Fangs and Hair, Vamps and Weres, and What’s Next

I was pondering my continued enjoyment of werewolf fiction, especially in the wake of the polarized reaction to my review of Bitten, and started to wonder why were-predators and vampires seem to be still the dominant paranormal motif in romance. There are other paranormal creatures – faeries, were-amphibians, were-birds, demons, ghosts, incubi and succubi, for example – within the paranormal romance shelves, but the predominant creature, both in continued fascination and in number of titles, seems to be the weres and the vamps.

Why is that? There’s a lot of questioning as to why the Twilight series sustains its audience (which grows weirder and weirder with every movie release, holy hell) and why vampires remain so alluring, and why these creatures pair so well with romance. I think that the allure of vampires is related to the allure of were-predators: each metaphorically details and resolves a deep-seated human fear or struggle.

With vampire romance, beneath (heh) the resolution of the attraction and courtship, there’s obviously death. Whether the vampirism is explained by a virus or the creature in question is actually dead, putting aside the “Ew, necrophilia” questions, vampire romance negotiates and conquers or destroys death.

I’ve talked about why paranormal romance is so popular and related that to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US, and I think that same resolution of fear is, in part, what makes vampire romance so continually interesting to readers. I think (and many people disagree with me here) that paranormal romance became superbly popular in the US market following 9/11/01, for two main reasons. First, the evil is easily identified. Either he wants to exsanguinate you, or he gets really hairy in compliment to her lunar cycle, but the otherness and the potential intent to harm is pretty easy to spot. Contrast that with the kid and a backpack on the subway who might be a student or might be ready to blow himself and his neighbors to bits. The easily identifiable evil is a comforting contrast.

Then, there’s the resolution of that otherness. Either the Other is tamed by the Power of Lurrrrve™ and the protagonists united through conversion (she becomes a vamp, he becomes a were, etc) or the Other is destroyed because it’s the antagonist preventing the happy ending. And when a paranormal creature is destroyed in romance, it’s not just a duel with a handkerchief in the dew. The offending Other is chopped into pieces, set on fire, beheaded, and possibly sent to an entirely other dimension, depending on the world building and mythology at work. There is no ass kicking like paranormal villain ass kicking.

So when that taming and uniting or destroying happens within vampire romance, death is being vanquished at the same time. The unification with the heroine is symbolically a return to life. In Kresley Cole’s world, the vampires regain their heartbeats when they meet their mated other – a physical return to life. With Feehan’s Carpathians, they see in color after eons of monochromatic vision, and eventually indulge in requisite doggy style sexxoring. Nothing says back to life like backin’ that ass up, right?

With were-predators, I think, the issue being negotiated with the happy ending is anger. Combining animal instinct, predatory violence, and a code of rules and behavior that are both similar and separate from human society, were-predators can make for some amazing romance fiction. Instead of death, it’s rage and anger that are tamed and directed, or vanquished all together, and I think that for women particularly, that’s compelling. Were heroines come to terms with their violent side and have a proper and sanctioned outlet for all that unladylike rage and anger. Were heroes are isolated, even in a pack, and their rage must be tamed or redirected, or destroyed altogether, lest that anger and rage dominate the person. Emotional and psychological balance often factor into were romances, as well. Perhaps, even, it’s not so much anger as it is insanity that’s being negotiated in were romances.

When I was pondering this in 140-or-less on Twitter, Syzygy Magazine (NSFW) proposed that the vampires and the weres were recast archetypes which never go out of style, thereby extending their popularity as they reappear in other subgenres. The vampires are “the same brooding, wounded noblemen that dominate the period romance market, while the weres are “the tough, somewhat dangerous wilderness-connected archetype that usedto be rendered as cowboys.” I’m not sure I agree that the popularity can be explained simply by recurrence of archetype, and certainly there are broody weres up and down the joint, but that’s definitely a factor in their sustained popularity.

