Just as Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse was a “raucous thrill ride” (Publishers Weekly) and a playful stab at the post-apocalypse story, Vampire a Go-Go is a satirical take on the modern horror story—providing more laughs and unforgettable characters.
Victor Gischler is a master of the class-act literary spoof—a unique niche in which he has few equals. He has tackled many popular genres with his wry wit: crime noir, the post-apocalyptic subgenre, and now the horror novel genre. Frequently compared to Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon, and Quentin Tarantino, Gischler turns his attention to castles, astrologers, alchemists, ghosts, witches, gun-toting Jesuit priests, and werewolves with Vampire a Go-Go, a hilarious romp of spooky, gothic entertainment. Allen is a hapless grad student in trouble. He’s about to flunk out of school and there is not much that can be done to salvage his GPA—except to redeem himself by accompanying an eccentric professor and his enigmatic wife on a research trip to a castle in Prague. But Allen doesn’t know he’ll end up in a hunt for a supernatural device that can restore the humanity to the undead. Narrated by a ghost whose spirit is chained to the mysterious castle, Vampire a Go-Go is full of twists and surprises that will have readers screaming—and laughing—for more.
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.04(h) x 0.77(d)|
About the Author
Victor Gischler is a former English professor and the author of Gun Monkeys, The Pistol Poets, Suicide Squeeze, and Shotgun Opera.
Read an Excerpt
The sudden shrill chirp of a hundred birds froze Allen in place, his hand poised to knock on the department head’s door. Probably it was his imagination, but then he heard it again. Maybe Dr. Carpenter had one of those soothing rain-forest-sounds CDs.
It didn’t matter. He’d been summoned.
He knocked, heard somebody mumble something. He entered.
The birds went crazy, flapping between bookshelves.
“Shut the damn door,” she yelled at him.
Allen hastily shut the door, stood cringing amid the bird storm, feathers brushing his face, the room alive with the swirling racket of wings and beaks.
“Sit down.” Professor Cathy Carpenter gestured at the hard, wooden chair across her desk.
She sat too, took a small wooden box from her top desk drawer, and began to unpack the contents. A plastic baggy, paper.
“You didn’t have a very good semester, did you, Allen?” She unfolded a small square of thin paper, pinched the herb from a plastic baggy, and rolled it into the paper. The joint was on the small side.
Birds flapped, hopped between shelves.
“There were some distractions,” Allen told her.
“Uh-huh. What’s your last name? Cabbot?”
“Any relation to the Salem Cabbots? Good family.”
“No, ma’am.” He flinched as a bird swooped within an inch of his nose. The rest of the birds screeched and danced.
“The mayor’s an old student of mine. Winston Cabbot of Salem. Hmmm. Winston of Salem. Winston Salem. That’s odd. Isn’t that a cigarette or something?”
Allen ducked another bird on a strafing run.
“So Winston is what? Your uncle or something?” Carpenter raised an eyebrow.
“We’re not related, ma’am. I’m from Portland.”
“Do you have any matches?” She fished around in the other drawers.
“Professor Carpenter, there are like a hundred birds in your office. Maybe more.”
“One hundred and twenty-two. They’re budgies. Ah!”
She found matches, struck one, lit the joint, and puffed smoke.
She stood, sucked deep on the joint, then went around the room, puffing smoke into the budgies’ faces. After three minutes of this, the birds settled into sedate lines along the bookshelves.
Professor Carpenter returned to her seat. “You earned straight Cs in your classes.”
“I’ll do better.”
Allen didn’t feel he could tell Professor Carpenter about Brenda Cole. The entire episode had been juvenile and ill advised. Allen had known from the start that Brenda had been too much girl for him, a senior in Warner’s poetry workshop, a rebellious girl in a black dress and combat boots and a nose ring and all those great tattoos in interesting places. They’d had three great weeks before she’d dumped him flat on his ass, and Allen had spent the rest of the semester embarrassing himself with pathetic phone calls and bleeding-heart emails, trying to win her back.
“There was a lot going on, Professor Carpenter. I fixed it.”
Above him, the birds sat in a long line, looking down, hunched together like old men, some absurd jury listing to his feeble story.
“Why did you choose Gothic State University, Allen?”
The small university perched atop a rocky precipice overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The institute was undistinguished in every way. The English Department’s one claim to fame had been a nationally renowned Brontë scholar named Thornton Hardwood. It was Hardwood who’d lured Allen to Gothic State. Allen loved the Brontës, wanted to write his dissertation on gender coding in Wuthering Heights.
Hardwood had died suddenly of a stroke six days into Allen’s first semester. Allen had stayed through the second semester because he hadn’t applied to any other schools and hadn’t known what else to do. Brenda had happened the third semester, and Allen’s scholarly ambitions had dropped straight into the crapper.
“I just like it here, ma’am.”
“Uh-huh.” A budgie landed on Dr. Carpenter’s coffee mug. The mug had a novelty message that read, “I earned tenure, and all I got was this lousy coffee mug.” Carpenter rubbed the budgie’s head with her pinky finger. “Hello, Admiral Snodgrass.”
