30 Days of Vampires–Vampire Fiction – Is It a Passing Fad?

November 19, 2008 | Vampires, 30 Days of Vampires | 24 comments

30 Days of Vampires Schedule
Jennifer Ray is an avid reader and owner of the online review site, www.wildonbooks.com. She has many vampire authors listed on her page of favorites and was kind enough to stop by 30 Days of Vampires to share her views on whether vampire are still hot or stone-cold dead…

Jennifer RayVampires are EVERYWHERE. OK, maybe not really, but you definitely find them starring in numerous books, movies, and even television shows. In the world of romantic fiction, they say that vampires are ‘hot’ right now. In my opinion, I don’t think they’ve ever really been out.

You can go back decades, even centuries and find the world harbored a fascination for these dark creatures. One of the most famous bloodsuckers of all time is, of course, Bram Stoker’s DRACULA, but the legend of the vampire goes back even further in fictional literature dating back to the 1700’s. Prior to that, this creature was already deeply entrenched in the folklore of numerous cultures, although the term ‘vampire’ was not popularized until the 18th century. Still, a bloodsucker by any other name is still a vamp, right?

So why the fascination with what, for the most part, is considered a being of evil? Perhaps it is because this particular demon was once human, and was usually turned in the prime of their life, preserving his or her youth for eternity. Or, maybe we just feel sorry for this lonely creature doomed to a solitary life spent without the joy of ever feeling sunlight upon his face again.

Of course, some vampires are more sympathetic than others. Anne Rice did a spectacular job of building a captivating world for her vamps with her VAMPIRE CHRONICLES series. She gave her creations motivations that we mere humans can understand, even empathize with. She made them likable, no matter how many foibles they had. Lestat, in particular, is the vampire we all love to hate. But even while we deplore some of the things he did, in the end we can’t help but love the rascal.

For me, that’s when I first found the vampire really likable. I’d long been fascinated by nightwalkers, but had primarily read horror stories where the vamps are always villains. But Anne Rice humanized the vampire. Not only that, she made her vampires extremely desirable, beyond the old hypnotic spell that vampires of old cast to capture their prey. No, Rice’s vampires were downright charismatic. Is it any wonder that equally charismatic actors such as Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, and Tom Cruise (OK, the world liked Tom at the time) were cast in the roles of her star vampires?

After devouring all of Anne Rice’s vampire novels, I looked for more of the same. I found Sherrilyn Kenyon’s DARK-HUNTERS, with stories that are definitely dark and serious, yet still fun and full of hope. Kenyon puts a very unique spin on the mythos for her vampire world, using ancient Greek myths to birth the creation of her DARK-HUNTERS. From there, the stories evolved and now include legends and characters from many of the various culture’s, including the Egyptian and Sumerian pantheons.

And that is one thing that really intrigues me – how many different ways can various authors tell the vampire story? Some stick to the traditional legend where a victim is turned by being drained by a vampire, dies, and then rises as a member of the Undead, complete with their own set of shiny new fangs. Others, like author Brian Lumley, tell a story in which the vampire is a parasitic/symbiotic organism, living inside a host and taking control of him while imbuing that host with extraordinary powers. And there are even stories where vampirism is a virus, infecting humans through some kind of contact, airborne or directly.

I am fascinated by the fact that authors keep finding ways to make an old legend fresh. This theme just never gets stale, unless written poorly. So what do I think about people saying that vampires are ‘hot right now’? I think that’s a load of rubbish. The statement implies that vampire fiction is a passing fad, when it is a genre that now seems as immortal as the creature itself.
Jennifer A. Ray
Wild on Books Reviews

Order books by authors mentioned in this post:

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Complete Vampire Chronicles (Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, The Queen of the Damned, The Tale of the body Thief) by Anne Rice

One Silent Night (Dark-Hunter, Book 13) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Necroscope by Brian Lumley


  1. Danielle

    Lori, Ever since you talking about the book “Dracula” in your “Whitby-Dracula’s Destination” post a few days ago I have now added that book to my wishlist because I am so tempted to read it!

    As for being facinated with vampires it’s not because I feel sorry for them… I really don’t know what my reason is for being facinated with them… they just completely catch my interest. I love learning about anything paranormal… especially vampires! :D

  2. Brooke

    I’ve been reading vampire books since I was 12. Definitely NOT a fad! :)

  3. Colleen

    I enjoy reading the many different approaches to Vampires… each author bring them to life in interesting ways! The variety is wonderful! :D

  4. Lea

    Hey Jennifer:

    I agree with your analysis with respect to the allure of vampires in fiction. I don’t think these books will ever become passé.

    I’ve long been facinated with the vampire myth in literature and like you have read all of Rice’s books, Bram Stoker etc.

    I think the proliferation of vampire stories under the paranormal romance umbrella is interesting though. There is something truely charismatic about these fictitious creatures, maybe it’s the fact they are usually centuries old, or the feeding that often heightens the sensual experience for the hero and heroine of the story?

    I read an interview with author Tanya Huff a while back with respect to her series “The Blood Books”, which were written pre cell phones so I think late 1980’s? I read them years ago, long before the televison show based on the series (which was nothing like the books by the way lol). Ms. Huff said she believed there is something with respect to the vampire feeding and sex that heightens the eroticism on page. I have to say that I agree with her. Vamps are darn sexy and be it paranormal romance, urban fantasy or horror I don’t think stories about them will ever go out of fashion.

    My two cents.
    Always great to chat Jennifer. :D

  5. Deidre

    You’re right, vampires will never get old or totally out of fashion. Their popularity may decrease at times, but there will always be some die-hards, like me, who will be around to show the love! LOL


  6. Cathy M

    I’ve been hooked on vampire storylines for years and always have new stories on my wish list.

