Twilight on sale for $2.99…and other vampire fiction
One of today’s
The young adult vampire novel was a huge hit, reaching #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, spawning three direct sequels, a gender-swapped 10th anniversary version (the book was released in 2005), a massive movie franchise, a graphic novel, and more.
It arguably ushered in a new era in young adult success (especially if you consider Harry Potter to be for a younger set of readers)
It’s often credited as bringing back from the dead (so to speak) vampire novels…but I would suggest that Anne Rice’s
had already done that in 1976…with its sequels continuing the mainstream acceptance.
Being about a generation apart, though, Twilight deserves its own spot in popular vampire literature history.
That history is a long one, going back (in popular prose fiction form) to
It was clearly inspired in part by Lord Byron’s 1813 poem, The Giaour, which I’ll excerpt below:
But first, on earth as Vampire sent,
Thy corse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corse:
Thy victims ere they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers are withered on the stem.
Polidori was Byron’s personal physician, and was part of that ghost-story-telling summer that also produced Frankenstein from Mary Shelley.
1847 saw the publication of a “penny dreadful” called
A penny dreadful was the British equivalent of a “dime novel”…and what mass market paperbacks and later the early popular e-books largely were: unpretentious, often clearly-defined genre fiction.
Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, published in 1872, was another important piece of vampire fiction.
Admittedly, those aren’t well-known nowadays…but Bram Stoker’s 1897 “Dracula” certainly is. It’s been adapted for movies and TV, many, many times and in many ways. It established much of the modern mythology of the vampire…although some of it really derives from the 1931 Bela Lugosi adaptation of the stage play. In that movie, Dracula can only change into a bat, while in the novel, the Count can (and does) become a mist and a wolf as well. It’s worth noting that Le Fanu and Stoker knew each other.
Vampires continued to be a part of genre fiction over the next fifty years or so, but weren’t really part of the mainstream. There were a lot of variations, including vampires from space.
1954’s I Am Legend (at AmazonSmile*) by Richard Matheson was highly influential. It brought us the urban vampire, one that existed in our world, our neighborhoods. It also had a scientific explanation for vampires, although that had happened before. One human besieged by “monsters” was used by other works (such as Night of the Living Dead), and the demoralizing tone was different from the adventure or horror stories that had been commonly seen.
Outside of these, there are literally hundreds of vampire books, and notable series. A handful of others:
- Southern Vampire Mysteries series by Charlaine Harris’s (the basis for the True Blood TV series)
- Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton
- The Hollows series by Kim Harrison
- The Hunger by Whitley Strieber
- ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
You could probably just read vampire fiction for the rest of your life, if you wanted. 🙂
On the other hand, maybe you’d rather not spend a lot of money on vampire novels…well, you can get some of the ones I mentioned in this post for free, and this is a really good deal on Twilight. It’s the right month for it… 🙂
Do you have other vampire novels you’d particularly recommend? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.