So what comes next? (heh.) What paranormal creature will rise (heh) to equal the vampire and the were in stature and publishing frequency? Are succubi and incubi the next big thing, or are their predatory sexual natures not that threatening? Ghosts are about death, but they’re also not entirely corporeal – something that troubled many a JR Ward fan. Zombies? Syzygy suggests that zombies represent the underclass; I think they represent decomp.

Are faeries the next big thing, or are they too complex to capture the romance reader imagination for repeated readings, since their mythology involves a very large and complicated society already? Maybe there isn’t a creature that captures, conveys and recasts a basic fear as much as vampires and weres do already.

What I’m most curious about is what creature could come next that would attract repeated readings of similar mythologies and characters as much as weres and vamps. Readers of were romance and vampire romance so often go after more of it, and seem to revel in re-experiencing the mythology and the courtship within it in books from a huge variety of authors. In fact, it’s that repeated reading of similar creatures that made me wonder if the attraction to the creature is tied to an underlying issue. Is there a similar issue that imbues a different paranormal creature? I’m not saying that we’re all neurotic morons who have our knickers tied into origami about death and anger. I do think, however, that the commonalities are revealing, and the enduring popularity of both vampires and weres indicates that more is being revisited than just a fangsome, hairy courtship.

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Random Musings

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  1. 1
    Scrin says:

    I’d honestly put down the bias in the weres down to charisma. There are charismatic animals that people like. Wolves, big cats of various kinds…Maybe a few more.

    As for the rest…Well, a little bit I’d lay at Harry Potter’s feet. After HP got going, fantasy got opened up to a more general audience and people found out it can be cool. Also, fantasy is fun to write, so if it’s selling, there’s people willing to write, creating a positive feedback loop. Since the romance genre is about the framework of the story and not the actual setting, it’s pretty reasonable to see a rise in the paranormal/fantasy romances.

    And, then you get things like Twilight, were it takes the tired old fantasy/paranormal/horror formula and gets the sparkle going by dusting the story up with crack like it’s powdered sugar on a donut.

    So, yeah, pretty much, fantasy writing (no matter if it’s set in some other world or in the streets of your own city) is getting mainstream and it’s got stuff the mainstream has yet encountered (I am quite proud that my Weird Shit Quotient is quite high, and therefore I can mess up the normos with stuff they haven’t heard of before.)

  2. 2
    lilacsigil says:

    Robots! Well, androids. Or golems. Marge Piercy’s “Body of Glass” (also known as “He, She and It”) while not romance, as such, works with the golem legend in robot form, and ever since I read it, I have had a distinct lack of robot romance in my life.

  3. 3
    ibm says:

    Great entry! The ass comment made me snort the water I was drinking all over my keyboard though :-)

    I agree with the robot as the next frontier. Both Linnea Sinclair and Catherine Asaro have a line in relentless Cyborg manly sex bots…Of course there are Angels, a la Sharon Shinn? Also Julien May’s books, which are essentially romances, have well developed faery themes. I found this good list on Amazon, complete with mermaids http://www.amazon.com/Paranormal-Romance-Takes-wing-Shifters/lm/R176HTZGF7DE7I

  4. 4
    Babs says:

    Oh God, please not faeries. As my daughter has just moved past the Disney Princess & Disney Fairy phase I just can’t do it…

    I like the robot angle however…

  5. 5
    SnowballOne says:

    Sarah,

    I’m getting very uncomfortable with the contempt for Twilight I see on this site. I’m not a huge Twilight fan – I read the books but I won’t reread them, and I haven’t seen the movies – but I believe all fans deserve respect, even if you personally don’t agree with the value or values of the works they enjoy. Or their means of expressing their enthusiasm.

    When you say the Twilight audience “grows weirder and weirder with every movie release, holy hell” – well, I see that as exactly the same fifteen-yard penalty you call when news outlets call romance readers frustrated housewives and romance novels bodice-rippers. It was unnecessary and truly a bit of a cheap shot. “Twilight” seems to have become a go-to punching bag around here – witness the Harlequin Presents titles content – just like romance is on other sites.

