Thursday, August 15, 2013

Those of My Blood

Jacqueline Lichtenberg is best known for her distant-future Sime-Gen series, in which humanity has mutated into two varieties in a symbiotic relationship whereby Simes must draw life-force from Gens to survive. She also wrote a near-future science fiction vampire novel, THOSE OF MY BLOOD (1988). Its alien vampires, the luren, originate on another planet. Often interbreeding with humanity, they live on Earth in secret. Stranded on our world for generations, the luren have developed into two factions, the Residents, who believe in responsible coexistence with humanity, and the Tourists, who exploit human beings as prey and devote their energies to the goal of returning to their home world. Residents live on cloned blood and resist the temptation of feeding directly on people; they do, however, crave "ectoplasm," human psychic energy. A luren ship that has entered the solar system is being studied at a lunar base, where scientists are preparing to send a message to the luren home world. Titus, a Resident and vampire-human hybrid, is sent to the moon to prevent the message from being transmitted, on the grounds that the luren would prove hostile to humanity. Abbot, Titus's vampiric "father," a Tourist, appears on the scene to thwart Titus's mission. Years previously, Titus "died," and Abbot's blood brought him to life, transmuted into the vampire mode of existence -- hence their "father-son" bond. On the captured luren ship, a single crewman sleeps in suspended animation. When he awakens, Titus must "father" him, leading to further complications, as Titus attempts to block Abbot while maintaining secrecy about the vampire species.

Lichtenberg’s vampires have a power of irresistible psychic compulsion, called Influence. Luren Influence can even cause human observers to believe they have seen events that bear no relation to what really happened. As side effect of these vampires' psychic power, they possess superior erotic skills. During sex with his human lover, Titus absorbs ectoplasm from her (without drinking her blood), making the experience ecstatic for both of them. Lichtenberg also offers ingenious scientific rationalizations for the "native earth" superstition and the belief that vampires can’t cross a threshold uninvited. Though this story superficially fits the "good vampire / bad vampire" model, we gradually discover that Abbot is not "evil," only an antagonist pursuing goals that seem worthwhile to him by means that conform to his own code of ethics. In the end, neither Titus nor Abbot wins completely, and Earth has a little more breathing space to prepare for dealing with the aliens. In a companion novel, DREAMSPY (1989), set outside our solar system, we meet the luren on their own terms as respected members of the interstellar community.

You can read more about THOSE OF MY BLOOD, with sample chapters and links to Lichtenberg’s other works on vampires, here:

The Luren

Margaret L. Carter

Carter’s Crypt

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