When I dashed off my jokey tag-line at the start of the Milan Kundera book review a few months back, I was dimly aware that I was paraphrasing (in addition to Flash Gordon) something I'd actually read on the back of a book way back in the dim and distant past.
there's this guy, Bernard, and he only has fourteen hours to save the Earth! There's only one problem: HE HASN'T GOT A HEAD.Brian Lumley, author of various lurid supernatural fantasy novels, mainly in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The series of novels he's most famous for is the Necroscope series, and it occurred to me during the conversation that it was on the back of one of these that I'd seen the blurb that I nicked the parodic version above from (though frankly, as you'll see below, I've toned it down somewhat if anything).
The book in question is the second in the series, titled Necroscope II: Wamphyri! That's not my exclamation mark, it's part of the title. Sadly I can't find a back cover image to go with the front cover one reproduced here, but both that Amazon page and Lumley's own website reproduce the blurb originally printed thereon:
THINGS IN THE GROUND THINKING THEIR THOUGHTS…Tremendous. I should add that I've never read any of these books, as they always seemed a bit on the pulpy and ludicrous side, and furthermore shading over into the realms of fantasy, something I've always steered clear of. Of course there is at best a fuzzy and ill-defined line between what you might call supernatural horror and fantasy, both of which are predicated on the existence of some sort of supernatural realm in a way that, for instance, science fiction isn't. I was never a big consumer of horror fiction outside of Stephen King (very little of whose output, I would contend, really falls into that category) and the occasional James Herbert anyway.
…Thoughts they can express only through Harry Keogh, Necroscope. For that's Harry's talent, and his burden: he reads thoughts of the dead in their graves – and the thoughts of the UNdead!. Except…the undead are thinking things that are totally – unthinkable!
Yulian Bodescu's mother fainted at the tomb of Thibor Ferenczy, vampire. Corrupt from birth, now Yulian feels a strange compulsion: to discover his real father and spread his works abroad. Only Harry Keogh, prisoner of the metaphysical Möbius Continuum, can stop him. Harry's other big problem is this:
HE DOESN'T HAVE A BODY!
I should also make clear that to the best of my knowledge Brian Lumley is not in any way related to Joanna Lumley, and is therefore unlikely to be able to, so to speak, shed any light on her anus.