01/12/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Checkmark Books/Infobase Publishing. 125 page illustrated indexed medium-size softcover. Price: $10.95 (US), £ 5.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-7910-9895-0.
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My comments last month with Rosemary Ellen Guiley's 'Witches And Wiccas' about her short line structure is completely unfounded with 'Vampires', the next book in the series because the line structure is as you normally expect. Although, other than ISBN, there is no indication which order these books are written in but I hope this is a good sign.
So this time Guiley looks into the subject of vampires. From the real thing to the fictional media from the written word to films and TV, she explains the history of the vampire across the world. Mankind has had legends of these blood-drinkers and it's not something that owes itself solely to Romania. A lot of that can be blamed on the imagination of Bram Stoker and that Count he wrote about. Indeed, so can their limitations. I hope a lot of writers read this book because it will certainly give a better insight and not to just replicate the fictional ideas. Guiley even points out that vampires weren't even called vampires originally but revenants, a term meaning ghosts or the restless dead. The fear of vampires was percolated by the ignorance of the different times it took for bodies to decompose and even burying people who were just comatose and not really dead so it's not really surprising paranoia sunk in.
When it comes to Guiley's knowledge of media vampires there are some errors and things missing and this probably shows more about my knowledge than hers. I'm surprised that she missed out on the film 'Near Dark' and the three vampires you would not want to meet in an isolated roadside cafe. Robert Bloch's story 'The Cloak' was used as a part of the film 'The House That Dripped Blood'. All the incarnations of 'The Addams Family' didn't actually have vampires in them, that was 'The Munsters'. Morticia wasn't a vampire but a vamp. Considering how she took root when she stood still, Morticia was more likely to be a wood nymph.
Guiley hits on all the other bases including the modern day vampires who live the life-style and even psionic vampires who absorb energy instead of haemoglobin. If you want a quick reference and ready knowledge on the subject of vampires then this isn't a bad choice to own.
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