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Reading Classic Horror > Vampires Classic or otherwise

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message 1: by David (last edited Nov 02, 2011 08:01AM) (new)

David Elkin | 124 comments A very interesting comment on the Twilight Series by Anne Rice. Here is the web article:

I enjoyed Rice's series while I have not, nor do I plan to read the Twilight series. My favorite Vampire tales are 1. Dracula, 2. The Historian, 3. The Necroscope series written by Brian Lumley.

What say the good readers of classic horror?

message 2: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyons (amandamlyons) She has every right to rib Meyer she essentially took Rice's romanticized but still powerful vamps and made them weak and limited.

message 3: by John (new)

John Steiner (johnsteiner) | 26 comments David wrote: "A very interesting comment on the Twilight Series by Anne Rice. Here is the web article:

I enjoyed Rice's series while I have not, nor do ..."

Seems to me Rice was too easy on Meyers. I was afraid Meyers' books would kill the genre before my novel would get published. I was influenced by Frank Langela's enactment of Dracula as well as later movies like Fright Night and Vamp. I was so glad to see 30 Days of Night come out and return vampires into the stuff of nighttime horror they were meant to be.

message 4: by David (new)

David Elkin | 124 comments Always great to hear from an author. Sparkle vampires appeal to a certain readership, while bad vampires bring a heightened sense of horror to the reader. I think the para-romance novels have found a chord, but I find the theme discordant for me.

message 5: by John (new)

John Steiner (johnsteiner) | 26 comments David wrote: "Always great to hear from an author. Sparkle vampires appeal to a certain readership, while bad vampires bring a heightened sense of horror to the reader. I think the para-romance novels have found..."

That's why in "Squad V" I wanted to circle the vampire genre back to its roots a bit, but still keep what positives came from reinterpreting the old myths.

message 6: by David (new)

David Elkin | 124 comments Forgive me if this is a stupid question. I found the vampire novel V Squad, but not Squad V. Can you provide a link to your book? Thanks in advance.

message 7: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyons (amandamlyons) I have a vampire novel too and I know what you mean. Granted mine's a bit more Anne Rice it is most certainly not anything as weak as Meyer's. I also worried about whether I could get it published for that reason and am now considering epublishing to see what kind of readership it can drum up.

message 8: by John (new)

John Steiner (johnsteiner) | 26 comments David wrote: "Forgive me if this is a stupid question. I found the vampire novel V Squad, but not Squad V. Can you provide a link to your book? Thanks in advance."

About a month before my book was released someone found V-Squad and told me about it. I about flipped my lid when I read the description, "Shit! I gotta compete with that? ARGH!"

Yeah, mine's more science driven coupled with suspense.

message 9: by David (new)

David Elkin | 124 comments Thanks John. You might work a little on the google search engine.

This is what I found from B & N "We found 0 results for Squad+V+by+John+Steiner. Please try another search or browse our recommendations below." Also, no luck on Amazon. I did find Spellbound. I see you do have it at with a 10% discount.

message 10: by John (new)

John Steiner (johnsteiner) | 26 comments I've been told that Amazon is typically two to three months slow at getting a book on their site after the initial release date.

As to bettering the google results I'm not sure how.

message 11: by MountainAshleah (new)

MountainAshleah (mountainshelby) I read somewhere that Meyer never read a vampire novel/story before writing the first Twilight tale . . . . hmmmmm. I have never read any of her books (I won't) but admit some enjoyment of the films--mostly the lush scenery, beautiful animated wolves, and um, Taylor Lautner.

message 12: by John (new)

John Steiner (johnsteiner) | 26 comments The- ahem "wolves" of Twilight look like big shaggy dogs from a pop-up book. Ehh, they're not wolves. I know my people and that ain't it.

message 13: by MountainAshleah (new)

MountainAshleah (mountainshelby) I would still like to have one or two of them with me on the mountain!

message 14: by David (new)

David Elkin | 124 comments An interesting book published in October.

The Vampire is Coming to Phoenix Pick!

With complete annotated texts and commentary describing the development of the myth, this unique anthology contains the following pivotal pieces which led to the birth of the modern Vampire:

Visum et Repertum (Military Report, 1732), The Vampire (Heinrich August Ossenfelder, 1748); William and Helen (Sir Walter Scott’s adaptation of Gottfried August Bürger’s Lenore, 1794); The Bride of Corinth (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1797); Christabel (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1797-1800); The Vampyre: A Tale (John William Polidori, 1819); Varney the Vampire: Or, The Feast of Blood (Select Chapters Only, John William Rymer, 1847); Carmilla (J. Sheridan LeFanu); Dracula (Bram Stoker, 1897).

