Author Topic: Vampire lit  (Read 2710 times)

Offline TanyaJ

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Vampire lit
« on: December 22, 2015, 09:34:15 PM »
Looking through the Amazon list of vampire books it seems to me that most of the stuff about these days is pretty yucky - vampire romance etc etc...
It reminds me of a summing up of Shades of Grey I read describing it as "Ds for vanillas". Sounds about right.
Are there no readers any more for proper gothic vampire stories?
There must be some taste for it as shows like Supernatural and The Strain work well on the telly. Doubtless the world of publishing has its own rules, as ever...

Best wishes

Tanya


Offline Djibril

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2015, 09:46:16 PM »
"Readers" and "publishers" are not the same thing, and don't have the same tastes or habits.

That publishers usually claim to be putting out what they expect readers to buy is both disingenuous and explains the difference quite clearly. Readers can only read what publishers put out (self-pubbed books and small presses have a tiny fraction of the reach that booksellers do), so publishers aren't putting out what they think readers want, they're dictating what readers can have access to.

Having said that, I don't think the wealth of “yucky” paranormal romance and other crossover or populist stuff does the “hard genre” title any harm--maybe it makes it a bit harder for us to find? I bet people here could recommend a dozen recent proper gothic vampire novels…
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Offline TanyaJ

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2015, 11:02:24 PM »
I agree with much of that.

As someone who has had a book "properly" published (non fiction, British Rail: The Nation's Railway) my experience is that the reach and effect  of booksellers like Waterstone's is overrated.
I have reached the conclusion that by far the most important thing is getting books into libraries - most people buy books they have already read, for themselves or as gifts etc. People have written to me saying how much they enjoyed my book having borrowed it from the library and are now going to buy it. Self and small presses dont have ready access to getting books into libraries - this is their primary disadvantage, i believe.

Can someone point me to a great recent vampire book?

Tanya

Offline Djibril

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2015, 11:30:11 PM »
Yeah, I wouldn't especially rate brick-n-mortar booksellers for doing much for your book (although it's nice to see it on the shelf), but big publishers can also get decent promotion, do SEO with Amazon search, basically make your book findable in all the places people look for books they haven't heard of yet. How much you reckon they pay to get your book higher circulation in the "customers who liked this also liked" section?

Let's see if we get more gothic vampire recommendations here or on Twitter! :)
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Offline TanyaJ

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2015, 12:07:09 AM »
It's very easy to be cynical, Djibrill - and don't we just love it!  :o

Anyway, what are you doing up at this time of night? (note that in the context of the discussion, this is a leading Q!)

Tanya

Offline Djibril

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2015, 12:26:13 AM »
Haha! Off work, and a night owl. Will get later and later over the next two weeks, then suffer when I have to start commuting again.

I have one recommendation so far from Twitter. Will compile everything that's come in by morning and post it here. :) ’Night!
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Offline Djibril

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2015, 02:46:20 PM »
The recommendations in so far from Twitter:

  • T. Frohock's Los Nefilim series
  • Tananarive Due's African Immortals series, starting with My Soul To Keep
  • Vlad by the late Carlos Fuentes
  • Fred Saberhagen’s The Dracula Tapes
  • Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Saint-Germain series
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Offline DavidJHowe

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2015, 03:41:46 PM »
I'd absolutely suggest Sam Stone's VAMPIRE GENE series of novels. Great, well written texts, very gothic but with a modern twist, and not 'romancy' at all ... there are five in the series so far (KILLING KISS, FUTILE FLAME, DEMON DANCE, HATEFUL HEART and SILENT SAND) with a sixth currently being written and due for publication next year (2016 - JADED JEWEL).

Full disclosure: Sam is my wife, and some might say that I would recommend them (and I also co-run the publishing company which currently publishes them), but they really are an excellent series of novels and well worth a look.

David
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Offline Rolnikov

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2015, 07:23:22 PM »
It seems weird to me sometimes, the way horror spends so much time on vampires. It's as if a quarter of all science fiction was made up of morlock stories.

Offline Nigel Wilson

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2015, 03:09:06 PM »
These things go in phases. I never understood the fascination with vampires. Bram Stoker said most of what was needed to be said. But if we go back forty years or so it was all swords and sorcery. Go back fifty years it was all heavy metal sci-fi. If anything fantasy reflects what is going on culturally in general. Fifty years ago it was the space race. Then in the Seventies we needed escapism. I suppose vampire stories are about the banks and declining disposable incomes. Times change! Whatever next....