    I suppose what I’m saying is – let’s practice what we preach. If we don’t want people casually denigrating what we love, let’s not do it to others. If we want to say, “I found Twilight poorly written. I disagreed with the gender roles and I found the relationship to be abusive,” fine, those are specific criticisms, which might be relevant to their context. But could we avoid gratuitous snark?

  6. 6
    Edie says:

    Paranormal is fairly massive here in Australia too, most of the massive paranormal fans I know, also read normal fantasy (actually read the fantasy before the found romance as well as during) – so don’t know if that is the case with a proportion of US fans??
    I also think for some, it is easier to suspend disbelief for a paranormal than it is for some other genres within romance. Or that could just be me.

    We’ve already had ghosts.. early nineties is full of ghosts and time travel and even them combined. There are a lot of Demons already in e-pubs.. but futuristic seems to be making a bit of a comeback lately, so maybe it will be aliens?

    Verification word mean65 – LOL

  7. 7

    I don’t think it was necessarily 9/11 responsible for the rise in popularity of paranormal romance.  Paranormal romance was growing pretty steadily in the early ‘90’s, too.  It wasn’t as big as it is now, but it wasn’t difficult to find.

    If anything, I think 9/11 accounted more for the rise in popularity of fiction with military heroes.

  8. 8
    Jet says:

    Hey, nothing wrong with faeries especially the way Laurell K Hamilton writes them in the Merry Gentry series.  Oh boy, hot stuff. Definitely not Disney.

  9. 9
    Jen says:

    I think a lot of the links to – in particular- vampire fiction in general is that reaching for the unattainable and the temptation of a bad man who can’t be tamed. Every girl worth her salt would say she wants a bad boy for her own that she can tame with her mystical magic and vampire romance makes it a good outlet for that fantasy. They are the ULTIMATE bad boy that can never truly be redeemed.
    And the same goes for werewolves, the raw aggression and animal violence is something we want to be able to tame until we can pet them like little pussy cats.
    Of course, the only problem then is that once you tame them you don’t really want them anymore because they’re not the bad boys they used to be…these predators will never get like that because the dark side will always be a part of them, therefore giving them everlasting appeal.
    And that, I think, answers the question of “what next?” There is no “what next?” Sure you’ll have your faeries and your robots but nothing will ever have the same deep-rooted appeal as the endlessly naughty Vampire and Werewolf.

  10. 10
    kimsmith says:

    I predict angels.  Don’t know if Anne Rice’s new book is good or even what it’s about (other than the holy host), and there’s Ward’s new series (which I haven’t read either), but Hush Hush was good (a new teen book).  Part of the appeal of vampires is the “noble fallen” archetype, which one can play with quite a bit in angelic characters.  There’s also the appeal of the strong, background type of a literal guardian angel.

    I think angels are more challenging, though.  Taking a religious icon that’s supposed to represent ultimate goodness and tarting it up, so to speak, as opposed to the vampirc bad boy appeal, which is already outside of the religious experience and, well, full of Bad Boyness—that just seems a little edgier to me, since people don’t really believe in vampires, but some believe in angels.  Messing with the real versus the realm of the totally fantastic.

  11. 11
    Deb says:

    Every “new” element in romance (whether time-travel, paranormal, werewolves, vampires, fairies, robots, what-have-you) is an attempt to up the conflict quotient and thereby make the resolution that much more intense and satisfying (in more ways than one).  The key is always finding the right combination (and it does tend to be a zeitgeist thing) to enact the eternal dance of attraction-conflict/sexual tension-false resolution-more conflict/sexual tension-final resolution.  Many of the “old” tropes that gave the romance its conflict and sexual tension (nobleman/commoner, yankee/rebel, patriot/tory, rancher/farmer, settler/Indian) have been played out, so “new” ones have been introduced.  Eventually, they too will get old and something else will replace them.  I remember about 15-20 years ago, every other romance involved time travel.  You don’t see so many of those anymore.  At some point, even vampires and werewolves will give way to some other exploration of what-makes-the-world-go-round.

