, they finally reach his family home, located in a cellar “about one foot below the level of the street” (60).
As a literary phenomenon, the Victorian gothic manifests itself in fin-de-siècle literature both as a subversive supernatural force and as a mechanism for social critique. Envisioning the world as a dark and spiritually turbulent tableau, the fictions of the late-Victorian gothic often depict the city of London as a corrupt urban landscape characterised by a brooding populace and by its horror-filled streets of terror.
In Bram Stoker’s classic vampire tale, ‘Dracula’ (1897), the Count turns and threatens his pursuers, claiming “‘[m]y revenge is just begun! I spread it over centuries, and time is on my side’” (263). The myth of the vampire — and particularly Stoker’s contributions to the myth — serves as an effective metaphor for the very genre of Gothicism in which that myth frequently appears. Stoker’s Count Dracula can change into a bat, a wolf, a pack of rats, or even a cloud of mist.
Science fiction and Gothic? The conjunction of two hybrid genres composed from diverse literary and mythical precursors breeds monstrosities: strange beings and disturbing other — and underworlds lurk at the limits of modern knowledge. Despite so many Gothic science fiction mutations, it is strange the genres should cross at all.