Vampires and Werewolves and Witches, Oh My!

Again, not Artemis, but by my favorite cover-artist.

Despite rumors to the contrary, work on Bite Me continues apace–I’m hoping for a September release at this point. However, I’m taking my time and getting it right (at least as right as I can with my newby skills). I have to; there are a surprising number of  fans out there for what was supposed to be a minor character. I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me–Wearing the Cape was originally supposed to be Atlas’ story, after all.

So the purpose of this post was to make the announcement: mid-September, if everything happens right (and I’m looking forward to it as much as everybody else). Then it’s on to Wearing the Cape III (as yet untitled). Meantime I thought I’d ramble a bit, maybe tease a little by explaining where my mind is going with Bite Me: Big Easy Nights–even issue some apologies beforehand.

First, let’s be clear: I like vampires. I was into vampires before Anne Rice. But I think lots of vampire literature has lost track of what they are. To give a quick review, bloodsuckers have been a mythical monster in about every culture in history, demons, witches, spirits that prey on mankind. The ancient Chinese believed in cursed and restless dead. The European vampire comes from Eastern Europe, and was most often a rotting, near-mindless corpse that more closely resembled modern zombies than today’s sexy vampires. Even after The Vampire, Dracula, and Carmilla gave us the modern Romantic version of the vampire, the creature remained a monster. A seductive monster, yes, but a creature whom it was fatal to know.

Then came the modern vampire craze. It didn’t start with Anne Rice, but Interview with the Vampire gave it a helluva boost. Vampires began a transformation from monsters to tortured souls (the good ones, anyway–plenty still embraced their monstrousness), and finally into not-so-tortured souls. The final bridge was crossed when some writers started giving them a way out of their condition, like artificial blood. In most stories now, vampires are no longer predators; they are a misunderstood and feared minority, at best. To be sure, there are exceptions–but in a lot of vampire fiction today, the perks (immortality, superhuman powers, being chick-magnets) outweigh the drawbacks
and vampires wear their undead curse lightly if it’s a curse at all.

To be honest, Artemis was an accident; I wanted a character that demonstrated that there were different triggers for breakthroughs and that not all breakthroughs in the Post-Event universe followed the superhero template. The scene where Astra (using her nifty infrared-vision) discovers a vampire hanging out at The Fortress was originally a throw-away scene that was just Really Cool. Artemis’ rather unique origin springs from the fact that I really couldn’t imagine a mentally-balanced character being so obsessed with vampires as to trigger a breakthrough. And since she hadn’t wanted it, of course she was pissed as hell about it.

But this opened up some interesting possibilities. Breakthroughs happen all over the Post-Event world, and even in the USA not everyone is hung up on superheroes. Fantasy and the supernatural has a lot more fans, thus “supernaturals”–breakthroughs conforming to older types–were born.

So, what do I want to say with Post-Event vampires? One thing I’ve tried to do is take a step back. The vampires of the Romantic authors were not nice. They symbolized both unrestrained sexuality and death (not surprising, given that syphilis was both endemic and untreatable at the time). So with Bite Me, I’ve tried to emphasize their danger; PE vampires are parasites at best, and can be predators. Even feeding openly and with a donor’s consent is morally problematic; a vampire’s bite is both pleasurable and dangerously addictive–making Artemis and her fellow vamps drug-pushers. Add this to their ability to control people’s minds, and you’ve got serious room for abuse and not a lot of room for moral arguments. Include Artemis’ negative attitude towards vampires (perfectly understandable), and you’ve got a story that isn’t exactly bloodsucker-friendly.

Since I’m going to market this as a straight-up vampire novel, it will be interesting to see how it is received.


6 thoughts on “Vampires and Werewolves and Witches, Oh My!

  1. Well, as a fan of some of those vampire novels (tending towards the, shall we say…twinkly), I am very excited to see this throwback approach.

    Also, am very excited to see the WtC universe progress some more!

  2. Hi George! I have really enjoyed the first two WTC novels and and eagerly awaiting additional stories!. One question: are you ever going to explain “the event”? What happened to alter the normal evolution of humans? Maybe you already explained and I missed it.

    1. I’m never going to tell–in fact I think to give an official explanation would be to make the Event less real. I have posited different theories (see the chapter header for Chapter Nine), and Dr. Cornelius would doubtless go on about the Deccanic Energies shifting to create a new “hologram of reality,” but you should go with whichever one you think fits. Or create your own since the correct answer may be D.) None of the Above. Mmm. That gives me a good idea for my next post.

      1. Ha, that what I thought you were going to say 🙂 Personnaly, I thought it was a massive gamma ray burst from the sun that scientists thought would end all life on earth, but “something” kept that from happening and instead…well, you know the rest!

      2. I like your non-explanation very much; it’s what I use in my own world-building (I’m no writer, I just have the odd hobby of making up settings and [thin] character sketches that will never be used). Super powers like these break the laws of nature. No matter what explanation you give, it really comes down to “it’s magic!” The origin *can* affect the story, as in the Wild Cards books, and there have to be consistent rules for how people get them and why each super gets each power, but personally I think it’s high time we stopped worrying about dubiously plausible origins and got on with the fun. Kudos for being, as far as I know, the first!

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