This blog doesn’t have anything to do with my upcoming release–and it probably only stems from the fact that I am trying to avoid doing some other work that I should really get done–but let me say this: I love vampires. Still, right now, I wouldn’t write a vampire story with a ten-foot pole.
What do I love about vampires. The answer to that should really be, what’s not to love. Super-human powers, eternal youth and beauty (if they are lookers in life–otherwise it’s an eternity of hideousness, and that is just unfortunate), even the blood-sucking thing can be so000000….creepily cool, if it’s done the right way. I love vampires so much that I will read any vampire novel that I can lay my hands on (for the most part); I will watch any vampire movie, at least once, no matter how bad it is (again, for the most part); I have researched them (did you know, for instance, that there are myths about vampire like creatures that go all the way back to ancient Egypt?); heck, I even taught a class about them once (yes, a whole semester).
So why won’t I write about them. In a word, saturation and banality. Ok, that is two words.
First: saturation. There is just so much out there right now, particularly if you look at the shelves of the YA sections in your local bookstore. There is the Blue Bloods series, by Melissa De La Cruz, which I actually have enjoyed so far. There is the Vampire Academy series and the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, which I haven’t read yet. And, of course, there is the ubiquitous Twilight series. There is a lot of vampire stuff out there, and this does not even begin to list what’s going on the adult’s section.
Second: Banality. (And I know that I am not the only one that has said this; I have seen other blogs about it.) The beauty of the vampire is that it has always been this creature through which to explore the taboo; the things that society most fears. In Carmilla, there were the dual taboos of empowered girls and unsanctioned romances. In Dracula, there was the tension between industry and tradition, coupled with the fear of the impact of foreign immigrants on British society. Fledgling tackled different the issues of race and the impacts of scientific advancements, such as cloning (oh, I always thought that Butler had more to say on the matter. Her untimely passing was unfortunate). What taboos do these new vampire literatures explore? I don’t see it. I feel like, in many ways, a lot on what I am seeing are vamps with their incisors pulled out, ala that scene from Blade. These vamps have no bite.
And, I have to be honest, it makes me kind of sad. Part of the thrill of the vampire novel, for me anyway, has always been the ways that vampires have walked that fine line between what is permissable and what is forbidden, all while nudging the line just a little (though I hope that one of the taboos that Butler brings up in her novel will never, ever be on the right side of permissable…read for yourself to find out what I mean) or even jumping right over the edge. (This probably has something to do with the fact that the vampire, itself, is a liminal creature–caught between life and death; that which we know and that which we fear.) It’s just no fun for me to read vampire novels that don’t challenge, in some way, my assumptions.
So, all of that is to say that I will one day write a vampire novel. It will be a novel, I hope that will return to the tradition of vampire as boundary pusher, like the novels that I have loved. Oh, yeah, and it probably won’t be YA.
Next up…why shape-shifters need love too. 🙂