Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vamps vs Zombies

I recently read a blog post that suggested vampires were ