Friday, 8 June 2007

Whatever happened to good old fantasy?

I happen to be rather fond of vampire stories, and I happen to agree with Anne Rice that the vampires, not the humans, are the interesting ones. So I read a bit (most of it's crap, so I don't read that much), and watch a fair bit, most of which is also crap, particularly the American stuff (why is it that Americans lack so much style when it comes to movies? And whoever turned down Anne Rice's script for Queen of the Damned needs to be damned themselves).

But what is this crap with trying to update vampire stories with pseudo-scientific claptrap, as if we don't have enough pseudo-scientific claptrap already? Vampires are damned, and there are gods involved. End of story. If you like Bram Stoker, it's the Christian god. If you don't, it's probably something to do with ancient Egypt and crosses don't do jack shit, which is nice for the atheists but kind of robs the point of the whole supernatural enjoying-the-woo-woo thing.

But vampirism is not, I repeat not, let me say that again it's fucking not a retro-virus that lives in the saliva of predators. It may be transmitted by blood or by curse, or by saliva for all I care, but shut the fuck up about mutant DNA please. Vampires are supernatural. If you want to start talking about evolution or genetic manipulation or shit like that you can start coming up with scientific explanations for sunlight and garlic and super-strength and super-speed and silver and coffins, or drop those parts of it altogether and just have a good old-fashioned SF story about genetically engineered soldiers, or mutants. In fact, can anyone tell me if there's a vampire in the X-men universe?

There is fantasy, there is science fantasy and there is science (plausible) fiction. Can we please remember the fucking difference and put the right stories in the right genres?

Edit: I posted too hastily.

I have just read a Neil Gaiman collection (Smoke and Mirrors, by memory) and in it he had a description of a set of vampire tarot. One of which was a brief explanation of a planet that genetically engineered themselves to be better suited to living on another planet, for colonisation purposes: They had to be hardier, stronger and faster, able to live off the land and adapt to whatever food they found. Then they were put in a spaceship and sent on their way but, just to make sure, all navigational information that could lead them back home was wiped from the computer's memories.

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