Fred Saberhagen (1930-2007) was an American SF writer. His works include the science fiction Berserker series, in which the galaxy is threatened by near-unstoppable self-replicating war machines; the fantasy Ardneh series (including the Empire of the East trilogy and the Books of Swords); and a series of vampire novels beginning with The Dracula Tape, in which the world's most infamous vampire sets the record straight about the events of Dracula.
See also the author's official website - SABERHAGEN'S WORLDS of SF and FANTASY.
- The All-Concealing "I": Early chapters of The Holmes-Dracula File obscure the identity of the central character, calling him 'the old man' instead. Not until the fifth chapter does the novel switch from third to first person, revealing that 'the old man' is not only a vampire, Dracula himself, but the narrator as well.
- Heel Face Turn: In Empire of the East, Lord Chup served the evil Empire of the title faithfully ... until one of its warlords demanded: "You must be for once not brave, but cowardly.... It will be difficult only once. You must learn to cause pain, for the sake of nothing but causing pain. Only thus will you be bound to us entirely." Then he killed off a major demon, turning the tide of a critical battle.
- Magic Versus Science: In Empire of the East, most high technology ceased functioning because the very laws of physics had been changed by a powerful supercomputer in order to prevent a nuclear war from destroying humanity, which in turn made magic possible, and indeed prevalent. By the end of the trilogy, some balance had been restored, and magic and technology could more easily function side-by-side.
- No Man of Woman Born: In Empire of the East, one character threatens to slay another "not by day or night, neither with the staff nor with the bow, neither with the palm of the hand nor with the fist, neither with the wet nor with the dry." This is said to be a repeat of an old prophecy in which the god Indra slew the demon Namuci "in the morning twilight, by sprinkling over him the foam of the sea." The repeat comes true when its target is asphyxiated by the foam of a fire extinguisher at sunset.
- Novelization: Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stokers Dracula, by Fred Saberhagen.
- Our Vampires Are Different
- Perspective Flip: The Frankenstein Papers.
- Population Control: A Twenty Minutes Into the Future book where Stripperific clothing and casual sex are societal norms but couples are limited to two offspring, with severe penalties for violations.
- Public Domain Character: Very many in the vampire series, including the obvious (Dracula), and the not-so-obvious (Sherlock Holmes).
- Ragnarok Proofing: In Empire of the East, set thousands of years After the End, the heroes search for a magic metal elephant to help them in the war. The elephant turns out to be a mostly operational nuclear-powered battle tank from before the nuclear holocaust. The armament is dead and the chemical-protective gear crumbles when touched, but the controls still light up, the engine roars, and none of the drive mechanism is broken. This is rare enough on a tank that hasn't been maintained since last week.
- Recursive Adaptation: His novelization of the film Bram Stokers Dracula.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: The Holmes-Dracula File features the famous rodent Noodle Incident of the Sherlock Holmes series, the Giant Rat of Sumatra.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: In Empire of the East, the Demon-Prince Orcus, who founded the titular Empire, was imprisoned under the earth by his own lieutenants, John Ominor and Wood, in a coup. Eventually, Wood convinces Ominor that they should release Orcus, believing that only Orcus has the power to match Ardneh, and believing that they can keep Orcus controlled.
- Thanatos Gambit: Ardneh's plan in Empire of the East.
- Virgin Power: In the setting of Empire of the East, some wizards, both male and female, lose some or all of their power if they lose their virginity. Many do not, and, indeed, some are quite promiscuous with no ill effects, but there is no explanation of why some do and some don't.