Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Vampire Reflection

For the classic vampire, a mirror could be a source of its downfall: a vampire has no reflection, so a mirror could betray a bloodsucker's hidden nature. As a society goes, professor Peter Logan says that society has used the vampire in literature to mirror its own fears, desires, and social norms. Logan says, "a vampire is a tool with multiple uses, and clearly one that continues to be meaningful in different ways to a new generation," whether it's a fear of paupers, foreign aristocracy, unbridled sexuality, or embodying the conflicted antihero. Twilight is the newest of the societal reflections being consumed whole-heartedly by a new generation of vampire afficianados. Logan points out that the newest entries into the vampire continuum are more directly focused on sexuality — from the TV show True Blood, which includes a lot of vampire sex, to Twilight's boy-meets-girl courtship, they cross a line, where formerly vampires, being dead, weren't consummators of their sexuality, using other ways to express eroticism.

But, are vampires really that big of a genre now, besides the clumsy goths that shop at Hot Topic? If my recent trip of B. Dalton at West Acres is any clue, vampire and vampire-related books compose around half of all books published recently. OK, an exaggeration, but there's some evidence:

The B Dalton Top Twenty Paperbacks wall includes five (that's ¼) novels of the Charlaine Harris "Southern Vampire Mysteries" series.

This table has the sign "Beach Reading" prominently above it -- it includes three vampire books, and one zombie book. When I think girlie beach reads, blood and gore are right up there, you know.

The Young Adult fiction section has some — my daughter bought one of these cartoon-cutout-cover vampire books. Wait — then I turn around, and see this wall of vampire:

No, seriously, it required that many arrows, and I actually think I'm actually short a few. Young adult fiction is filthy with probably quickly- and poorly-written vampire erotica lite. But, hey, you follow where the money goes, and if teen girls aren't spending it on cellphone bling or shoes or whatever, they're going to buy it on mildly lusty vampirotica. Oh, and just to toss in some more undead:

Yup, that's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, in the Young Adult Fiction aisle. I thought it odd, but Barnes & Noble (who run B Dalton now) lists it in Young Adult as well. The living dead have never been so popular among tweens as it is now; how does that reflect on our society today?


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Blogger Unknown said...

It Reflects Well. You May Not Find How Important Vampire Books Are, But To Some It's The World. I Speak For Myself When I Say That I'd Rather Read A Book About A "Make Believe" World That This Horrible Place We Call "Earth". I Rather Believe That Maybe There's A Place Where I Could Maybe Fit In, Besides Those "Fancy Dancy Look At Me! I Wear $l^t Clothes That You Can See My @$$ In! Go Me!" Groups. I Find This Rude Because Your Only Stating You Opinion. What About Those Girls Who Literally Stay Alive For The Next Book In The Series? I Take A Vamp. Book With Me EVERYWHERE I Go. Even To The Store. They're Nice To Read In The Ride. I Still Believe That It Is A Nice To Have Many Different Book Options In The Stores Right Now. I Fail To See Many Reports About To Many "How To Knit" Or "Look At Me!" Books. Now I Am Done. I Hope You Have A Good Night And I Hope You Will Meet A Vampire Who Will Teach You Not To Judge. Bloody Night.

12:45 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

The Immortals series isn't about vampires. The characters don't suck the blood of humans, but rather drink a red elixir day after day.

1:10 AM  

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