Do You Know Any Dangerous Vampires?

First Second has declared May Vampire Month in honor of their own
Little Vampire by Joann Sfar and Life Sucks by Jessica Abel et al. Their blog is keeping track of related features, like the one I just did on the Amazon book blog (about Little Vampires and Bunnicula).

So, let’s get serious about vampires for a second. Vampire fiction is one of the most mined-out, debased subgenres in horror. But like any form, it has its dangerous, edgy, and experimental incarnation. Eschewing the ordinary, what’s the strangest, weirdest, craziest vampire fiction, in book or short story form, that you’ve ever read–and why.

(Little Vampires, btw, may not be dangerous, but it is a wonderful book, and I’m putting it in my sidebar of recommendations. Life Sucks I’m reading later today.)

9 comments on “Do You Know Any Dangerous Vampires?

  1. Jen says:

    I’m boring. I’ve only read Anne Rice’s vampire books, Salem’s Lot and maybe a couple of short stories I don’t remember. And I haven’t read Dracula, which I really should, at least so I can explain to people how Dracula and Romania don’t really have that much of a connection.

    Nothing exciting from me, sorry.

  2. It’s not exactly edgy, but Sean McMullen’s Voyage of the Shadowmoon is secondary world fantasy with a unique take on a vampire. Another of my favorites is Suzy McKee Charnas’ The Vampire Tapestry, which is more about the people around the vampire main character, none of whom are the gawdawful Mary Sues that populate the subgenre right now. On the bizarre front, Fat White Vampire Blues, by Andrew Fox, is about a vampire taxi driver who’s gotten obese on the rich blood of the residents of New Orleans. It’s got a hilarious take on the shapechanging and having to sleep in native soil thing.
    Then of course, there’s Cassidy, from Preacher. (I’m up to TPB#6, and I’m annoyed that they’re making me hate Cassidy in the way I’m hating him. ~>:-( )

    I’m sure there’s others that I can’t think of. I love vampires so much, and hate what’s been done with them.

  3. Grant Stone says:

    Kim Newman’s The Bloody Red Baron has both the red baron and Biggles as vampire pilots in WWI…

  4. Caleb Wilson says:

    My favorite vampire book might be The Revenants, by Geoffrey Farrington. The only thing somewhat crazy about it is that Farrington sort of pretends that no other vampire books have ever been written and that he’s making everything up fresh. Which is pretty brave, I think!

    Actually, that cover design is pretty crazy too, though not in a good way…

  5. Anne S says:

    The Delicate Dependency by Michael Talbot is probably my favourite vampire novel, not that I’ve read it for many years, but I recall loving it at the time I first read it.

  6. Ellen Datlow says:

    A majority of the stories in my two vampirism anthologies: Blood Is Not Enough and A Whisper of Blood. The reason is that the stories stretch the idea of blood sucking into the idea of energy/soul/ and various other types of parasitism.

  7. Matt Staggs says:

    I really enjoyed Bob Fingerman’s novel “Bottomfeeder,” which showed that being an immortal creature of the night doesn’t mean your life is going to suck any less. Fingerman’s protagonist is one of the most miserable, neurotic creatures ever to be depicted in vampire fiction. “Bottomfeeder” get bonus points for skewering the “erotic” horror genre as well. Very funny book.
    I’m also fond of several of the other books mentioned here, including “The Vampire Tapestry” and Kim Newman’s “Anno Dracula” novels.
    While we’re on the topic, I really think that the vampires of Brian Lumley’s “Necroscope” books are pretty damn unusual: psychic, protoplasmic parasites from another dimension! I know the books are kind of schlocky, but points have to be given to Lumley for his willingness to do something original with the myth.

  8. Ellen Datlow says:

    I loved Bottomfeeder. I also enjoyed Fangland by John Marks.
    Every time I get really bored by what writers are doing with vampires, a whole new bunch of great stuff comes out. There is NO subgenre of horror (or anything else) that can’t be freshened up by some imagination.

  9. Jesse says:

    I know it’s a funny-book but the manga series “Hellsing” by Kouta Hirano has the most original and weirdest twists on vampirism I’ve read in years. Essentially it plays more as an action than a horror series but vampires in Hirano’s world run the gambit from nigh-Lovecraftian beasts of godlike intellect and power to technologically enhanced, artificially-created science fiction bloodsuckers. The art is crazy good but as the fellow writes and illustrates it all himself it takes upwards of a year for each successive volume to come out. Currently, the plot involves our protagonist vamps–who work for the British Royal Protestant Knights–battling Catholic stormtroopers, Sorcerer-priests and Neo-nazi SS bloodsuckers in the middle of London! Airships! Opera! Magic! Technology! Vampires! Vampires! Vampires! There have also been a couple of not-quite-as-good-but-very-watchable anime series based on the books, so that might be a good place to dip one’s toes…the “Ultimate” series is the more faithful (and objectively better) of the two.

    A few years back I also read a contemporary vampire novel set in LA, I believe, wherein the Industrial scene may have played a role? I just recall liberal Skinny Puppy references and one of the vampires fed off of someone tripping on acid, leading to a rather surreal sequence. Don’t recall the title or author or much else, however, except the cover looked “sharp.” And also another whacked out novel (By Colin Wilson, I think), which was the basis for equally bizarro movie “Lifeforce.”

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