Offline TanyaJ

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2015, 08:25:17 PM »
Quote
Full disclosure: Sam is my wife, and some might say that I would recommend them (and I also co-run the publishing company which currently publishes them), but they really are an excellent series of novels and well worth a look.


I have just come from a forum where you get booted off and put on a wall of shame for self-publicising your own books, or presumably, someone you know! I say good luck to you, and tell your wife to keep up what sounds like good work!

Best wishes,

Tanya

Offline TanyaJ

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2015, 08:42:15 PM »
Bram Stoker said all that needed to be said???? ???
I am shocked! shocked!  :o :o :P
I am not even sure that Bram Stoker actually wrote a book about vampires...!
Dracula is a cobbled together piece of tosh, really, that uses the epistolary format long past its sell by date. Stoker also clumsily overdoes the bride/wedding-as-harbinger-of-doom motif, IMO - it actually reminds me of a western, where that is de-rigueur, doubtless due to the western's  19thC origins.
Sheridan Le Fanu's Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter is a much better and closer evocation of the traditional vampire myth. Perhaps "the corporeal revenant" would be a better term here, as Stoker has kind-off defined the meaning of "vampire" to his particular vision.

I have been reading David Keyworth's book Troublesome Corpses, which is highly recommended. I thought I knew something about vampires and vampire myths until I started reading it.

Happy Xmas - dont let the "anti-claus" down your chimney (for Supernatural fans)

Tanya

Offline joshua rainbird

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2015, 04:21:20 PM »
Vampsov by Daniel Ribot published Omnium Gatherum

as the name implies it's set in soviet Russia and is far from mushy
it may not have the Victorian Goth feel but there's plenty of noir
If wishes were horses then we'd all be eating steak.
Jayne Cobb, Firefly.

But ... if fishes were courses then we'd all be eating hake ...

Offline Nigel Wilson

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2015, 09:07:59 PM »
I am pleased to have shocked you Tanya.
What is the traditional vampire myth? Nobody can actually tell me other than express preferences.
What it really is a tradition of the un-dead. This appears in many cultures both pagan and Christian. It is believed to have originated in regions where there were conflicting religious burial traditions, An example is in the Balkans where there was conflict between Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism and Islam.
The blood-sucking part is purely a symbolic statement that the un-dead drain your energies. Traditional creatures such as succubi etc do much the same thing only its more fun.
Mind you I can think of a good number of living people who can drain your energy without it being fun!

Offline TanyaJ

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Re: Vampire lit
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2015, 07:12:08 PM »
oh you did shock me Nigel, oh yes, and I am not easily shocked. I went to a university in the north of England so I have seen a few things, oh yes.... :o ::)

You are of course right that it depends on what you mean by Vampire. This is why I used the term "corporeal revenant", which can also include the zombie...
I think that the modern notion of the vampire really only came about through a combination of Stoker's work and film adaptations. It changed  the appearance and behaviour  of the vampire from a ghastly, cadaverous creature, essentially a beast,  into a charming and sexy man who dressed like a wine waiter. The look of Nosferatu is quite different;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Count_Orlok
Here wikipedia says; "Although based upon Count Dracula, Orlok possesses none of his predecessor's aristocratic charm or seductiveness. He resembles historical folklore accounts of vampires, which were described as walking corpses inhabited by a demonic presence."
Sometimes Wikipedia is wrong, but here it hits it on the mazzard.
The Troublesome Corpses book I referred to above is the very best I have come across on the subject. There is also speculation in some quarters (IIRC M Oldfield Howey's The Encircled Serpent) that the vampire's teeth are derived from serpent lore and are the fangs of the viper. there you have another connection between the zombie (produced by negro ophiolatry, ie snake worship) and the vampire. The two myths have the same root, it would seem. When you combine that with the number of myths that have serpents in tombs (ie Beowulf) you begin to see a pattern.
I think that the issue of the vampire being the result of people being buried in a grave of the "wrong type" of Christianity is a bit of clerical naughtiness grafted on to the myth. Calmet has some fun with the idea, and dismisses it, in The Phantom World.

Tanya
« Last Edit: December 27, 2015, 01:19:35 AM by TanyaJ »