This week I’m reading the vampire genre classic Sunglasses After Dark by Nancy Collins, which has been edited, reformatted and quasi-updated in a Kindle edition. Why “quasi-updated”? Well there are sporadic references to modern trifles like cell phones (and even an iPhone reference was dropped in), but nobody has a computer and I don’t remember anyone doing a Google search so far in their efforts to locate missing heiress Denise Thorne (who is now the vampiric vampire hunter Sonja Blue), which betrays the book’s late 1980s/early 1990s roots. I’m not complaining (though a number of Amazon reviewers are), since I did something similar with my vampire novel Long Before Dawn, updating it just enough to hand-wave away the fact that if everyone just had their cell phones turned on, the whole vampire hunting thing would have gone a lot more smoothly. But then, if vampire-hunting goes smoothly, what fun is that?
The vampire killer stood in the main hall, holding the carpetbag that contained the tools of her trade. The peasant coach driver deposited her at the foot of the road that lead to the castle before driving away as fast as he could, leaving her to walk the rest of the way.
To quote Billy Cole: “Well, what do we have here? Vampire-killers?” Except in this case, at this point in the book, you’re likely to be rooting for the vampire.
Since we’re on the topic of vampires, rather than the usual teaser from the conclusion of Shards that I’m working on, I figured I would throw out a quote from the aforementioned Long Before Dawn, in which the local police get schooled by a Fearless Vampire Hunter in the finer points of taking down the undead.
“All right. Suppose—just suppose, for the sake of argument—that you’re telling the truth, that there are … vampires running around. What do we do about it?”
“Well, for starters, your guns are pretty much useless,” Ken said. “Unless you blow their head clean off, they’ll keep coming no matter how many bullets you put into them.”
“Barry emptied a gun into one and it didn’t stop him,” Roxanne added.
“Marvelous,” Lee said. “What will work?”
“Garlic. It sets off some kind of reaction when it touches them. It’s like super acid.”
“You’re telling me I gotta load my men up with garlic?”
“It would help,” Ken said. “And stakes. Wooden stakes in the heart will kill them. Any other material won’t do. Or you could cut off their heads.”
Lee grunted. “Unfortunately swords are in short supply.”
“What about crosses?” Davidson asked.
“Useless, unless the vampire’s a Christian,” Ken said. “You have to show them a symbol of their old religion from when they were alive. My wife is … was Presbyterian, which means crosses should work on her.”
“And this Martel character?”
“Balls,” Lee said.
Fair warning to dog lovers: Something Very Bad happens to a puppy in Long Before Dawn. And for you baby lovers out there, Very Bad Things happen to babies, too. Twice. Why? Because, as discussed here previously, vampires are monsters! (No offense, Sonja Blue. As far as vampires go, you’re not half bad.)