Tough Traveling — Vampires


tough guideEvery Thursday, Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn leads a group of fellow bloggers on “Tough Travels”, a trip through the tropes that populate the fantasy and sci-fi world, using Diane Wynne Jones’ hilarious The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as a guide.

This week’s subject is “Vampires”:

I unfortunately don’t read much urban fantasy, which knocks a lot of vampires out of my bailiwick. And it’s been ages since I’ve read any Anne Rice.  AND I still haven’t gotten around to George R.R. Martin’s vamp novel, Fevre Dream. But I was able to track down a few for you here, so without further ado…

Nothing — The “Belgariad” by David Eddings

And once again we start with David Eddings. Actually we don’t. There aren’t any vampires in the book. Congratulations on finding an Eddings-free trope!

Lucy— The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr

miss hydePoor Lucy Westenra. Locked up in Bedlam with nowhere to feed her hunger. In the science-driven steampunk world of Viola Carr’s debut, Lucy is a mental patient without a surname, but possessing an unexplained hunger. The doctors struggle to find a cause for her lust, animalistic behavior and sharp, pointy teeth, working with Dr. Jekyll to isolate the cause and control her urges. But those of us who’ve read Dracula will recognize this poor girl, Mina Murray’s best friend and the first English victim of the Count’s bloodlust. In Carr’s story, however, her fate is tied more to another classic horror novel. 

Silas— The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

graveyard bookOkay, Neil Gaiman never actually says that the dour-faced custodian of the graveyard is a vampire. But the evidence certainly points in that direction. The Graveyard Book is a wonderful retelling of Kipling’s The Jungle Books, as Nobody “Bod” Owens is raised by the denizens of the local graveyard after his parents are killed by Shere Khan the Man Jack. While Bod is raised by a pair of friendly ghosts, Silas is the strong protector, assuming the Bagheera role, guarding the gates of the graveyard and initiating Bod into its supernatural world.

Everyone except Robert Neville — I Am Legend
by Richard Matheson

i am legendFuck Will Smith. Seriously, fuck him. Fuck him for ruining one of the best horror novels (okay, novellas) ever written. At least Charlton Heston tried. Richard Matheson’s 1954 masterpiece has inspired some of the greatest voices in horror and been the basis for some awful movies. In the story, Neville is the sole survivor of a global pandemic which has turned the entire population into vampires. Neville, out of grief over the loss of his son, hunts the vampires relentlessly while trying to discover another living human. When he meets Ruth, he thinks he has found proof that humanity has survived, but alas, he discovers the true horror in himself.

Arthur Holmwood — Anno Dracula by Kim Newman

annodraculaFans of Bram Stoker’s Dracula may remember Holmwood as the young nobleman who wooed Lucy Westenra (Cary Elwes played him in Coppola’s film). In Kim Newman’s wonderful Gaslamp horror novel, a blend of Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, Holmwood is one of three survivors of the assault on Count Dracula. As the most useless member of Mina and Lucy’s saviors, he has succumbed to vampirism,  along with most of the rest of England. Dracula has assumed the throne, vampires and humans live side by side, and a serial killer is on the loose, attacking vampire prostitutes in Whitechapel (hint, it’s another character from Stoker). Holmwood is a rising star in the world of vampire politics, serving as assistant to the prime minister, but with eyes on the Count’s throne. If you haven’t read this book, add it to your list, if only to play “spot the pop culture vampire” – pretty much every vampire from literature and TV appears somewhere (maybe not The Count from Sesame Street). 

Edit: Kim Newman tweeted me to say that The Count DOES actually appear in the latest Anno Dracula novel, Johnny Alucard.

—Michael Senft

About Michael Senft

I am a freelance writer and critic from Phoenix Arizona. I spent 10 years covering music, the arts and pop culture for the “Arizona Republic” before life circumstances took me away from newspaper. But I never lost my joy at writing. Or reading.
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11 Responses to Tough Traveling — Vampires

  1. Nathan says:

    I know a few people who have raved about Anno Dracula. If I remember right the author did some warhammer stuff too. Ha, an Eddings free trope? Yet Pratchett keeps rolling on..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the female vamp protagonist in Anno Dracula, Genevieve, is from Warhammer, but I’m not really familiar w/ the game/series. It’s a fun book, and frankly made League of Extraordinary Gentlemen look a lot less clever after I read it.


      • Nathan says:

        That was it! I saw the omnibus for it. I have not really read Warhammer’s fantasy, though some of the 40k stuff is better than the average tie-in.


  2. Daaaamn, so you hate the movie Legend I see? I am in the opposite campe there: I love that movie, and I think Will Smith was wonderful in it. Is it him you hated in it or the fact that the director and script writer completely changed the story? I remember being totally shocked the first time I read the book (after having seen the move many times) that it was not at ALL the same story. Didn’t seem to be much of a reason to even give it the same title. All the same, I wish I had thought to add that one to my list.

    My vampire list is here if you’re interested:


  3. Poor Robert Neville. Not even his poor dog is safe. Loved that book, haven’t seen the movie, was told to just expect the title to be the same and not much else.


  4. marineko says:

    I forgot about I Am Legend. When I watched the movie I hadn’t read the book in awhile, and ended up being both mildly dissatisfied and seriously creeped out by it.


  5. Ha, great list! I must admit that the lack of vampires in a lot of classic/epic fantasy left me a bit stumped this week too. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kaja says:

    Hey, I called Silas as well 🙂 The Graveyard book is so cool!
    And oops – I only watched the Will Smith version of I Am Legend (and regretted it, but mostly because I hate horror and those zombie thingies seemed really scary to me).


  7. lynnsbooks says:

    I love I am Legend and only thought of it after I’d posted. Deeply ashamed. I’m afraid I didn’t like the film, well, to be more honest, there’s nothing wrong with the film (if you’ve never read the book) but for me – why would you change the ending? You lose the whole meaning of the title? And Silas too – great choice.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great variety here. Now I want to read The Diabolical Miss Hyde even more. Didn’t think the story would tie to Dracula as well as the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, I’m doubly intrigued!


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