    As long as the stories are well-written with solid characters, I’m going to be reading romances regardless of how the love is manifested.  I’m sure I’m not alone in that sentiment.

  12. 12
    Debra Date says:

    Good article. Personally I think the popularity of the were/vamp trope is for a number of reasons, chief among these is the fact that almost everyone knows the basic vampire/were mythos (drinks blood/turns furry once a month). You would be hard pressed to find as large a group of people who know the basics of any other legendary creature (eg faeries). Angels would be perceived as taboo by many because of their religious connotations.
    Paranormal romances also head straight to the grunting cavewoman part of my brain that appreciates protection with aggression (even if the heroine can take care of herself).
    Wrap it all up in a big blanket of the Beauty/Beast trope and you’ve got the basics of a story that hits all my buttons.
    I think that fantasy/sci-fi will continue to grow. Take a look at the most innovative and culturally significant movies and books of the last 20 years, most of them are sci-fi/fantasy. These genres allows for a re-telling of a familiar story in unexpected ways.

  13. 13
    SB Sarah says:

    When you say the Twilight audience “grows weirder and weirder with every movie release, holy hell” – well, I see that as exactly the same fifteen-yard penalty you call when news outlets call romance readers frustrated housewives and romance novels bodice-rippers.

    Fair enough. My apologies.

  14. 14
    Alyssa F says:

    I think weres and vamps have appeal not only because of the danger, but because of an element I’ve seen in romances of every genre: let’s call it the “oh noes, I’m too kinky/rough/sexually demanding for this nice, sweet girl, she’ll never be able to handle me in bed, I must stay away!” trope. Basically, the hero’s animal/dark nature frees the heroine to be completely uninhibited with no fear of him thinking less of her for it, because she knows from the get-go that he is the same way, and that this makes her not only the woman he’s in love with, but his ultimate sexual fantasy as well- everything he’s ever wanted all rolled into one. (And isn’t that something we all want to discover that we are?)

    What’s coming next? Well, there seems to be a growing trend towards genetically engineered superhumans. I’ve also seen a growing number of demons. If Harry Potter has inspired the paranormal industry, then why oh why has the urban magician antihero (as seen in the writings of Jim Butcher, Simon R Green, etc) never really taken hold in romances?
    I WANT THAT. I would eat up those books like damn.

    Maybe I should submit a book recommend thing to see if there’s anything like that out there. Yes, I think I will.

  15. 15
    RStewie says:

    I agree with those above; evidently, the next new thing is Biblical: Angels, demons, fallen angels.  Brooks’ Guardian series has been on this for a while, and Singh’s new Archangel series is taking the mythology in a different and interesting direction.  Shinn I don’t read as Romance so much as Fantasy, but there’s no denying that she’s been down this road before, too.

    With the rise of steampunk, I think the robots might have a chance…someone would really have to do it right, though, for me.  When I think robots I think Terminator and/or Iron Man (I know, he’s not really a robot, it’s a suit)…but that’s not really sexxxy to me.  (RDJ IS Teh Sexxy, tho.)

    What I really love about Cole’s IAD series, though, is that there are SO MANY different mythologies included.  I love that she just takes all of them and throws them together.  I’m waiting for her to throw an angel in there…I saw it mentioned at one point, I think.

  16. 16
    brandi says:

    I think it would be impossible to determine what the next frontier is for the paranormal genre, because the success of Twilight can be mainly attributed to the fact that Meyers made it accessible to an audience that is not the typical paranormal romance reader.
    And I think your theories about vampires representing eternal life, and werewolves representing the rage inside of us is very thought provoking.
    I think the reason vampires and werewolves are so appealing is because vampires represent everlasting love while werewolves represent unbidden desire.
    I was just having a discussion with another writer about the main reason that Twilight’s werewolf vs vampire works so well is because they represent Bella’s growing sexuality.
    When Bella meets Edward he longed for her, had a hunger for her and eventually fell in love with her. It is a proper and sweeping romance. A love that will last forever.
    Jacob comes along when Bella is older, and he represents not love but sex. He has this fantastic body, he radiates heat, he walks about with this natural sexual charisma.
    Bella is 18 years old, and as a girl gets older, her longings for someone to love her endlessly are not always as strong as her natural hormonal desires.
    This is why the party lines are so split between the two. What type of man are you looking for, one that will love you and treat you like a fragile little china doll for all of eternity, or one that will easily rip off his clothes and as Trent Reznor says “F*ck you like an animal.”