FIRST BLOOD: The Birth of the Vampire

Edited by Asa Merritt
Annotated Text with Commentary

In Stores October 2011-Ebook version coming soon

message 15: by MountainAshleah (new)

MountainAshleah (mountainshelby) That looks quite good.

message 16: by Werner (new)

Werner Re some of the comments on the Twilight series above, I freely admit that I'm a Meyer and Twilight fan, so I have a somewhat different perspective than that of those who've posted so far. I'd be the first to admit, though, that the series is not "classic horror." The purpose of it isn't primarily horrific, and Meyer's treatment of the vampire theme reinterprets the motif in ways not found in the classic tradition. Since I read and appreciate contemporary as well as classic supernatural fiction, that's not a problem for me.

Rice's and King's denunciations of Meyer remind me of Jules Verne's similar caustic comments about the rising young whippersnapper H. G. Wells, who was usurping the master's popularity: partly inspired by obvious professional jealousy, but also by an honest difference in literary vision ("hard" vs. "soft" SF, in Verne's case). King's vampires stick strictly to the classic mold (what John told us above "they were meant to be," though that doesn't answer the question, "meant" by whom?). When they turn, they become creatures of pure evil, embodied bloodlust with no connection to their previous human morals, beliefs, or personality; in a very real sense, they cease to be "characters" in the way that most literary characters fill that role, and become more like automata, or like rabid dogs (whom most readers wouldn't think of as "characters"). Rice's vampires actually have some personality and moral choice (and in that sense she made the crucial break with the classic tradition that makes contemporary vampire fiction distinct from it), but based on my limited reading of her work, I'd say she didn't exploit the possibilities of that very much; her vampires are all still predatory killers, and limited by that role. Meyer, on the other hand, treats vampires as having the same range of moral possibilities as humans. They have a strong thirst for human blood, but they don't have to be controlled by it; they make choices, and those choices define them, as ours define us. Some, like the Volturi, are as predatory and malevolent as Dracula ever was; others, like the Cullens, are "vegetarian" and ethically conscious.

That brings us to the question of whether Meyer's (vegetarian) vampires are "weak and limited." Since they can stop moving cars and dent boulders with their bare hands, and hunt cougars and grizzly bears barehanded because that's more challenging than preying on deer, we can surmise that there's not much question, even among Twilight haters, of their being physically weak. Rather, the criticism is morally based; having a conscience and scruples about how one treats human beings, in this view, is a weakness that makes you "limited," pathetically unable (or at least unwilling) to express your strength properly, by killing those weaker than you at will for your own pleasure. And this charge of "weakness" is leveled, paradoxically, even in the face of individuals who have an intense homicidal blood-feeding drive that requires significant self-control to resist. Obviously, this is one view of "strength" that's not without significant support in modern moral philosophy; Nietzsche's idea of the "superman" who "makes his own morality," for instance, is probably fairly congruent with the vampire model some readers admire.

There is, though, an opposite way of viewing moral strength, that defines it in terms of consistent adherence to a freely-chosen conception of what's morally right, exercised by using strength of will to resist powerful contrary temptations from circumstance, peers (most Meyer vampires are NOT vegetarians --only two "families" are), and one's own bodily drives. (And it might also be asked, if self-chosen refusal to kill the innocent is a "limitation," why shouldn't a self-chosen refusal to be kind to others, or an inability to love, also be viewed as "limitations," since they also certainly circumscribe behavior and experience?) That view of strength, I'd have to say, is more congenial to me, and more in tune with the great tradition of human moral thought, which the greatest fictional literature has always reflected. And characters who make those kinds of moral choices are simply more interesting to me as characters than those who are choiceless ciphers, behaving as they're programmed to by some sort of magic vampiric instinct. Anyhow, that's an alternate perspective on Meyer's version of the vampire mythos, for whatever it's worth. I think the fact that the archetype of the vampire is capable of giving rise to so many different permutations of the basic idea is an indication of the strength of the literary tradition --it's a tree that's still living and shooting out new branches, not rigidly limited to the parent trunk.

message 17: by Char (new)

Char Well, I am not an admirer of the Twilight books.
I am an admirer of the author who has the longest running vampire series ever. Her name is Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and the books are historical fiction featuring her vampire, St. Germain.

