Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Broadway Melody of 1999


Broadway Melody of 1999
by Robert Steiner

Paperback
1993
Price: $10.95

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Broadway Melody of 1999, an opulent and profound tour de farce, unites figures from film, literature, and life in a phantasmagoric Christmas Eve night at the opera. Set in a snowbound metropolis where bombs explode for no apparent reason, Broadway Melody scripts the efforts of an exhausted, frail Dracula to find a new bride. Structured as a film whose editor has spliced together fragments of horror and musical classics, the novel features mass murder in the land of Oz, Quasimodo's efforts to rescue the condemned Esmerelda, Dr. Frankenstein's search for a suitable cadaver, and the ultimate confrontation between two famous prowlers of the night - the jaded, bony vampire, Dracula, and his enthusiastic double, the Phantom of the Opera, together for the first time.

And still there's more to come: the quest for identities sexual, philosophical, and historical. In the opera itself performers and their roles overlap, beggars become kings, princes turn to ponies, and soldiers and lovers discover they are merely the paintings in which they appear. There lurks as well a writer in search of characters. Steiner's new novel-cum-film dreams its origin out of Faust, remindind us that knowledge and the books it is found in provide dangerous models for life.

"Dramatic events are subtly intertwined with the quotidian, giving them a spellbinding power. The novel [Dread] is consistently absorbing." —New York Times Book Review

"Robert Steiner… has written an astonishing work… in a style dark and gorgeous. [He] is a master of the ensual." —Los Angeles Times

"He is the important work of the rebel in paradise - reinventing passion."—Le Nouvel Observateur

"Language is beautiful, passionate, so full of ellipses that the reader nearly bursts trying to follow them." —Le Monde

"Steiner's prose is taut, his imagery … striking and original. He makes the world tilt, provides a new way of seeing." —North American Review

Excerpt


When now he flies, eager to regain sight of the opera house, Imp muses on the vastness of the universe, the paradoxical death and life of distant stars, the majesty of immortality that sets him at one with the cosmos - the whole metaphysical train rushes towards him like the face of the god that has cursed and blessed him in the same breath. Is it god racing at him, screeching as he comes, flapping enormous feathered winds? Speeding nearer, lowering his beaked face, rolling his great black eyes, and at the last instant before a collision banking swiftly left, the hoary fowl as large as a battleship squawks so loudly that the sound sends Imp tumbling across the night sky. He sees Japanese fighter planes in pursuit of the beast, kamikazes doomed to die in order to save the world. But who would save him? Who would want to?