So this week I was reading All the Birds in the Sky, the Nebula and Locus award-winning pre-apocalyptic SF/Fantasy mashup by Charlie Jane Anders, in which a small group of witches goes to war with a small group of techies as each tries to save the world in its own particular idiom, which are, unfortunately, sort of diametrically opposed. Or at least that’s what they think.
I’ve at last gotten around to Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend , which has been on my “to read” list for years. I’m liking it so far, but what’s most interesting to me is that (minor spoiler alert), in Long Before Dawn, I took the same approach to crosses and other holy symbols that Matheson did–i.e., a holy symbol only works on a vampire who practiced the represented religion when alive. As the main character in I Am Legend, Robert Neville, says: “… neither a Jew nor a Hindu nor a Mohammedan nor an atheist, for that matter, would fear the cross.” He later goes on to explain that because the classic vampire legend arose in heavily Christian Europe, the cross became identified–wrongly–as the universal anti-vampire ward, which is exactly what I was thinking when I wrote Long Before Dawn.
Other than this little tidbit, of course, the two books are completely different. Matheson takes a rigorous, scientific, naturalistic approach to his vampires, whereas mine are supernatural beasties who can fly around and turn into mist. Still, I find myself pleased to find that my vampire book has something in common with one of the undisputed classics of the genre.
Now if I can just interest Will Smith in starring in an adaptation of Long Before Dawn, that would be another similarity, and one I could definitely live with …
“Organic Science” is a postapocalyptic tale set on an Earth that has been conquered by a race of reptiles, called “Lizzies” by the remnants of humanity who live as exhibits in zoos. In the original version, the Lizzies were intelligent dinosaurs who had used time travel to escape into the future; in the version that appeared as the January 1999 lead story in the magazine Not One Of Us, they had become aliens. Either way, they don’t waste much.
The stink was particularly bad today. It was the heat; high temperatures stimulated the growth of the bacteria that gave the Lizzies their putrid, rotten-meat odor. In all fairness, he probably didn’t smell so good himself.
Alistair kicked his feet in the lukewarm water of the pond. He took a drink of blackberry wine, then nearly choked on it as a bugship swept in and hovered overhead. The flying machine resembled a gigantic insect, with six spindly legs, multifaceted eyes, and membranous wings that split the sunlight like a prism. The downdraft rattled the heat-shrunken leaves, broke the surface of the pond into ripples, and kicked up stinging dust from the dry earth. Alistair shielded his eyes with his hand.
After a moment the bugship zipped off, the buzz of its wings fading. Alistair shook his head, flinging grit from his hair. The surface of the pond was coated with dust and leaves.
He remembered the first time he had seen a bugship, during the war, when they had made a desperate attempt to understand and replicate Lizzie technology. But their machines were completely organic, and decomposed rapidly when not maintained. Captured Lizzie equipment quickly became useless goo; not that they had ever captured much of it anyway.
Because the Lizzies had won every battle, right from the start.