I also happened upon a current Indie writer's take on the modern vampire: Burden Kansas which I thought was damn good.

message 18: by Werner (new)

Werner Charlene, my only experience with Yarbro's St. Germain so far has been in the short story "Cabin 33," but I just loved that one! I still haven't read any of the St. Germain novels, but I definitely intend to remedy that when I get a chance to.

message 19: by Char (new)

Char I was first introduced to her by a short story, but I don't remember which one. Back in the day, I would get my hands on one of those magazines like Weird Tales and then when I found a short story I liked I would try to track down books by those authors at the library. I was only 12 or so, so I didn't have a lot of money.
I am enjoying the growth of the ebook magazines like Fantasy and Sci Fi, Penny Dreadnought, and Shock Totem. It's like an old world has been brought back to life by a new medium. I think it's a good thing. : )

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
I loved the Twilight books, and this from a girl who grew up vampire horror and scary stories. I don't think they do anything to undermine the vampire myth. It's a case of different strokes for different folks. I think that there's more than enough room for any kind of interpretation of folklore, even if it doesn't always work for every reader.

What I don't like is to see authors disparaging each other in the media because they don't like the kind of books they write. I lost a lot of respect for Stephen King after his comments on Meyer. Professionalism dictates that you show respect for your colleagues even if you disagree with their approach.

message 21: by Char (new)

Char I agree with you here, even though I am a King fan.
On Amazon's Book Forum Anne Rice just posted some very nice things about King's Salem Lot. I thought that was very classy.

message 22: by Jon Recluse (new)

Jon Recluse | 137 comments I think King responded to the fact that people are comparing him to Meyer.
Salem's Lot is horror.
Twilight is teen deviant romance.

It is a bit insulting.

message 23: by Werner (new)

Werner Interestingly, the Twilight series was primarily marketed to teens (by the publishers), and of course has teen characters; but Meyer herself says that when she was writing it, she thought of the readers as young women in their 20s-early 30s. (It's also popular with that demographic group.)

Some romance genre writers might be offended at being compared to horror writers, as well. :-) People's comfort zones, and what they view as the literary slums beyond the pale, vary with the individual. (And of course the modern critical establishment would mostly cry, "Romance, horror, who cares? A plague on both their icky, low-brow houses; they're both disgustingly plebian!") Comparisons of books/writers who employ similar subject matter, I think, have their place; but of course comparisons don't tell us anything meaningful unless they're accompanied by appropriate contrasts as well, because no writers are clones of each other. While they both use similar supernatural plot elements, King and Meyer have very contrasting purposes and tones for how they use them, as Recluse noted; and they'd both probably be the first to insist loudly on the differences!

message 24: by Jon Recluse (last edited Feb 26, 2012 03:03PM) (new)

Jon Recluse | 137 comments If Hemingway were still alive and you compared Meyer to him, because they both use words, how much time do you think you would spend in the hospital?

message 25: by Werner (new)

Werner I imagine Hemingway would have thrown a punch at anybody who compared him to any woman writer. :-) (He was famously rather touchy about his masculinity.) I'm not sure if he'd take a comparison to King much more kindly, though I don't doubt that King would be delighted. But when the only vague similarity between writers is that they both write fiction, comparisons can't lend much insight into similarities and differences (which probably is why nobody bothers to make them). Comparisons between writers who share a roughly-defined subject matter, like Verne and Wells, or LeCarre and Ian Fleming, usually yield more insight --but that doesn't mean the authors compared won't turn out to be very dissimilar in important ways.

message 26: by Jon Recluse (new)

Jon Recluse | 137 comments True.

Between you and me, I am a little tired of hearing King used as the standard for horror, in the same way I am tired of hearing about Twilight or seeing the forest of ads for it in the bookstores. I have yet to see a teenager in a bookstore.

message 27: by Werner (new)

Werner Good point about teenagers, Recluse --I've seen a few in bookstores and libraries, but not as many as I'd like to see! :-(

message 28: by Jon Recluse (new)

Jon Recluse | 137 comments My niece is an honor student and the only reason she is aware of Twilight is because of the movie. Her mother bought her the books, but she has yet to read them.
There are teenagers in my library.
They are taking out DVDs and video games.

message 29: by Jon Recluse (new)

Jon Recluse | 137 comments Back to the subject at hand, and my apologies for wandering off point; I am rather fond of Fred Saberhagen's Dracula series.

message 30: by Werner (new)

Werner I've only read Saberhagen's The Holmes-Dracula Files (which I think is the second in the series; I didn't know that it was part of a series when I read it!), but I liked that one. One of my Goodreads friends has read the whole series, and speaks pretty highly of it.

message 31: by Jon Recluse (new)

Jon Recluse | 137 comments It is the second book.
There are ten in the series.

