BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Author Donna Burgess: The Evolution of the Vampire in Literature

     Bea: Donna Burgess, the author of Darklands: A Vampire's Tale ( a review of which is coming later today), Wandering Star, and The Blue Children: Short Vampire Fiction among others, is joining us today. She kindly agreed to do a guest post and took on the daunting task of examining the evolution of the vampire in litereature. So, get comfy, read on, and then give us your thoughts on the subject, maybe even win something. :P

     Donna, thank you for coming today and talking with us. :)

     Donna: Today's literary vampire bears little resemblance to the horrifying bloodsuckers of folklore or even Bram Stoker's loathsome creation of 1897. Today's vamps are heroic, gorgeous, and can emerge into bright sunshine without becoming a pile of ashes. They hold jobs in hospitals, solve crimes, or manage night clubs. Today's vampire has become an everyday Joe, with not a shred of evil in their conflicted little hearts.

     When was the last time you read or watched a vampire die by the stake? It's a piece of the vampire myth that has become lost in the world of today's urban fantasy novels. Not many of today's vamps carry a distain for garlic or crucifixes any more, either. And a fear of daylight? Hardly. Most modern vampires actually prefer the light (or at least twilight). Capes are not exactly the outerwear of choice for happening 21st century bloodsuckers. And contrary to any notions otherwise, centuries-old vampire men actually prefer the company of whiny high school-aged girls.

     Are these changes to the original lore good or bad? I have a foot planted firmly in both camps. I adore the notion of the sexy vampire who finds himself thrust in the everyday human world. Yet, I sort of miss the aspects of an actual creature of the night, who kills because it's the only way he (or she) knows. 

     We live in the world where everything has become “softer.” We choose softer expressions in language. Nobody is really ugly anymore; they are “aesthetically challenged.” Toilet paper is now bathroom tissue (thanks George Carlin!). And “the Count” from Sesame Street is about as scary a vampire as you are going to get. We are in the era of the “kinder, gentler” bloodsucker. 

     These changes are not necessarily bad. Nothing that brings new fans to a genre that only a short while ago was about as stagnate as Witch Hazel's panties can be bad. Still, there is something in me--something left over from the time when I was a kid and lived on Christopher Lee, “Blacklua” and Grimms Tales of Terror--that really wants to see some old-fashioned, scary, photosensitive vampires who devours any unsuspecting individual who makes the mistake of venturing out after dark. I need a little 30 Days of Night to offset my Vampire Diaries. Good thing there seems to be enough room and enough readers out there for both the evil and the sexy vamp. The lore and allure of the vampire tale is constant evolving. Just think, twenty years from now, True Blood will seem old and lame, too.


Donna is offering 2 copies of her her book Darklands: A Vampire's Tale to 2 lucky blog readers. There's 1 ebook for an international reader and 1 print book for a US reader. To enter comment below, telling us what you think of vampire's in today's literature, and a way to contact you - email, twitter name, etc. The giveaway runs for a week, until midnight EST on Thursday Feb. 17th, 2011.


  1. Outstanding article. I also think there's room for fans of both the 'new' and 'old' vampires, though I do miss the continuity of classic vampire lore (silver, garlic, etc.).

  2. I'm firmly in the camp of scary, bloodsucking vampire killers though it may be in reaction to too many soft, caring vampires of late.

  3. I still miss some of the vampire lore that was found in shows like Buffy. I still love the softer romance side of vampires though.

    smccar1 at hotmail dot com

  4. honetslu i think now the vamos r getting soft and it sorta irks me some i want to see blood and scaryness Vampires do not sparkle and that really irks me when thety say they do i do like when they do the twist on the new lore of vampires

  5. I like vampires in literature. Now they arent always the scary monsters they were in history. However, I do think that there isnt enough of that coming out like there was. Its almost like people are afraid to make them the villains. While I like them as the heroes they are made to be villains as well. So yes I do like the new vamps but I dont think the old vamps should go away, we need them too.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  6. I love vampires in today's literature. They add a whole new aspect to any genre they are added to. I do kind of miss the bloodthirsty killer, but hey...they can always make a comeback!

    hense1kk AT cmich DOT edu

  7. I my own novel, Immortal Obsession, the main vampires still retains his human personality, which is intensitifed by his immortality. On the other hand, hs is a monster with the power to kill at random, not just out of a need for blood. Vampires are different and I try to show them struggling to adapt and live in both worlds. I am more frightened by these types of vampires, rather than the mindless bloodsucker or the chronic do gooder. These are extremes I know, but I prefer a blend of personality traits, kind of like Bill Compton in True Blood or Louis in Interview with the vampire.