Two friends of mine told me this past weekend that I should see  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and The Raven. As one is about a dead President hunting vampires, and the other is about Edgar Allan Poe helping catch a serial killer, I plan to do so. I also plan to read the book the dead President movie is based on, because I always want to read books they make movies out of, and see those movies. (I know some people think you should always read the book first, but I want to read it and see the movie right now. Since that isn’t possible, I go for whichever I can manage to get access to first.)

It’s always fun to compare books to their movies, even if the movie warps and twists the story in a fashion that makes fans of the book cry themselves to sleep at night (or vice versa). I think one can be bad without damaging the other. And sometimes, they are both spectacular.

For example, I adore all five books of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. I own them in one weighty hardback, and read the whole thing about once a year. When I saw the movie in theaters, and the opening credits had the dolphins signing “So Long and Thanks for all the Fish” I laughed.  Even now, remembering it makes me smile.

And if both book and movie are terrible, I’ll have learned something.

As for the second movie, I’m a fan of Poe. In fact, tintinnabulation is a favorite word of mine, and has been since at least the creative writing class I took in middle school. (Part of the reason is the way it sounds, so go listen to it if you don’t know how it’s pronounced.) This fondness wasn’t destroyed by the audio recording of The Bells played in my high school senior English class, where the person doing the reading raised and lowered their voice with such dramatically exaggerated changes in pitch that pretty much the whole class got the giggles.

Poe was still around in college, probably because I majored in English. I was also part of an English Honor Society, and the Treasurer, because no one does math quite as well as English majors. (Actually, I’m being unfair to my friends, who as far as I know have never carried an invisible one like I have.) We did a fundraiser selling paint-your-own pumpkins near Halloween, which I enjoyed immensely, so I volunteered to work the table several times.

I painted a few pumpkins to sell to people who didn't want to paint their own. This made me especially happy because I was painting pumpkins for free, and we still got money for the treasury.

A friend of mine applied a paper raven stencil to her pumpkin, with the level of success you’d expect when trying to hold a stencil flat to the surface of a round, creased object. I think someone called it a ‘black chicken.’ Whether I volunteered or she asked for help I can’t recall, but I fixed the outline, added an eye and a silver line to define the wings, and a red ‘Nevermore’ to the opposite side. Later, she told me the pumpkin had rotted, and she’d had to throw it out. This was unfortunate because she’d proudly displayed it in her office until its date with the trash can. So I bought a black picture frame and made her this:


When she saw my surprise raven pumpkin replacement, she squealed so loudly the professor from the office across the hall came over to see if there was a puppy in there again. So I considered it a job well done.

If anyone sees the movie(s) or reads the book, you should tell me in a non-spoiler fashion what you think about it/them.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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