Last week we featured Gene Doucette, author of Immortal and the newly released Hellenic Immortal. He was kind enough to stop by lytherus for a guest post, and tackles vampires, talking about how they make atrocious immortals!
“I ran through the possibilities again. Vampire was one that was most likely, as they are hypothetically just as immortal as me. Except I’d seen her in the daytime on more than one occasion. And, every vampire I ever met had black eyes. Possibly she was a vampire that didn’t need to hide from sunlight and had blue eyes, but that’s a bit like saying something is a cat except it walks on hind legs and has no fur or whiskers.”
–Adam the Immortal, from IMMORTAL
I’d like to talk today about vampires. As this is a subject that has been done to death (ha) in all forms of popular entertainment and in all subsequent forms of analysis and meta-analysis of the same popular entertainment, I recognize that I am taking a risk here in bringing them up yet again. But bear with me for a second.
Let us begin with a simple, obvious point: vampires aren’t real.
I mention this because the one complaint I have heard most often regarding a specific rendition of modern vampires is, “vampires don’t sparkle.” Well, all right. Vampires don’t sparkle. Except again: vampires aren’t real. And that means we can all do whatever we want with them. Anybody that wants to can create their own permutations of vampire rules any time they want to, and were I Stephanie Meyers I don’t doubt that my response might be along the lines of, “maybe your vampires don’t sparkle, but mine do.”
(Incidentally, this is a response I actually have given on more than one occasion to disagreements about how I depicted my immortal man: when you create your own immortal you can do whatever you want, but this is mine and he’s an alcoholic, and so there.)
Of course, nobody who complains about sparkling vampires thinks they’re real and require some kind of taxonomic course-correction. (Well, some of you might.) What this complaint really means is that the speaker considers aversion to sunlight a primary defining characteristic of the creature we call vampire, and that any creature which does not need to avoid sunlight should therefore not be considered a vampire at all. And this is fair, except that vampires have already gone through several alterations in the past thirty years that have fundamentally changed what might once have been considered canonical identifiers. Never mind the sparkling, kids. In your father’s day vampires used to be evil.
So it doesn’t bother me that vampires sparkle now, any more than it did when vampires stopped being evil and started forming underground societies and having souls and falling in love. Vampirism was always a metaphorical stand-in for sex anyway, so have at it.
Here’s what does bother me: the modern vampire is the absolute worst immortal.
I’m not talking about a disagreement with vampire canon here, I’m talking about an assault on basic logic. Simply put, if you’re not emotionally mature enough after your first fifty years to behave like an adult, you’re not stable enough to last another fifty, never mind two hundred or three hundred years. We don’t let teenagers drink or vote, and we don’t let anyone younger than 35 to run for president, and there are good reasons for this: with age comes wisdom and maturity, and precocity is no substitute for it.
So when see vampires acting moody, lusting after high school girls, squabbling like drunken children or otherwise acting like blood-sucking uber versions of archetypes from a back-to-school special, all I can think of is that nobody so emotionally unstable would survive long enough to appreciate their own immortality. Someone would have staked them, or they would have done themselves in long before that.
But sparkle? Sure, they can sparkle all they want.
Thanks Gene! Interested in learning more about Gene and his books? Check him out at http://genedoucette.me/