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Vampires across different genres... Love 'em, hate 'em?
Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 2:08 PM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438

I know, I know - after TWILIGHT, TRUE BLOOD, and the proliferation of sexy vampire novels, it seems like we've had enough of the toothy creatures. 

Still, vampires live in genres other than young adult PR or sexy urban fantasy. There are vampires in science fiction (THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin), supernatural thriller (THE HISTORIAN by Elizabeth Kostova), and many more!

So, what are you favorite and least favorite iterations of vampire lore out there? And what role does GENRE play?
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 3:26 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 356

This is a pretty good discussion starter.

There are some great comedic vampire novels as well, like Christopher Moore's BITE ME and Andrew Fox's FAT WHITE VAMPIRE BLUES.

I'm partial to Richard Matheson's I AM LEGEND, which is the basis for the film OMEGA MAN and the film I Am Legend starring Will Smith. SCARY ASS VAMPIRES!

I personally blame Anne Rice for starting the whole broody sexy vampire with a conscience trend. =)

And Stephen King's vampires from SALEM'S LOT scared the bejesus out of me as a kid.

Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 3:47 PM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438

HA HA HA! Blame it on Anne Rice... 
LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Monday, July 2, 2012 10:09 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662

Colleen, it's great for you to include Moore's vampire novels. (There's three of them, BLOOD SUCKING FIENDS, YOU SUCK, AND BITE ME.) I love his work.

Now I have not read many novels of varying genre with vampires due to the fact that I have a porphyria, or a vampire disease. It's not much fun reading about it when you live it... kinda. It's also not very sexy.

That said, I put vampires in the second book of my fantasy series, for giggles. 
Timothy Maguire
Posted: Friday, July 13, 2012 4:02 PM
Joined: 8/13/2011
Posts: 272

I've got to admit that vampires aren't my cup of tea to be honest. They tend to lend themselves to being 'supernatural' without being 'monsters' better than most. Still, used well, they make great characters, it's just that tortured and angsty is very easy to get wrong.

Vampires can often be interesting in science fiction as you start to have to explain why. There's a wonderful video I saw a few years ago that detailed a (fictional) company's discovery of vampiric DNA in humans. The interesting bit is how they define all the vampire traits. The allergy to crosses is due to a very specific form of epilepsy (specifically, right angles), their tendency to sleep for long periods is to ensure they don't wipe their food source out, etc. Another fun take's from Larry Niven's RINGWORLD stories, where they're a non-sentient off-shoot of humanity that preys on them.

One take on vamiprism I love is from Jim Butcher's DRESDEN FILES, where he has four different kinds of vampires (White, Black, Red and Jade Courts). As they're urban fantasy, there's not a lot of pure evil in there (excepting the Black Court), running a lot more on shades of grey and individual choices, though it's always made clear that they are predators, no matter what they might say.

Finally, there has to be an obligatory GEEKOMANCY reference. In that, while we don't see any vampires, it's pointed out that TWILIGHT has made all the vampires into angsty failures and no one's entirely sure if Stephanie Meyer did it deliberately.

Jay Greenstein
Posted: Friday, July 13, 2012 8:25 PM

I dunno. I have problems with vampires because they require severe suspension of disbelief in so many aspects: First we have to go back over one hundred years, to believing that there’s something magical about blood that can make someone super strong, but doesn’t have that effect on the one who makes the blood.

Next, we have to believe that someone dead can move about using muscles that don’t have a metabolism, or blood delivering nutrients—yet be stronger and have the ability to repair physical damage almost instantly.

And then you have to believe that sunlight has magical properties not prevented by SPF 200 sunblock. And that doesn’t begin to address how a 180 lb man can morph into a two pound bat (or maybe how a two pound bat can morph into a hollow 2 lb man)

And then there’s the small problem of the blood. Somehow, it goes to the stomach and is digested, we assume, yet still must be human blood? That’s just silly. The only alternative is hollow fangs. But with them you face “I’m sorry…I would take your blood, but at the moment my fangs are clogged with bubble gum.”

