Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts


Love and Romanpunk is an ambitious era-spanning collection of four short stories tied together by a few central themes: history and who writes it, the story of a particular family, Romans and the Romanesque, vampires or “lamia” (a variant thereof), and power and womanhood. In the first story, “Julia Agrippina’s Secret Family Bestiary,” the eponymous Julia Agrippina, kin to Emperors Claudius, Nero, and Caligula (sometimes more than kin and less than kind, given that her uncle Claudius marries her against her wishes and both he and her son want her dead at points), gives us the lost, true testament of her family history, composed on the eve of her death. It has a lot more monsters than the official record. In the second story, “Lamia Victoriana,” the Wollstonecraft sisters become romantically embroiled with a pair of vampiric siblings. In the third, “The Patrician,” Clea Majora, a young Australian woman living in a neo-Roman tourist trap village meets Julius, the nephew of Julia Agrippina. Julius is doomed to immortality—at least until he can successfully kill off all the remaining Roman monsters. They continue to meet throughout Clea’s life. In the final story, “Last of the Romanpunks,” Clea’s grandson Sebastian deals with an uprising led by his crazed ex-girlfriend Eloise, who’s a bit too into “Romanpunk” and, more problematically, fancies herself the new vampire overlord of Earth.

Full review here


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