“You can tell all the birds apart?”
“All the budgies are named Admiral Snodgrass.”
“I’m going to give you a chance, Allen. You’ll have to bring your grades up, but I’m willing to keep your name off the academic probation list.”
“I appreciate that, ma’am.”
“Wait and hear the rest,” she said. “It’s well known around the department you have a gift for research.”
Allen nodded. During his first semester, he had taken Professor Mapplethorpe’s research methods class and had immediately become teacher’s pet. Mapplethorpe had spread it among the faculty that “the boy can dig anything out of a library.” Allen constantly endured harsh comments on his papers for sloppy writing, but his research skills were impeccable.
“I’m going to assign you as Dr. Evergreen’s grad assistant.”
Allen squirmed in his seat, opened his mouth to object, closed it again. What choice did he have?
Dr. Evergreen was known campuswide as a cranky hard-ass. He stank of bad cigars and gin. He was an unpleasant and demanding man, and most students only took his classes when forced to complete degree requirements.
Budgies cooed in a ganja stupor.
“I understand,” Allen said.
“He’s writing a chapter for a new monograph on Kafka.” Carpenter stubbed out the joint in a ceramic ashtray. “You’re to go with him to Prague this summer and help him with research. It’s not a vacation. He’ll work you hard.”
“Prague? The Czech Republic? That Prague?”
“I was going to visit my folks this summer.”
“Not anymore. Unless you’d like to drop out.”
“I’ll go to Prague.”
“Good. Go to the party at Evergreen’s house tonight. Grad students are invited, so you won’t feel out of place. Tell him you’re on board.”
Allen stopped himself from sighing. “Okay.”
“Go away now, please.” Carpenter relit the joint, sat back in her chair, and closed her eyes.
I didn’t like Allen at first. With instantaneous knowledge of his entire life, I figured I knew all I needed to make this judgment. He’s a little weak, lets people push him around. He’s apologetic when he hasn’t done anything. He means well in a way somehow more annoying than if he meant harm. You know the type. Always hanging at the edge of a conversation, waiting to be invited to talk.
Allen has a bad habit of ignoring nice, bookish sorts of girls right under his nose. They like him. He’s good-looking and well mannered, with brown hair, wavy and thick, a medium-square jaw and shoulders. Tallish. An open face given to a shy, reluctant grin full of straight white teeth. But Allen ignores the plain Janes in favor of exotic, fast women who ignore him, or worse, chew him up.
Perhaps I despise him for this, since I used to chase the same sort of woman. Ages and ages ago.
But having the sum total of a man’s life inserted into your head like a computer memory stick isn’t the same as experiencing the man or seeing him in action—or often, unfortunately, inaction. Walk a mile in his shoes—or his skin—well, sympathies develop. So I suppose I ended up rooting for Allen, hoping he’d get through all this in one piece.
It’s not my job to take sides, but I am a thinking being, and I do have an opinion.
Still, it would be nice if Allen could get his head straight about women. One of these quiet, girl-next-door types could do his self-esteem a world of good.
Take Penny Coppertone, for example.
“I like that one,” said Penny Coppertone as she sat on the edge of Allen’s narrow bed.
Allen’s dorm room was small, and there was nowhere to sit but the bed. The single chair overflowed with textbooks and dirty laundry. Allen was one of the few grad students still living in the dorms. He couldn’t afford an apartment on his own and didn’t want a roommate.
“This one?” He held the muted red tie up to his shirt, then held up a narrower blue tie. “Not this one.” He wanted to look right for Evergreen’s party.
“Actually, why don’t you wear the black shirt with the tweed and no tie at all,” Penny suggested. “I think that will strike the right tone.”
“What’s the right tone?”
“Professionally academic but off duty and ready for a glass of wine.”
“I’m going to Prague, Penny. Did I mention that?”
“What? That’s wonderful. When? This summer? That’s when the summer writing workshops are. In July, I think. I haven’t been accepted yet, but I’m hoping—”
“I’m going as Dr. Evergreen’s research assistant.”
Penny’s face fell, all the way to the ground. She tried to pick it up again without success. “Well, but still … it could be fun.”
Allen spared her a sideways glance as he slipped into his jacket. “With Dr. Evergreen?”
“No, I suppose it will suck.”
“You’d better hurry and change if you still want a ride.”
Penny’s hand automatically went to her dishwater hair, pulled the ponytail loose. “Actually, I was already—” She looked down at her Gothic State sweatshirt and faded jeans, heavy wool socks and Birkenstocks. “I mean, yeah, I guess I’d better get dressed. I might be a while. How about I meet you there?”
“Okay, but hurry, or all the food will be gone.”
Penny Coppertone was an excellent poet, but her images were quiet and subtle. If her poetry had been about sexual exploration and explosive rants against the establishment, and if Penny had died her hair jet-black and gotten her nose pierced, Allen would have been all over her.
