This is my hundredth blog entry. There should be a party, a celebration or at least some weary reader wondering "Don't you have anything better to do?". The answer is "No, I don't" so you'll have to put up with this blog for the foreseeable future.
It was my intention to write a serious piece on blogs and blogging and the minor milestone I have reached despite a combination of laziness and lack of imagination. However something else has grabbed my attention in the last few months. What is with all the vampire books that are infesting bookshops all over Sydney (and possibly the world)? This really came to a head tonight when I was browsing in a shop and came across a book entitled Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer. At that point my mind stopped boggling and simply refused to work at all. Don't even get me started on the Twilight series (or saga as I believe it is inaccurately known). Then there is True Blood, somewhat less wretched than most, and a series of books called the Vampire Academy series. I haven't read this last but from the cover it appears to be across between Enid Blyton's Mallory Towers series and a party set in a morgue. I also noticed that relics from previous vampire fads have been popping up. Anne Rice novels were everywhere showcasing her particular talent of taking a bunch of whiny self absorbed pissants and turning them into whiny, self absorbed pissants who drink blood and stay out of the sun.
The latest incarnation of vampire books seems to be basically Sweet Valley High stories with a high body count. Not that I think that last is a bad thing. Then there are the werewolves, oh god enough with the werewolves already. Apparently nobody can write a single book about vampires nowadays without tossing in werewolves and making much of the apparently legendary rivalry between two non existent groups of monsters who would have been much better served simply dividing the human race between them as cattle to feed on.
Vampires: What happened to you? Once upon a time you were terrifying stalkers of the dark. Now apparently you just hang around looking moody and competing for the attentions of not particularly interesting teenagers. I remember vampires; sure they were sexy in a sort of tie me down and hurt me kind of way but essentially what they were was killers. They murdered people. They did it with aplomb and they did it with pleasure. Oh that Christopher Lee is alive to see this day (he is still alive right? He must be about six hundred years old by now). Let's get something straight right now. Vampires were dead. Cold, animated corpses that ripped the throats out of the living in order to sustain their dreadful existence. Sure they might have been sexy (ok they really were), sure they might seduce the occasional human who was drawn to their aura of dark power but essentially what they were about was the bodycount.
The appeal of vampires; their allure and sexiness was not based on anything as healthy as adolescent love however badly presented. The attraction of the vampire was corruption. The thought that if you were prepared to debase yourself in the most fundamental way you could cheat death. The vampire calls to the sickest and most selfish parts of the human psyche and uses a superficial glamour to help its victims justify their betrayal. "Let everything else die," shrieks the vampire to be, "let me feast on the flesh of my peers only let me live beyond my years." This is the vampire; the immortal cannibal stealing the years of the young to prolong its own old age. It is not within a million miles of what Stephanie fucking Meyer would recognise. Anne Rice got it more right and Poppy Z Brite even more so. At least their vampires killed people all over the place even if they had the collective personality of a cheese platter.
Vampires have been castrated, broken and tamed. The deathless creature that terrified us at night is now a pale skinned little puppy gambolling at our feet. Oh wait, maybe that's the werewolves. I can't really speak about werewolves, they don't interest me so much. Vampires are icy, sexy and murderous. Werewolves put me in mind of a fleaguard commercial that has escaped from its handlers.
The real danger is that with vampires so domesticated in print if anyone meets one in real life they will probably walk up and say hello rather than screaming in appropriate Hammer House of Horror style and running for their lives. Personally I suspect its all a vampire plot. Once nobody is afraid of vampires anymore the thirsty little buggers will be popping out of coffins all over the place and feasting to their hearts content. Hopefully the first under the fangs will be Stephanie Meyer.