Thursday, July 18, 2013

Alice in Wonderland and the Undead Bar Association

Many themes run through the Undead Bar Association series. One of the clearest is consistent reference to the works of Lewis Carroll. Symbolism and characters from Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass appear in each of the first three Undead Bar Association books, and I plan for that trend to continue throughout the series.

Here's a sample of how Carroll's work is referenced by the UBA:

Maryanne / Mary Ann - in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the White Rabbit mistakes Alice for his maid Mary Ann. In the Undead Bar Association series, the main character is named Maryanne. The coincidence is not lost on some of her literary minded acquaintances. Consider this passage from UBA Book 3, Binding Deceit:

“Tell me, Maryanne,” the vampire said; “Is Robert your white rabbit, here to lead our little Alice down the rabbit hole of my black soul?”

Smiling grimly, I said, “No, I already met the white rabbit.”

“Are you sure? Robert fit the part so well, I thought.”

“Oh, I'm positive. The white rabbit called me Alice when we met; later he called me Maryanne, scolded me for not shutting a door, and told me to clean up someone else's mess. Proof positive to me,” I said dryly, recalling my first months in Dallas.

Phil / White Rabbit - the White Rabbit referred to by Maryanne is Phil, a court investigator and vampire shadow working in Dallas, Texas. Maryanne first meets Phil in Book 2, Shadowed Demise:

Phil handed me a silver key; pressed it into my palm.

“What's this?” I asked.

“Let's call you Alice, and say that Dallas is Wonderland. That's your key to the rabbit hole. It's a green metal door in the Kirby's basement, past the laundry room.”

“And who are you supposed to be, the white rabbit?”

“Oh, sure. All white rabbits with hats are named Philip or Thomas. You didn't know that?”

He turned abruptly and walked away, leaving the courtroom.

“Wait, when am I supposed to go down there?” I asked.
Phil was already gone.

The Rabbit Hole - In Binding Deceit, "rabbit hole" is bartender Robert's pet phrase for "weird stuff is going down". That phrase and other Lewis Carroll references it calls to mind form the beginning of Robert and Maryanne's friendship.

Dr. Bricks and Robert / The Mad Hatter and the March Hare - Maryanne declares in Binding Deceit that Dr. Bricks is the Mad Hatter and his son Robert is the March Hare. It's not the nicest remark she could make, but given the secrets Maryanne knows about the Bricks, it makes sense.

Jabberwocky / Inceput vampire - A new vampire is introduced in Binding Deceit, one who presents a very real and personal threat to Maryanne. Being the Texas panhandle gal she is, Maryanne doesn't back down easily:

“Maybe you are the jabberwocky,” I said with deadly calm; “If I ever take your head off, snicker-snack, with a vorpal blade, we'll know it's true. You'll sure as hell know. Now, get off this damn train of nonsense and back to the subject at hand: sfi vows.”

White kitten - This is the most subtle Carroll reference in the series thus far, and it's in the first UBA book, Matriculated Death.

At the beginning of Alice Through the Looking Glass, Alice says: "One thing was certain, that the white kitten had had nothing to do with it ..."

The same holds true in Matriculated Death - the white kitten had nothing to do with it. Nothing at all.

So, be on the lookout  for more references to the works of Lewis Carroll in the Undead Bar Association Series. You're sure to find them. After all, in the words of a certain cat,

"We're all mad here."