cover image Empire V: The Prince of Hamlet

Empire V: The Prince of Hamlet

Victor Pelevin, trans. from the Russian by Anthony Phillips. Gollancz, $13.99 trade paper (387p) ISBN 978-1-4732-1308-1

Author Pelevin’s newest erudite and fantastical take on postmodernist science fiction and horror (following S.N.U.F.F.) follows a young man as he is transformed into a vampire. On a lark, seeing a note sketched on the sidewalk with a pointing arrow, 19-year-old Roman follows it, and ends up in the middle of something he could never ever have anticipated. Soon he finds himself strapped to exercise bars in a home in Moscow, Russia, where he’s bitten by a vampire. When the vampire dies, Roman, now called Rama, is endowed with the vampire’s “Tongue,” which rides in symbiosis with his human body. Highbrow philosophical concepts overshadow the scant dramatic action as Rama is twisted like a corkscrew between conventional human values and the narcissistic arrogance of a so-called superior being. (Mar.)