  17. 17
    Debra Date says:

    Brandi, that last sentence is made of Pure WIN! I couldn’t agree more.

  18. 18

    I think vampires and weres have yet another appeal beyond the bad boy, rough side, taming the beast thing. 

    You brought up death, I rather think that popularity of vampires has to do more with the universal search for immortality in one form or another. It touches a common thread in all of humanity, which makes it more popular. Just look at all the religions in the world all explaining life of one form or another after death to see the appeal.

    With weres its another human basic, the freedom to release ones primal self within society. We expect weres to dominate, take what they want, be passionate and territorial. All things that if you did it at work would get you popped in the back of the head with a pink slip faster than you could crack open a book cover.

    If we take these two themes further then other characters with that same immortal bent or ability to safely showcase the primal nature of humanity are going to grow in popularity as well.

    On the immortal side, that would be things like angels (lets not forget Lucifer was the highest angel of them all so they do go bad on occasion), demons (which includes succubi and incubbi), fairies (the dark kind a la Melissa Marr) and ancient gods/goddesses. 

    On the animal side it would include shapshifters of other types not just the canine or feline varities.

    I’m not buying into the whole robot thing only because, seriously, what if it was programmed to just say it loved you? Would that really be the same thing?

    Ha! Spaminator is were34. Scary. It’s like it reads minds.

  19. 19
    Barb Ferrer says:

    I think if you want to know what’s going to be big next in terms of paranormal romance, it’s good to skim the YA shelves.  That said, I as was already said above, angels for sure and perhaps ghosts.  Fairies/fae, and I think more sophisticated retellings of fairy tales are going to gain steam again.  (Two that are making splashes right now are Ash and Fairest.)

  20. 20
    Theresa Meyers says:

    Brandi. Thank you. Now scared.

    Preteen daughter after seeing New Moon on Fri: “Mom, I don’t get why all the girls in my class like Edward. I mean he’s kind of like flour. But Jacob, Jacob is like chocolate chip cookies. Ok, more like just the chocolate.”

    O.M.G. I’m screwed, aren’t I?

  21. 21

    I think an underlying issue with vampire popularity is that they are powerful, alpha—but they are also vulnerable. There’s sunlight, vampire hunters, wooden stakes, vampire hunters, more evil vampires…and just night to night living that keeps them in a restless undead lifestyle. The love of a good woman brings changes beyond true love, it brings a way out of a dark life.

  22. 22
    teshara says:

    I want to see genies :D

  23. 23
    RebeccaA says:

    I was rereading Patricia Briggs the other day and thought of it as a bit like paranormal romantic suspense.  In contemporary romantic suspense there has to be a reason not to go to the police.  But when you add monsters, weres or vampires, then of course the human police can’t help, and the hero gets to kick butt, instead of just picking up the phone to call the local cops.

  24. 24
    JamiSings says:

    See, now I disagree with many of the reasons people might like vampires or werewolves. But only because that’s not why I like vampires. (Not a big fan of werecreatures.)

    For me it’s partly because in my freshman year of high school a lot of people died. My maternal grandmother, several friends of the family, and a friend whom was hit and killed by a car – she was 14. This left a big impression on me that made the immortality of vampires very appealing.

    The other is the fact I seem to encounter a lot of wimpy men in the real world. Men who stand by, refusing to tell a woman they like her, waiting for her to make the first move. Then when she goes off with some guy who was brave enough to say “I think you’re attractive and I’d like to get to know you better” stand there and whine “Women only want a**holes!” Not realizing it’s not a matter of women liking jerks, it’s a matter of the woman liking a man with a backbone.