Men can be dumbfucks. If I had it to do all over again …
But of course I don’t.
© 2009 Victor Gischler
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
While I loved Gischler's other recent book, Go-Go Girls of the Apocoplypse, I was very disappointed with this one. Gischler spins this tale in a comedic style kind of like the humor in the movies American Werewolf in London or Fright Night. The problem with this book is that he tried to cram too many creatures (werewolves, golems, zombies, vampires, ghosts, witches) and tried too hard to be outrageous that the story itself seemed to suffer. Allen is a college student who is assigned to work on a Kafka project with Professor Evergreen over the summer in Prague. At the party before he encounters Cassandra (who is obviously a vampire), Evergreen's wife who enchants him. Meanwhile, one of the party goers has his head torn from his body in an apparent animal attack. Allen also encounters the mysterious Father Paul, who gives him a gift of an expensive silver cross (huh cross for vampires, silver werewolves, yeah that's it). The story jumps back and forth to Europe where a Golem is sent to attack someone and rips his head off (again?). This part of the story is narrated by the ghost of an alchemist from the 1500's (he understands modern English?). When Allen gets to Prague he is kidnapped by a trio of witches and shot at by a machine gun toting Father Paul (how did he get there? Seems he is a member of some sort of commando Jesuit priest group). Allen then becomes the person everyone is interested in because he seems to be in the middle of a war to obtain a powerful stone. Allen has to deal with one of the witches, his semi-girlfriend (who has her own secret) and Cassandra. Sounds confusing? It is. The biggest saving grace to the book is that it was a fairly quick read.
Funny as hell
Go to calenders first result
word choice made reading the book "work", instead of fun. The thing that made me put down the book was how the story line was structured, or broken. Just too much work to follow the character development.
Brought to you by OBS Staffer Katie Summary Allen is a hapless grad student on the verge of academic probation at Gothic State University, an odd little institution on the rocky Pacific shores of Oregon. There is not much that can be done to salvage his GPA-except to redeem himself by accompanying the eccentric Dr. Evergreen and his cold, enigmatic wife on a research trip to Prague. Allen is none too excited to spend the summer with a professor known campus wide as a cranky taskmaster who stinks of bad cigars and gin-but Dr. Evergreen ends up being the least of his problems. Narrated by the all-knowing ghost of long-dead alchemist and conman Edward Kelley. Like Edward Kelly years ago, Allen simply doesn't realize what he's getting into, and an unforgettable cast of characters adds to the chaos. There's a trio of witches who may not actually have magical powers, a gun-toting squad of Jesuit priests set on doing the will of the Church, and Allen's best friend Penny-the pretty girl-next-door who also happens to be a werewolf. A deranged sorcerer and supernatural seductress add to the danger of a quest for an ancient device with the capacity to restore life itself. Summary via - http://www.vampireagogo.com/ Review I haven't read a truly 'laugh out loud' book in a very long time. Lately its been all romance for me. When my aunt gave me Vampire a Go Go, I didn't think I would like it, but boy was I wrong. Victor Gischler takes us on an action packed journey through Prague. Where the main character Allen finds him self the interest of everyone there. Allen thinking that he was only in Prague to help the Doctor do some research, finds him self in the middle of a hunt for the philosophers stone. Being seduced and kidnapped by a few witches, almost killed by a machine gun carrying priest, Allen just wants to go home, but hes to involved. I really enjoyed the little bit of history that was added into the story. Of course it's not all fact, but it's obvious that Victor Gishler did some kind of research while writing. Vampire a Go Go is a lot of lighthearted fun. Is this a must read, no not really. Are there some mistake, yes, dialog isn't great and you don't really get to know the characters. But it will make you laugh and get some insight on some Renaissance history.
Gothic State University grad student blew off the semester when he met Brenda Cole. After she dumped him and he groveled but failed to win her back he finally moved on. His adviser Professor Carpenter and her 122 birds named Admiral Snodgrass say he can salvage his student status by accompanying notoriously known hard-ass Professor Evergreen and his wife on a research prject at a castle in Prague. Although his love is the Bronte sisters perhaps after Brenda's tattoos, Allen absolutely agrees. In the Czech republic, Allen finds nothing going right as the Battle Jesuits Society of Witches (and one vampire) attack their party. He also concludes that Evergreen seeks the legendary philosopher's stone that reanimate the dead Not sure where he fits in to everyone's plot except as the fall guy, Allen soon meets Cassandra, Amy the good witch with no power and Penny who says she will earn and own him before the summer is through. Lighthearted fun, VAMPIRE A GO-GO is an enjoyable Prague summer as Allen seems to run into one problem after another as if he is Job. Much of the story line is told by jovial spirited alchemist Edward Kelley or at least his ghost; who moans and groans over the Net's crappy picture of him. The characters are brilliantly developed and seem real (including Allen) so that readers will enjoy the most wonderful summer of Allen's life that is if he survives to the fall. Harriet Klausner