Please welcome Gail Carriger into the guest spot today! Her latest release SOULLESS is currently in bookstores, and offers up some particularly interesting steampunk vampires, along with uber-heroic werewolves and an automaton thrown in for kicks, too. It was released a few weeks ago and it's already gone into a second printing. Go, Gail! It's a fun read, and I highly recommend it!
On the Awkwardness of Vampires
Vampires are awkward. No really, they are. Let me try to explain what I mean. I'm sure you are all used to thinking of vampires as dark, handsome, swaggering, sexy, mysterious, and sometimes sparkly. But really, in the end, they're kind of the socially challenged of the supernatural world.
For one thing, they're immortal. You know that age gap in relationships thing that makes you cry "cougar" or regard Woody Allen with a jaundice eye? With vampires it's 200 times worse – sometimes literally. Here we have little miss heroine, all of 25 years old (in my case), dashing around dating a 250 year old. See what I mean? Try and explain that to the parents – shockingly awkward.
How about the blood drinking habit? No way to get around that. Perhaps not quite so embarrassing as smoking, but still, sneaking off to sip at a little neck after dark? That's not exactly taking tea at off hours or hitting the bottle overly much. I mean Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Toothsome has a serious electrolyte disorder meets iron deficiency – once again, awkward.
And there's a whole host of other incontinences. He keeps terribly irregular hours. Usually, he has some sort of major family problems, you know, like they are trying to kill him. And to top it all off, he sometimes lisps. Totally awkward!
But the thing is: I love awkward, because it's the difficult bits that make a fantasy world most exciting to create. If there are immortals running around, they've been doing that running for a very long time, and they've probably been tinkering with history. That's not awkward, that's interfering, possibly manipulative, and a whole pile of fun. I went a little bonkers with this idea and explained away all odd quirks throughout history with the presence of vampires or werewolves or ghosts. Also, if vampires are sucking blood and changing mortals into immortals right and left, what's to stop them from causing a classic predator overpopulation problem? Trying to come up with a solution to this little biological issue formed the backbone for scientific thought in my alternative England.
So some of us may love vampires because they're sexy, and some of us love 'em because, in the end, they're really that geeky pasty-faced boy in the corner who stays up all night and has an adorable bit of a lisp and some serious food allergies. Fitting him into the mold of hero, or best friend, is where the true romance comes into play. I don't know about you, but I've always been a bit of a one for the awkward guy.
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You can also play the Alexia paper-doll dress up game at www.orbitbooks.net/soulless/.
Soulless hits shelves Oct 1, 2009
Changeless in April of 2010.