    These same guys tell me it’s my lack of confidence, not my weight, that keeps me dateless. Yet can’t accept that their own lack of confidence also keeps them dateless. They equate being a wimp with being “a nice guy.” Plus their fear of rejection keeps them afraid. If they’d just man up and say “I like you” they’d have more dates.

    Vampires don’t lack confidence. Even the most tortured one goes for the girl if he’s attracted to her.

    Now as for The Next Big Thing -

    Fairies have been done. Like Moning’s The Immortal Highlander. And they do have their appeal. There’s also a lot of YA novels where fairies figure in. Though usually the heroine herself is half-fairy and doesn’t know it. So they have their place.

    Angels – well, they present a good source of conflict, actually. One would have to tread carefully. Plus angels, even the ones with male names, are actually suppose to be genderless. (Though some authors have suggested angels gain a gender should they “fall.”)

    However, like I said – good source of conflict. Like if an angel fell in love with an atheist. Now that same atheist would have to accept the existence of God. That their life was not the random events of evolution but a life of meaning with a higher purpose and what they did here on earth, even the tiniest thing, would have ramifications both here on earth after their death and in the next world. Or if the angel fell for someone who’s belief system is fundamentalist – be it Christian, Islam, etc. The angel revealing to them that ALL religious beliefs have value in the eyes of God, that the Wiccian down the street has just as much of a chance of getting into Heaven as the minister of the church. That Hell was really only for people like Hitler, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, and someday Casey Anthony. That being a homosexual isn’t a one-way ticket to eternal damnation. That the Jews are still the Chosen People.

    It would set someone who’s beliefs are so black and white spinning and make for excellent conflict. Perhaps though, way too heavy for a romance novel.

    For me – I kind of want to see aliens. (Though my idea could easily be done with angels or fairies too. BTW – I cannot write to save my life, so if this hasn’t been done and someone who does write wants to “steal” this, go for it. Just promise you’ll base a character off me. I’ll be happy to provide you with all the details. One of my long time fantasies has been to be the inspiration behind a romance novel heroine.)

    I want aliens whom are perfect according to our society’s standards. Each could be a super model. They’re all around 6 feet tall. All the men have roman noses and strong chins. The women are all hourglass shaped and their hips are never bigger then their breasts and their noses are dainty. Though they very in height slightly and coloration of skin/hair/eyes not one is more or less beautiful then the other. They’re also extremely intelligent with IQs of 200+.

    And when they come to earth – they chase after the imperfect. Fat women with sagging breasts, flat chested women, bald men, short men, fat men, too-thin men, bone thin women, women whom have to wax their upper lip once a week. Men or women whom have been disfigured in accidents or in the war. Etc etc. Just anything our society labels as “ugly” and makes people feel worthless.

    Because perfection is boring.

    It’s the physical imperfections, the wrinkles, the freckles, the acne that makes humans interesting to them. And when these same people reject them, thinking that no one this beautiful could want them and this is some cruel joke on the aliens’ parts, the aliens then have to spend time with the humans, getting to know them, and falling in love with their personalities. Their little quirks. Seeing beyond the bald heads and hairy upper lips, down to the person underneath. Falling in love with everything – good and bad. From their secret giving to charities to their bad tempers.

    That’s what I want to be The Next Big Thing. Perfect beings whom fall for the imperfect.

    But that’s just me and I’m weird.

  25. 25
    Kathleen says:

    I believe that since vampires and were’s are actually considered “damned” and “abominations” in mythology ,but we relate to them because they are or used to be human, that the popularity comes from having this “condition” be overcome by love and fated love.

  26. 26
    Laurel says:

    I’m predicting angels with a significant break from religious tomes. The ingredients are there: fallen, free will, forbidden love. Think City of Angels for a younger audience.