As for me, my vampires are living people, with a logical reason for the condition, and a need to obey physical law. Harder to write, but lots of fun. For one thing, you get to put the fangs where they belong, into the tongue, so they can feel for a pulse and actually hit the target. That also solves the problem of having chewing-gum plug their fangs. 

Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2012 9:46 AM
Joined: 11/24/2011
Posts: 4

The core problem is not with vampires I think but with nearly all paranormal creatures in recent literature. It stems from the fact that the very reason for their existence in folklore is lost.

For Vampires as an example, the main reason they persisted in so many mythologies and stories is not because vampires are realistic or super awesome, it is because at the heart of their idea is one of a predatory, almost parasitic creature.

Human's are the top of the food chain, therefore a creature that can prey on us, feed on us like we feed on animals, is naturally discomfiting. We need only look at films like Predator or Alien films to see science fiction parallels. Similarly, early changes to the mythos of vampires, for example that they could bewitch and charm humans before feeding on them, is just another element of this.

Another example is werewolves. They aren't representative of some foolish medieval belief that humans can change into animals. Rather they're a personification of the beast within, the idea that if one truly loses control you can become the anything, a monster that values neither life nor love or compassion. The reason they were scary was not because of how they looked, or even what they did, it’s what they represented.

The real problem is that paranormal and mythical creatures no longer represent these things. Instead their paranormal powers are used to airbrush inherent 'problems' of being human. They're unnaturally attractive, always physically fit, ageless, they have no need to worry about rejection or courtship because they have some in built power that lets them charm people. These problems don't come from the preceding mythos they come from the writer, and indeed to a degree the reader. Both of them wanting a man or woman so perfect that no human could ever fill that role. Instead we get creatures put in their place, and for some reason their paranormal status allows people to accept an unnaturally perfect  character.

Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012 10:15 AM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438

"The real problem is that paranormal and mythical creatures no
longer represent these things. Instead their paranormal powers are used
to airbrush inherent 'problems' of being human.

Nicely put, Theasion. I believe that ALL paranormal creatures in some way highlight/expound upon what is means to be human, but I agree that this analysis has become a bit less rigorous with recent incarnations of vampires in urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012 11:49 AM
"The real problem is that paranormal and mythical creatures no longer represent these things. Instead their paranormal powers are used to airbrush inherent 'problems' of being human."

If you listen to readers, though, they're begging for new, different types of vampires. They're tired of the same old Dracula-mythos types.

Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012 12:05 PM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438

Good point, Mari. Otherwise, why would publishers continue to invest in these kinds of narratives? Clearly, there is a demand for "new, different types of vampires."

And actually, do you have any recommendations?

Laura Dwyer
Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012 3:19 PM
Joined: 1/10/2012
Posts: 192

Great discussion. And I'd love to be the one to think up some "new breed" of vampires. In my fantasy work, they wear clothes and walk upright, but in the end, they're monsters. They're unapologetic about it. Original? No, not even close. But I refuse to make mine anything remotely resembling tousled hair, inhuman beauty and *shudder* sparkly skin. 

Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012 8:24 PM
Nevena, unfortunately I don't have any recommendations. I'm still looking, myself.

Posted: Saturday, July 21, 2012 10:53 PM
i can't believe i didn't think of Tonya Huff's "Blood Books". Henry Fitzroy is a different kind of vampire, although some of the others who show up along the way are the same ole Bram Stoker type - he stresses that they all have their quirks. lol Henry's fun; he writes romance novels.

Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012 11:08 AM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438

Sweet. I'll check it out. Thanks, Mari.
Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013 10:32 PM
Joined: 6/27/2013
Posts: 7

I gotta admit Im partiel to funny romances involving vampires just because i find it realistically hard to believe that every vampire just happens to have sex appeal and knows it. I mean I'm a house wife short and stout. Turn me immortal and exactly how does my stature suddenly go to long legged pole dancer? I liked how to marry a rich vampire, and single white vampire and those types. but I also like horror where the undead are just that..the undead. I just feel like alot of the romances on vampires is following a very boring guideline with different names and that would be terribly sad to see it come down to that you know? Anyone agree?

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