Tough Traveling – Vampires
The Thursday feature “Tough Traveling” is the brainchild of Nathan of Review Barn, who has come up with the excellent idea of making a new list each week based on the most common tropes in fantasy, as seen in The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynn Jones. Nathan has invited anyone who is interested to come play along, so be sure to check out the first link for more information.
This week’s tour topic is: Vampires
VAMPIRES are increasingly rare on the TOUR. They have been attracted over to the Horror Tour by offers of better pay. Where they appear, you will find up to date Vampires wear expensive sunglasses and wish to drain you of energy rather than blood.
Hmm, we can easily get overloaded with vampire books this week, so how about I limit my choices to only 5? Okay, 6. Or maybe 8. And only a) my absolute favorites, b) books that feature unconventional vampires, and/or c) those that I don’t think get showcased often in Tough Traveling lists.
This is a really fun, adventurous (and also quite romantic) steampunk series that I love bringing up whenever I get the chance. Set in an alternate history in which humans and vampires have been locked in a bitter war for more than a century, the blood drinkers have conquered the northern lands, driving the humans towards warmer climes.
Don’t let the title fool you, this isn’t your typical vampire novel. The antagonist Charles Manx is a vampire-like creature all right, but he feeds on souls instead of blood. He prefers children as victims, spiriting them away to his creepy other-realm called Christmasland.
I could have gone with any number of Urban Fantasy series on my shelf (Mercy Thompson, Dresden Files, Anita Blake, etc.) all of which feature vampires, but 1) here we have an actual vampire protagonist and 2) vampires in this are pretty unconventional, and 3) I just ADORE THIS SERIES TO BITS.
I didn’t love this one, but it does have the distinction of perhaps being the first Angry Robot book I’ve ever read. The Titanic hits an iceberg and starts sinking on the night of April 14, 1912. The Carpathia races to its rescue, but with vampires on board. Out of the frying pan and into the fire for those survivors who were picked up, so to speak.
How did we get genetically engineered vampires in Watts’ world? They actually died out thousands of years ago, but humans recently resurrected them, hoping to exploit their predatory talents. The result: smart, deadly, hyper-advanced vampires.
What’s scarier than vampires? Vampire children. These creepy kids have lived longer and have seen and done more messed up things on this world than we can ever imagine. And their appetites are insatiable.
A half-vampire-half-werewolf is pretty interesting, right? It’s also nice to see a vampire that isn’t drop-dead gorgeous (ahem, Anne Rice) or sparkling (ahem, Twlight). Siobhan’s eyes are as black and dead as a shark’s and her teeth are so terrible that she needs to disguise herself with contact lenses and make up.
A vampire virus arrives in New York on a dead plane. It spreads via parasitic worm-like creatures and turns its victims into zombie-vampires and changes them physically, giving them long stinger tongues with which they use to feed. The vampire’s jaw can also unhinge, opening up like a snake’s. In other words, they’re disgusting.