    Vampires will never go away. They make Byronic heros in a ready made package. They are dangerous and predatory and the heroine (or hero, if anyone will write that book) has to completely trust the vampire’s love or inherent goodness to master the instinct to kill. Chicks will always dig the Byronic archetype. Plus, no matter how liberated we get, evolution is at play here. Men are (usually) physically superior in terms of strength and speed and most women are attracted to that. Vampires, the way they are typically written, exagerate these qualities. Same is true for Weres.

    I think you’re right on the money with the Were appeal. It’s like the early 70s rape fantasies; it lets us indulge in something we would like without the guilt. Women in 1971 did not actually want to be sexually assaulted. What they wanted was forceful, visceral, and gratifying sex to someone they weren’t necessarily married to, without the social stigma. If she really wanted it but the man didn’t give her the option of saying no then she hadn’t done anything wrong. Twisted and sick, but hey, it clearly worked for a lot of readers.

    Weres do this for exploring violent and basic impulses. They are part animal, more connected to instinct and less limited by their cerebral cortices. Plus, they can go either way. Changing partners just for sex can be okay or destined to be together works, too. Wolves mate for life and have intense family bonds.

    And Sarah, I think you’re right about the post-9/11 era. Fantasy always has a spike after a cultural injury. Look at what the Vietnam war did for The Lord of The Rings.

  27. 27
    Lindleepw says:

    Wow. I just had a conversation with my friend a couple a days ago about why I’m not a Twilight fan, and we talked about some of the points that were brought up in this article. One of the main reasons I’m not a fan is that I’m really not that into vampires. I think a big draw of vampires is the whole eternal life thing. And that’s where I have a problem. I believe in heaven and that somday I’ll go there. So even though I have a healthy amount of fear regarding death, I’m okay with the thought of dying (after a long, happy life, of course. LOL). However, the idea of eternity has always wigged me out. I remember as a kid thinking of going to heaven and living for FOREVER and it just really freaking me out. I think the idea of eternity is really hard to relate to. The concept of eternity still bothers me sometimes, so vampires…don’t really interest me. Does anyone else have problems with eternity or am I just weird and alone in my issues?

    Also, I agree that angels are making a comeback. But not the Touched by an Angel type. There seem to be quite a few bad-ass angels out there that can’t be controlled. Kinda angels being bad boys, which can be very interesting.

  28. 28
    Laurel says:

    I think a big draw of vampires is the whole eternal life thing. And that’s where I have a problem.

    LOL, lindleepw! Me, too, but for much more prosaic reasons. They are always supposed to be physical perfection, right? But the standards of beauty change. 2000 years ago people had bigger jaws and I think more teeth. But the 2000 year old vampire is supposed to be ethereally beautiful?

    Charlaine Harris has the only major vampire contribution in current circulation that addresses this in any way. Older vampires don’t have perfect teeth- no fluoride, no braces=crooked and missing teeth. If they had bad skin before they were turned they still have scars. They might be short depending on heritage and nutritional status.

  29. 29
    Polly says:

    Sarah,

    I think you’re right about some of the appeal of vamps and were, but for me, the attraction of the were story in not just about anger/primitive impulse control or lack thereof, but also about the difficulties of having two identities that do not necessarily mesh with each other, but do not exclude each other either. Maybe it’s because I myself am from a minority group with a strong cultural identity, but I’ve always seen were stories as exploring, essentially, identity politics (it’s like the weirdest immigrant experience ever, where some difference from the dominant culture will always exist). Yeah, the anger and power aspects are totally there too, but it’s the belonging/not-belonging aspects that get me the most. I’ve always thought that’s part of the appeal of were stories to everyone, not just me, but now I’m wondering. Anyone there with me?

  30. 30
    rcw says:

    I don’t get it.  Romance and vampires just don’t go together; it’s sort of like mixing ice cream and vinegar, isn’t it?  As for angels, in Paradise Lost, Raphael explains to Adam that sex between angels is as far above sex between humans as angels are.  Under those circumstances, it would probably be difficult for a romance author to describe!

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