Friday, October 1, 2010

Kevin Jackson's top 10 vampire novels

I'm going to post them three at a time

 If you're thinking of staying safely indoors this Halloween, writer and vampire expert Kevin Jackson has selected the finest and most frightening bloodsucking stories to curl up with

Kevin Jackson's childhood ambition was to be a vampire, but instead he became the last living polymath. His expertise ranges from Seneca to the Sugababes, with a special interest in the occult, Ruskin, take-away food, Dante's Inferno and the moose. He is the author of numerous books on numerous subjects, including Fast: Feasting on the Streets of London, filmmaker Humphrey Jennings and edited The Oxford Book of Money.

Bite: A Vampire Handbook: A Vampire Miscellany by Kevin Jackson

His latest book, Bite: A Vampire Handbook, traces the history of the undead down the ages as well as offering a miscellany of vampiric trivia including the best places for vampire tourism, the best vampire-influenced songs, and, should the need arise, the best ways of killing the beasts. Buy Kevin Jackson books from the Guardian bookshop "Though I first learned to love vampires through the movies, my only access to those movies back in the days of the X-certificate (I was about 11, and you had to be 18, or was it even 21, to see a Hammer film, amazing as that seems nowadays, when they look about as scary as an episode of Scooby-Doo) was through the medium of print – a wonderful magazine called Famous Monsters of Filmland. From there, it was a very easy leap to reading the likes of Poe, and Mary Shelley, and Stoker … What larks! These days I obstinately tend to prefer vampire movies to most vampire fiction (the worst of which can be a bit pompous), but there are some wonderful exceptions: here are 10 of the best ..."

1. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Probably the single most influential vampire narrative written between Dracula in the late 1890s and Interview With The Vampire in the 1970s, (Anne Rice needs no plugging here; nor does Stephenie Meyer, nor Charlaine Harris ...), this was the novel which dragged vampires out of the gothic world of superstition and into the potentially even more terrifying world of science fiction. In the wake of a global war – probably a nuclear conflict – Robert Neville finds himself apparently the last man alive in all the world. But there are plenty of undead people, and every night when the sun has gone down, they attack his fortress home. There have been three film versions to date., most recently the big-budget production starring Will Smith, which had its moments; but none has captured the nihilistic chill of the original.

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