Today, I want to share a guest post I once penned for Words In Sync.
Many people assume, since I write vampire novels, that I’m a huge vampire fan.
This doesn’t mean I’m not a vampire fan at all; it’s simply an honest admission that I’m not a huge vampire fan. I haven’t tracked down and watched all the classic vampire films. I haven’t read all the recommended novels. I don’t even have a predilection for darkness or crimson drinks.
Nevertheless, I do possess a respectable collection of vampire movies and novels. Most importantly, however, I possess a tremendous dose of respect, admiration, and appreciation for the vampire as a legend in fiction.
In fact, I believe vampires are the greatest legends in fiction.
Before anyone starts seeing red, please let me elaborate. Fictional individuals are excluded from that assessment; I’m not ranking vampires against Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur, anyone associated with religion, etc. I’m also excluding legends that exist/existed, but have been fictionalized, such as pirates, ninjas, or medieval knights. Superheroes are excluded, as well, because they don’t occupy their own demographic.
Okay, let’s back up a few steps and approach this again. How about we start by taking a look at an alphabetical Top 10 list of fictional legends?
All of the list’s inhabitants have enjoyed decades, if not centuries, of popularity. All have seen their popularity experience ebbs and flows. Most have evolved through multiple incarnations and re-imaginings. So, how is it that I come to believe that vampires are the greatest legends in fiction?
You might think I approached such a decision from a logical perspective. Perhaps I took a qualitative stance, somehow gauging and interpreting each legend’s historical impact on society? Or perhaps it was quantitative; measuring which legend had amassed the most impressive body of evidence over time?
Nope, my approach was much simpler than either of those—in fact, I might argue that my approach was so simple as to be genius, but I’ll leave that decision in your hands.
My determination was based upon the answer to one simple question: Given the choice, which legend in fiction would you be?
Almost every one of you would choose to be a vampire.
Oh, there would be outliers, of course. There always will be. From the people who are out of touch with reality, to those who are out of touch with their inner child, to those who insist on choosing differently than the “majority,” you can rest assured that a control group will always return wide and varied results in any poll.
Such is life.
But this is my guest blog, so I can defend my results. And I shall! Let’s begin by looking at the nine losers and examining why a logical, rational person wouldn’t choose to be one.
1. Who wants to be an alien? Heck, most of us feel alien enough in our own skins from time to time (remember those wonderful teenage years?) to ever give being an actual alien any serious consideration.
2. Angels are predictable. Every single one is either: fallen, about to fall, hunting the fallen, or condescendingly aloof about his/her perfection (because he/she never fell, of course). Talk about boring. Where’s the divine diversity that will set an example for the secular world? And what’s up with full-time wings? Why, with them, you’d never have a reason to brave the myriad experiences of going through airport security.
3. Dwarves. Must I even argue this? For the sake of being fair, let’s do this: anyone who has ever—once—dreamt of being a dwarf, please leave a comment about it below. [Hint: if the comment doesn’t include the appeal of being close to precious stones, I’d think twice.]
4. Elves are a close second to vampires. I’ll admit it; they’re damned cool. In fact, if they hadn’t abandoned Middle-Earth at the end of LOTR, I’d probably choose them … but, when the going got tough, they took off! And for all their wisdom and experience, leaving the world in the hands of humans was a good decision in whose eyes?
5. What’s the appeal of being a ghost? The ability to haunt people left behind? While that’s useful for exacting fleeting revenge on an ex-lover who wronged you, or for career voyeurs, there’s no other viable reason to choose being a ghost over … anything.
6. How the heck did mermaids even make this list? Oh, yeah—the lingering affection for Disney’s Ariel and the awesomeness of the mermaids in the last Pirates of the Caribbean film. Still, I’d argue that, instead of being a mermaid, the majority of men are more interested in finding a mermaid, while the majority of women have no interest whatsoever in turning into something that will be forever chased by love-hungry sailors.
8. Skipping vampires (for obvious reasons), we’ll move on to werewolves. Let’s face it; all of us would prefer having a best friend who’s a werewolf to being a werewolf. Werewolves may provide muscle, an emergency blanket, and/or fodder for a never-ending parade of “wet fur” and “walking carpet” jokes, but it’s the latter that makes being one so unappealing … that, and the whole being-a-slave-to-your-body-once-every-month dynamic. A woman can handle it, but a man wouldn’t have the mental or emotional fortitude.
9. The only reason to be a witch/wizard is if you can be Harry or Hermione. Thanks to Rowling, nothing short of that will suffice (with deepest apologies to Ron and all the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons).
10. Okay, it’s time to examine zombies. On second thought, let’s not. Dead, rotting corpses that are somehow reanimated? Call me a coward, but I have no desire to examine anything dead, rotting, or reanimated, much less all three. Nor do I wish to become one. It doesn’t mean zombies aren’t cool as hell (there’s an oxymoron for ya’), because they most assuredly are—that’s why Væmpires features a guest appearance by vampire zombies—it just means most people would rather be anything else, including actually dead ‘n buried, than a zombie.
Well, there you have it: the reasons why you wouldn’t want to be any of the above. And believe me, even if you took exception to an item on the list—if you would swap dwarves for dragons or mermaids for mummies, for instance—I guarantee that the end result would be the same. [Mummies? Just think how bad feet get when they don’t breathe. Imagine your whole body?]
Now, that doesn’t mean that vampires win by default. That type of victory may be good enough for child custody cases or reality television, but not my poll.
Unfortunately, just like child custody cases or reality television, the judges don’t usually divulge the real reasons behind their decisions. We just have to live with those decisions, and the fact that those decisions are the final word.
So, I say that vampires are the greatest legends in fiction. Consider yourselves lucky that I shared as much as I did.
But feel free to chime in below.