Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Christopher Pike, Goodreads, Pet Sematary, True Blood, Twilight, Vampire A to Z, vampire teen fiction, Vampirella
Well! We are almost there. This is day 6 of 7 on our Vampire A to Z.
In the past three years, we have featured 72 different things vampire through this annual feature.
I have to admit, I didn’t think I had it in me.
But we’re not done! There’s eight more to get through and here’s today’s four:
S is for Sita, Christopher Pike’s last vampire.
I discovered Christopher Pike – aka Kevin McFadden – in junior high. Author of many teen thrillers, at that stage I tried to read everything he’d written.
However, I apparently abandoned him for the more mature drama of V.C. Andrews and Danielle Steel before he started his vampire series in 1994 – which was well before that craze formally hit and they renamed the Young Adult section of the library.
But last year, one of my favourite bloggers posted about her love for this series. So I picked it up.
First? The series is tricky on the math front. Six original books were published between 1994 and 1996 as “The Last Vampire” series. These were repackaged in 2009 as the first two books in the Thirst series. The series then has three new offerings, the most recent being The Sacred Veil, published in 2013.
Sita, born 5000 years ago in India, begins the series believing she is the last vampire on earth. I think a younger me would have loved bad-ass ancient Sita – who also goes by the name Alisa in modern times. Me now? I enjoyed it, but it didn’t give me the same rush Christopher Pike’s books gave me at age 12. The first book spends a bit too much time stating her awesomeness (I am sexy, I am rich, I can leap tall buildings, I can dodge bullets …) rather than letting the narrative show all this in due course. She also has a bit of a Catherine in VC Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic type way of failing to keep any man interested her alive. But other than that? It’s fun and offers some new vampire mythology to me (Vampires do India, discuss Buddhism and she met Krishna), which I enjoyed.
Wikipedia notes a movie might be in the making, with last discussions and exchanging of rights happening in 2013. In case the Internet cares about my opinion, I’d watch that.
T is for True Blood.
I’ve featured three True Blood names and places in past years. In 2014 N was for Eric Northman and F was for Fangtasia (because vampire bars are just fun). Last year, by request, G was for Godric.
But the whole idea of True Blood really does deserve a letter on its own.
Anne Rice might have been the first to entrench vampires in Louisiana, but Charlaine Harris and HBO gave us that world as it might be should they all come out of the coffin and mainstream society had to deal with them. The resulting books and series, while perhaps not for everyone, are simply brilliant.
U is for Undead.
At first, I thought this was a super-lame choice for U.
I was missing a U.
Really – complete dearth of U vampire stuff out there for anyone in the fiction realm who would like to address that.
That’s what the entire fiction boils down to.
To quote The Lost Boys:
Never grow old.
It’s fun to be a vampire.
To also quote another book I was honestly pretty ambivalent on, but which had this fabulous moment of clarity:
Aren’t all living things undead?
That would be Amelie, one of the ruling vamps from the Morganville Vampires. First book. Pg. 168.
What that character is trying to say is: are we really that different?
Anyone who reads the genre would answer, emphatically, YES.
The various illustrations of that breed all the permutations of vampire, zombie, and many other horror fictions.
Because life is precious and worth fighting for.
For this letter, I could have given you any number of clips or photos. I toyed with Church, that come back from the dead cat from Pet Sematary. I gave you Bella from Twilight, above. Because that’s the fantasy. Live beautifully and forever.
But instead, I choose this from Season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The myth lets us explore the idea of immortality. But I loved this episode for the raw emotion and reminder that no one is immune and we all need to come to terms with death.
V is for Vampirella, the comic book superheroine created by Forrest J Ackerman and artist Trina Robbins in Warren Publishing’s black-and-white horror comics magazine Vampirella. The original series, with 112 issues, ran from September 1969 until March 1983.
Over the years others have obtained the rights: Harris Comics published various tales between 1991 and 2007. Then Dynamite Entertainment did a series that began in 2010 and another that ran from 2011-2014 and another that started in March 2016.
But her origins are firmly entrenched in the campy science-fiction comic style of the 1960s. An alien from the planet Drakulon, which is home to a race of vampires, she is chosen for a mission to go explore planet Earth, where she discovers her race’s resemblance to mythical vampires. She decides to break the stereotype by acting in a good and honourable manner.
As a non-comic book reader, I found this video a good quick overview:
The character has gone through some changes over the years. When Harris bought the comic in the 1990s, she fit in with popular bad girl and occult themes. So, instead of being an alien, it turned out she is instead the daughter of Biblical Lilith, which aligns more closely to actual vampire myths.
And that’s it for today! Come back on Halloween to see the conclusion of this year’s list!
Happy Halloween to you too! What a great post! 🙂
Thanks so much! So glad you enjoyed it!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Cynthia Franks said:
I hate, HATE, anything to do with vampires. This hatred comes from being a play reader at various theater companies around New York City. It seems when a writer wants to write badly about drug use, sexual molestation, or homophobia, they get the brilliant idea to use vampires. The only reason I can think of for this is their parents are still alive and they don’t want them to know they are writing about drug use, sexual molestation or homophobia.
The plays are never good. There was one that was pretty good about Mark Twain meeting Bernard Shaw in London not long before Twain died. It was interesting until the undead Shakespeare showed up and tried to convince Twain to become a vampire.
As a member of the BMI musical theater workshop, I set through many (you would not believe how many) bad musicals about vampires. If you think the ones that made it Broadway were bad, you should see the ones that didn’t.
That said, I did enjoy the part about Vampirella. What a study in changing cultural views.
I LOVE your comment. So, while we disagree on vampire fiction, thank you for posting.
Part of me really envies your view, while another part of me hopes you can suggest a really good – or at least not totally awful – “U”, based on your experience, if I do this A-Z next year.
I know there is also a lot of badly written vampire stuff out there. I turned off the whole vampire “thing” in utter disgust with Twilight for about a decade, but found my way back. Because sometimes there is someone who uses that same safe space you describe above to write and express themselves wonderfully about what really ails us.
I suppose I need to reverse the nursery rhyme: When it’s bad, it’s horrid. But when it’s good, it’s really good. I love the wings vampire fiction gives to explore issues not always okay to discuss – it has the power of fiction with the extra inoculation given by fantasy. When used well, it is awesome.
Cynthia Franks said:
I have been so jaded, I can’t be objective anymore. Although I did think the first season of True Blood was original. Most of the stuff I read never seen the light of day. I was jaded long before Twilight and only read the first book after getting into a flame war with it’s author. Normally, I pass on my fiction to others but that one I threw in the trash can at the corner of 93rd Street and West End Ave angry that I’d never get back the time it took to read the thing.
I think it was the musicals that really did it. There’s nothing worse then sitting for two hours listening to a character who can not die lament in song about life and death. Their’s no stakes, nothing to route for, nothing to lose.
Here I am unhelpfully ranting on your blog. I should write my own blog post. Contact me next year, I’m sure we can think of something for U.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I would read that blog post 🙂 And I will make a note to get in touch next year if I try to make it through the alphabet a fourth time for letter U.
I’m also now curious about the flame war over Twilight and will spend the day imagining really bad vampire musicals… Happy Halloween!