By Suzanne Carré
So far I’ve talked about vampires in terms of what they do—their biting habits, their kissing techniques, their sexual culture, and their prospective on love. Now it’s time to look at who these vampires are and what this means.
I’ve written a novel about vampires because using these mythical creatures provided the ideal arena to examine some fundamental aspects of the human condition. If we look at ourselves introspectively then we are confronted with pure opinion. The opinion of one thinker over the opinion of another thinker makes for great debate but solves nothing. To escape the trap of endless philosophy, we need to leave the human sphere in order to look back into it.
But why vampires?
I could have chosen any number of creatures haunting the depths of our imagination but I had a demanding criteria only filled by vampires.
- Firstly, my fantasy creation needed to be highly intelligent, capable of speech, and require their intelligence in their normal behavior. Their intellect needed to be natural and expected. Most folklore deals with nature-like entities devoid of a human-like mind or absent from a human-compatible world.
- I needed properties which were innate, preferably supernatural, not our technology against theirs. This is where aliens first failed the test.
- These other-world entities had to resemble us, not only for a believable interaction, but particularly for a romance. I needed an erotic image. (Aliens definitely fail this test.)
- They have to reflect us in all aspects so we will look deeper into ourselves. I needed the creature to be almost human, but not quite. I wanted them different but also share similarities so I could make comparisons.
My choice of criteria determined the creature I needed. The benefit of vampires is their natural eroticism, a key property I don’t need to suggest to the reader. Vampires covered all the bases, and more, because there are so many variations on the vampire theme, the scope was seemingly endless.
If I want to probe into questions concerning love, the reasons for sex, death and suffering, then I find no solution in the human story. I needed another prospective but one that not only conflicted with ours but also raises interesting questions in themselves. I don’t profess to have any answers but through the vampires I can experiment with scenarios not normally considered.
So where do these vampires come from?
Years of research—over a decade—where for the sake of my curiosity, I looked into these difficult ideas, and asked the questions no one seemed willing to deal with. The novel provided a perfect medium in which to delve into these challenging ideas. It gave me the freedom to use my imagination.
To avoid the potential of recreating a philosophical argument, a bore to my readers, the fiction provides a safe and entertaining environment in which to wonder. And if I’m talking about love then I want the setting to be a romance. If I’m discussing the benefits of sex, then the topic is shared with the intimacy of lovers. If I want to explore death then I need contrast between mortality and immortality.
I can ask just about any question and receive an answer from the vampires. Not because I already know the solution but to keep the story continuous, I had to modify the vampires in my story. I did this by creating a vampire biology and give believable reasons for their choices and opinions. With an underlying logic then there are reasons for the existence of vampires and credibility in asking about our being.
It is the consequences of the vampire existence that I wish to explore in the following articles. First I want to begin with what the vampires are when compared to us.