[To be clear: I’m reading a book with a vampire character. I’m not actually sitting on the couch with a vampire, reading.] … and as a person who has never really been part of the vampire-loving culture, I find it intriguing how vampires are treated in the literary world. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a shape-shifter who has no reflection or shadow, is repelled by garlic and can be killed with a stake through the heart. Stephen King’s vampires were instrumental in spreading blood-borne diseases like AIDS. Ann Rice taught us that vampires have no reaction to holy water or garlic, but disintegrate in sunlight and sleep in coffins nonetheless. Edward of Twilight doesn’t disintegrate—he sparkles. In A Discovery of Witches, Matthew Clairmont doesn’t have fangs, but he smells like cloves. In the Vampire Academy series, there are two races of vampires, as well as half-breeds.
This is all well and good (or evil, depending on whose vampires you’re spending time with), but when you get down to the nitty-gritty, the vampires are still marching to the same drum. They’re cold, pale, immortal, good-looking, really-really old, and—of course—blood-thirsty. They don’t drink tea and they don’t eat French fries. The ones who aren’t murderers exist off the blood of animals. (Except the True Blood folk, who drink synthetics. Or so I’m told).
It would be interesting to meet a vampire who is nothing like what you’d expect. Like one who drinks Orangina and plays pick-up basketball. But then again, the aforementioned vampires were intended to be that way. When Edward sparkled, for example, it started all kinds of controversial rumblings in the vampire-loving universe (A vampire that sparkles? For shame!).
Maybe there are some warm-blooded vamps out there and I just don’t know about them yet. Maybe there’s a basketball court somewhere with the undead playing shirts versus skins. Who knows. All I know is, for all the newness of vampires, they aren’t very new. But maybe that’s the point. They’re supposed to be timeless, after all.