I could never find them all.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Recluse wrote: "I think King responded to the fact that people are comparing him to Meyer.
Salem's Lot is horror.
Twilight is teen deviant romance.

It is a bit insulting."

To me that doesn't matter. Professionalism is the rule. Even if you don't like a colleague's work, there's a cordial way to deal with those situations.

message 33: by Jon Recluse (last edited Feb 26, 2012 09:07PM) (new)

Jon Recluse | 137 comments Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "Recluse wrote: "I think King responded to the fact that people are comparing him to Meyer.
Salem's Lot is horror.
Twilight is teen deviant romance.

It is a bit insulting."

To me that doesn't matt..."

You're right, Lady Danielle.
However, in this day and age, decorum does not sell.
And here in New York City, cordial is an overpriced liquor drink.
I was merely pointing out the reason for his venom.
I don't advocate his response, I just understand it.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
I don't understand the anger, but I know emotions aren't always controllable. There are many stories out there to be told, and Werner said in more eloquent words than I, comparisons don't seem to work well across the board. Regardless, one has to take such things in stride.

I think it's a good policy to be very careful what one says in the media nowadays. It will always be used against you.

message 35: by Jon Recluse (new)

Jon Recluse | 137 comments I wouldn't talk to the media at gunpoint.
I think this whole thing was their doing.
"Two Literary Juggernauts Square Off!"

It's all nonsense.

I'ed rather be reading. ;)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
I have to agree with you on that, Recluse.

message 37: by Jon Recluse (last edited Feb 26, 2012 09:55PM) (new)

Jon Recluse | 137 comments Thank you.

message 38: by Martha (new)

Martha (hellocthulhu) | 325 comments Mod
I am tired of King as the standard of horror as well. I think he's made horror more accessible to the everyman, but I personally do not care much for his writing. There have only been a few books of his I liked, and even those are not a huge horror achievement to me. To each their own, if he gets people reading horror I suppose that is an achievement in itself.

Twilight? I'm not interested in it but I don't really "get" the bashing so much. I really don't get the people who read or watch something just to bash it, or worse, people who write negative reviews without bothering to read/watch it. If you don't like something just ignore it. I don't like slasher films much, so I don't watch the latest Saw/Hostel type thing.

message 39: by Jon Recluse (new)

Jon Recluse | 137 comments Don't get me wrong, I like King's early horror novels.
I thought 'Salem's Lot was an incredible novel, which is saying a lot, because I generally don't care for vampire fiction.
I view vampires as being more like Vlad the Impaler, rabidly sadistic psychotics with a severe substance dependency.

message 40: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Jamesian Enthusiast (last edited Feb 28, 2012 12:07AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Yeah, it seems like a waste of time to spend it hating on something you don't like. There are Twilight haters that seem to spend hours hanging out on the Twilight boards just to talk about how bad the books are and how stupid the fans are.

I like some King books, but I can't read too much of his work close together. He has some devices that get old for me. I think he's earned his reputation in the genre, but he's just one of many good writers to me. And his comments about Meyer made me look even harder at his flaws, to be honest. It's the old, "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

message 41: by Jon Recluse (new)

Jon Recluse | 137 comments True, but writers in general are an odd lot. If one looks too closely at their peculiarities, one may find themself with nothing to read.

message 42: by Char (new)

Char I agree with you there, Recluse.
I used to like Orson Scott Card, most especially Ender's Game then I discovered some things about his personal views that turned me off of him completely.
I am feeling the same way right now about Dan Simmons, but I probably will give his next book a shot. I felt about his last book Flashback as many people did about King's last book 11/22/63. Basically that it was full of politics. I, personally, did not feel that way about 11/22/63 but I certainly did about Flashback. It really soured me. : (

message 43: by Mohammed (last edited Mar 02, 2012 09:24AM) (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments I have started thinking about reading more classic and modern vampire horror. I have enjoyed Salem's Lot, Necroscope,Vampire Hunter D (is both horror, adventure SFF).

Im gonna read The Historian just because of the Dracula connection. Of course after i have read Dracula, The Vampire of Polidori.

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