Discussion: Vampires

(I haven’t replied yet to last week’s discussion but I assure you I’ll be replying to all those wonderful comments later tonight after work.)

Vampires were huge a few years ago with the popularity of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series.  Personally I scoff at sparkly vampires but that’s probably because I do love myself a good vampire.  Cold, calculating killing machines are my favourite but I love Anne Rice’s novels as well as some of the newer vampire works like Cameron’s Law.  So basically I do appreciate good vampires in fiction but I’m not a fanatic that says all vampires have to be like [x].  I know at a very basic level the origins of vampires in literature but I’m no expert on it.

So what do you think of vampires in general?  They were very overdone a few years ago with the Twilight craze but what do you think of their representation in fiction now?  Are they still overdone, especially in YA?  Do you like vampires in fiction or are you more inclined toward some other supernatural creature?  If so, do you have a favourite version of vampire?

14 comments

  1. thebookshelfblogger

    Like you, I remember the vampire craze and being very annoyed with it. As we have gotten out of that phase in literature, I don’t mind a vampire book every now and then. In fact, I crave them from time to time. However, I only like the bloodthirsty sadistic vampires, none of that sparkly over-emotional stuff. Great discussion!

    • Carrie Slager

      Thanks!

      Yeah I’m not huge into vampires but I do like a good vampire story every now and then. The Twilight craze was a little annoying but at least it got people who wouldn’t normally read, reading. That’s basically the only upside I can see from the craze. 🙂

  2. patricksponaugle

    I think vampires are fine, since there’s a wide variety of vampires, with myths and rules for their behavior, powers, and weaknesses that can vary from story to story, so there is still chances for surprises, but there’s also a comfort in reading about them because they’re familiar.

    • Carrie Slager

      That’s very true. I like when authors stick to vampire traditions but also add in their own little quirks. Mixing in the old with the new is usually how the best stories are told.

  3. Megan.S

    I’m pretty outspoken on this topic, and I have to say that I’m a big fan of vampires in fiction–as long as it’s done well.

    Stephenie Meyer, while trying to reinvent the vampire, took a wrong turn by trying to make them cuddly and friendly. At their core, vampires are monsters. They’re killers. They feed on human blood to survive, unless you’re in the Twilight or Vampire Diaries universes.

    When you look back at the origin of vampires, regardless of what culture, there’s always a constant. They are undead creatures, and as such, are supposed to be terrifying. In the time of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, vampires were creatures lurking in the night, waiting for their next victims. Today, their romantic leads, more soft and cuddly than menacing and intimidating.

    While I do believe that it’s important to continue to reinvent and reimagine the past and strong literary figures or characters, there’s something to be said about keeping close to home. And that’s probably why I’m a big fan of Anne Rice. She portrays vampires, and now werewolves, in a way that builds upon the origin myths rather than destroying them. She weaves the brutality and raw nature of these creatures with the human emotions they had before their deaths or transformations. She doesn’t discount the past, and includes it in her writing.

    Other authors like J.R. Ward are taking a completely different approach and making them a unique race, one that isn’t dead, but one that lives alongside humans. They still follow many of the traditional vampire rules, like not being able to go out in the sun and surviving on blood. But there’s a twist that keeps the idea of vampires entertaining and fresh without becoming something that is unrecognizable.

    Great topic, Carrie!

    • Carrie Slager

      Exactly! She tried to make vampires friendly and not at all dangerous, which they’re really not. Say what you will about Anne Rice’s vampires, at least they’re cold-blooded killers at heart and they have some emotional depth at the same time.

      I haven’t actually read anything by J. R. Ward but thanks for bringing a new author to my attention. I do love a good vampire story, after all!

  4. Rabindranauth

    Oh dear gods, I think you touched a nerve. I just had to erase my entire original comment because when I re-read it, I wasn’t comfortable posting something with that amount of vitriol, despite it not targeting anyone.

    Anyways, my take on this: vamps have always been prevalent in fantasy, occasionally authors like Anne Rice [I hope your reviews of her books weren’t bad, by the way, or the “anti-bullying group” she supports are going to find them, attack you, and if they can, post all your personal information online. STGRB folk are nuts.] , Stephanie Meyer and Charlaine Harris write a fangbanger book it becomes a craze among the general reading audience.

    My personal views on them are very simple; as a very big fan of Dracula, I really hate the romanticized sexuality of them because, as a result of these sporadic crazes and authors churning out their own sex fantasies with vampires in the hopes of hitting it big and becoming the next big thing in fangbanger culture, it’s very, very hard to come across good vampire fiction that truly pays homage to them. If you look for a “good vampire book” online, 99% of what you get back is about fangbanging. And THAT is what I hate about it. These things aren’t legendary sex machines, they’re vicious, violent, unstoppable forces of nature literally designed to prey on humans. They’re inhuman, alien, ancient and completely terrifying.

    So far, the only two vampire books that I’ve found worth reading, if you’re looking for vampires like this are Stoker’s Dracula, and Martin’s Fevre Dream. People keep telling me I want to try Interview with a Vampire, but between Anne Rice’s vocal support of a group that believes reviewers should do nothing other than write very good reviews of their books, no matter how terrible we find them, who’re willing to go to such vicious lengths against people, and the clear romanticism of them I saw in Queen of the Damned, I don’t think I’m going to be doing that.

    • Carrie Slager

      Never be afraid of expressing your honest opinion here, Rabindranauth (as long as it’s not hateful toward someone). I definitely welcome all points of views.

      Vampires are largely a matter of personal preference. Some people like Dracula, others like Twilight. It all comes down to your personal likes and dislikes, really. You’re very much into the traditional vampire and I think that’s awesome. I like a little more modern vampire but one with all of the characteristics of the old-fashioned vampires. And that’s fine.

      Thanks for the recommendations!

  5. theywalkthenight

    Indeed a great article. I recently read the Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black and it was awesome. Here’s a book/novel that to me seems like a sort of homage to all of the earlier works. Do check it out if you have the time…

  6. Pingback: Weekly Recap| May 18-24, 2014 | Oh, the Books!
  7. AlyssaZ

    Yup, I still love vampires! I think they were crazy overdone for a time there, but I see that trend rapidly decreasing. Now a lot of readers scoff at the vampire books and won’t read them!
    Also, I know a lot of people hated Meyers on the simple fact that her vampires sparkled, but I really wonder why. I may not have been totally into that idea, but I could appreciate the author’s attempt to put a new (feminine!) spin on a creature that is centuries old. I love when an author tries to reinvent something, that is what the creative process should be about, always reimagining and wondering! Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but I can still appreciate the attempt

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