Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Santa got run over by a vampire

By Tom Ross

Harris clearly knows the craft of writing. How else to explain the fact that five of her Sookie Stackhouse books are on the Times’ top 20 list for mass-market fiction paperbacks?

But doesn’t it strike you that in the midst of the holiday season, the current popularity of vampires is a little odd? Whatever happened to “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly” and “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire?”

One of the most popular Hollywood movies this season is “Twilight,” the romantic tale of a teenage girl with a crush on a young vampire (one who prefers not to drink blood). The second film based on the Stephenie Meyer novels, “New Moon,” already is in production.

On Donner, on Blitzen, on Dancer and Prancer and Lestat! What would Santa’s elves say?

I’m not putting Harris down. In fact, I envy her. I’ll be able to tell you more about what I think of her prose by the end of the week — I just checked out “All Together Dead” from Bud Werner Memorial Library on Monday afternoon.

The books deal with Louisiana vampires who are out in the open and trying to co-exist with humans. The Times reports that when Sookie Stackhouse’s boyfriend is kidnapped in “Club Dead,” “she goes to Mississippi to find him with the help of an undead Elvis.”

Hold on just a second. Elvis was no vampire, was he?


If you’re still hung up on vampires, you might dig up a copy of Nina Auerbach’s “Our Vampires, Ourselves,” published by the University of Chicago Press in 1995. Auerbach presents a history of societal views on vampirism and takes the sometimes controversial stance that each generation reinvents vampires to suit the needs of contemporary culture.

I just hope I don’t have a nightmare tonight in which Dancer and Prancer are vampires.