Let’s Talk Vampires

To start with, I completely forgot to mention last time that I finally got around to taking my self-published book off the market.  I am serious about rewriting it, and when I’m done with that, I will either put it back up or submit it to literary agents.  Either way, I’m afraid that the option to buy my work is no longer available.

Another note: I have updated my About page and added a brand new page!  You can check those out if you want to, but it’s not mandatory.  There will be no quiz on it later.

Okay, let’s move on to more of my favorite authors.  Today’s post is going to be vampire-heavy.  I will also be discussing my distaste for HBO’s series True Blood for reasons relating to my love of the book series, because my next favorite author is:

Vampires are like the crack cocaine of the literary world these days.  You can’t get through a bookstore without seeing at least five different books that involve the blood-thirsty people of the night.  Not prostitutes.  Still talking about vampires, here.  If you doubt me, or think my words are a bit hyperbolic, please know that there is a book out there entitled Vampirates.  I kid you not.  Look here: http://www.amazon.com/Vampirates-Demons-Ocean-Justin-Somper/dp/0316014443/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327128032&sr=8-1

And in looking up that link, I have discovered that it is, in fact, a series.

So why do I like Charlaine Harris?  Because of Sookie, and because of the deeper issues in the book.  Yes, those exist.

First, we will address Sookie.  Here’s where I start making the comparison to the TV show.  From now on we will be talking about Book Sookie and TV Sookie.  Book Sookie is spunky, self-sufficient, and proud.  She is also a telepath.  I like Book Sookie because she refuses to take people’s crap, and because she truly hates the idea of being a damsel in distress.  She fights back, she uses her head in tough situations, and she saves her own skin on a number of different occasions.

TV Sookie is an airhead.  She could not be more useless or dimwitted.  I was so disappointed to see that.  She is a teary drip of a thing.  Sure she has her snarky moments, but when I saw her blow up at an elderly woman over a pie, I kind of lost all respect for her.  I understand that her grandmother had just died, and that apparently that pie was the last one her grandmother ever baked, but the scene was so uncharacteristic of the Book Sookie I’ve come to know and love that it all just looked ridiculous to me.  Damn that was a long sentence.  Sorry.

Anyway, the vampires.  For those who don’t know, the premise of the Sookie Stackhouse novels is that vampires have, in Harris’ words, “Come out of the coffin.”  They are regular, tax-paying citizens…who drink blood to survive and burn up when exposed to sunlight.  What are the political ramifications?  Well, I think the vampire situation is an amazingly astute, if extreme, analogy for homosexuality. The book addresses similar issues of marriage and fights for equal treatment.  There is even an extremist religious group that violently opposes vampires in general.

Then there is the wonderful question that inevitably comes up in these types of stories: Who is the real monster?  The fanged blood-drinker who does his job and pays his taxes, or the human being who slaughters women that have slept with vampires?  Oh it’s rife with literary possibilities.  And that really is just a slight scratching of the surface.

The books are fun to read, too, and the stories are truly captivating.  And, yes, there is sex.  But I don’t appreciate HBO taking a book series that contains a smattering of sex scenes and turning it into a porno.  Honestly, I understand that a good chunk of the show’s appeal comes from the actors and actresses finding themselves in various states of undress throughout the series.  Still, I feel it is demeaning to reduce the book series to obscene sex scenes and little else.

There’s also the little problem of some beloved book characters being turned into brutal murderers.  The whole point of the books is to show that there are good and bad vampires, just like there are good and bad people.  It’s kind of hard to send that message when one of the characters who is supposed to be sympathetic and lovable keeps people chained up in his basement.  Or when a completely different vampire who is described as dressing like a total nerd, in a kind of endearing attempt at blending in with “normal” people, gets transformed into a cowboy hat-wearing redneck who can’t control his temper or the volume of his voice.  So there’s that.

In conclusion, are these books perfect?  No.  I wouldn’t say that about any book, because who’s to define perfect?  They’ve got flaws just like anybody else’s writing.  They have their fair share of critics.  And of course the TV show has a significant fan base.  Not surprising when you get to see Ryan Kwanten naked.  But in this case, I am a fan of the books only.  They could’ve made a really great TV series, and instead they changed some of my favorite characters into pathetic knock-offs of the real things.  If that weren’t bad enough, the show diverges from the plot of the books so horribly that I hardly recognize the source material anymore.

So ends my rant.

Word of the Day: Adulterate (v) – to debase or make impure by adding inferior materials or elements; use cheaper, inferior, or less desirable goods in the production of (any professedly genuine article).

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Filed under books, Humor, writing

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