  7. Caffey

    I actually haven’t read those books such as Dracula and Anne Rice’s books. I attempted to but there was too much gore in them. I still stick to those vampire and other paranormal books that are romance, not horror or thrillers. So for me, these reads are more of a variety of paranormal reads and many do them differently so I like the creativeness. I know that historical romances are still around and have been for a long time so I think paranormal will stay too. Maybe there will be some themes there that will not be as much, like with historicals, not too many westerns, but then they come back and see a few more.

  8. Carmen R

    I have been reading vampire stories since I was a small child. I think from the first time they were put onto the scene they were here to stay.

  9. Karin

    I definitely have to agree with you, Jennifer, in your defense of vampires not just getting ‘hot’ now but having been around for centuries. I really don’t think their popular is a fad, but it has definitely spiked, especially with the help of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight.

  10. Debby

    I do not think they are a passing fad. There are always new fans coming along!!

  11. Pan Zareta

    Vampires are not a fad for me, either. I’ve been interested in them for years!

  12. Jennifer A. Ray

    Crystal, that’s an interesting blog… Thanks for the link! You think it would blow his mind if we told him shape shifter romances are as big as vamp romance? LOL

    Danielle, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to completely pinpoint what shapes my own interest in them, but it is definitely long-lived and undeniable.

    Brooke, I am glad to see you agree! :-)

    Colleen, I agree that different authors bring them to life in interesting ways. I love to see a different spin on the mythos from each writer.

    Lea, I always enjoy your comments! I haven’t read Tanya Huff but now I’ll need to look her books up…

    Donna, I was a huge fan of both the original Dark Shadows series and the remake they made in the 90s. I was so disappointed that it didn’t make it the second time around – they had a great cast!

    Deidre, I will always be a die-hard too. I may take breaks for short periods, but I will always want a vamp book on my shelf, or be ready to watch a new vampire movie or tv series. Then again, if I have read nothing but historical romance for a while, I take a break from that as well and switch to paranormal, contemporary, or another genre. Variety is the spice of life, but vamps will always be a staple in my library.

    Cathy M, I could say the exact same thing… :-)

    Caffey, I can definitely understand that the vamps of horror genres may not be to everyone’s taste. I’m drawn to both the horror and the romance vamps, for different reasons. I like a good scare, but sometimes you really want that happy ending that comes with the romances.

    Carmen, I agree that our vamps are here to stay!

    Karin, you are so right. Vamps will never be unpopular, but I definitely think that there are certain stories that thrust them into the spotlight a bit more, like the movie Twilight is doing now.

    Debby, always new fans and new authors – much to my delight! :-)

    Pan, welcome to the majority! :D

    Thanks everyone for contributing to the discussion! I look forward to reading more comments from everyone.

    Lori, thank you so much for having me guest today. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying each of the days in your ’30 Days of Vampires’ celebration so far and will be back each day for more!

  13. Pam P

    Another one who’s been reading vamps for years, not a passing fancy for me; I’ve always been interested in the occult and different.

  14. blackroze37

    i been following maggie shayne and amanda ashley , for yrs befoe the :fad:
    i still got some silhouette shadows

  15. Kimberly B.

    Great post! I’m really a wimp, so I have to say I didn’t read too much vampire fiction until I discovered both Anne Rice and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (I can’t remember who first). One of the great things these authors did, by taking vampires out of the horror genre, was to make them accessible to squeamish scaredy cats like me. Though I’ll admit, now that I’m older, I can appreciate a good old-fashioned “vampire as villain” tale, as long as it’s more spooky than gory—Colleen Gleason and Dawn Thompson’s tales come to mind.

  16. blackroze37

    o i love your myspace blogs!

  17. Margie

    I love how different authors portray vampires in so many different ways.

  18. Debbie

    I agree with the majority. I don’t think vampires are a fad. They will never be “out of style.”

  19. Lucile

    I think that, like Harry Potter, Twilight managed to do the genre in that way that was safe enough to be . . . Appealing/acceptable to the masses & so the media helped it along . . .

    I don’t think that True Blood & Twilight being out/on at the same time (it’s been pointed out a lot) means anything other than those were good book series-that make good vampy shows, just like Buffy, Angel, Blood Ties, Moonlight, etc.

    So, basically, no, I don’t think it’s a fad; I just think that the media’s choosing the moment to notice ;)

  20. Lori T

    I have to agree that vampires have been around for a very long time and are not just a passing fad. It is great how authors have the ability to create new and exciting worlds about vampires that keep us coming back for more.

  21. Bertena

    does anyone remember the TV Show Cliff Hanger? Well that got me started when I was 5 yo. Me and my 2 guy best friends would play “Dracula” on the playground. Since I was the only girl I had to either play Mina or Lucy. I didn’t always like that because I wanted to be the vampire sometimes too.
    Point being it is just becoming mainstream. I am now 37 and remember vampires always being a part of my life.. friends say I am addicted but I just devour any vamp lit. I love Reme Lyons Templar Vampires, LJ Smith’s Night World Series and of course Twilight. I was one of the ones secretly hoping that Snape in Harry Potter was going to turn out to be a vampire… but oh well

    So no it’s not a fad for us true fans, it may be for the mass public but vampires are as they truely are….immortal and cannot be killed

    BTW- my real name is Varney like Varney the Vampire- Feast of Blood. I joke all the time that I was born to love vampires.

  22. Michelle B.

    The variety offered in the vampiric genre I think lends itself to a long lasting draw to readers…


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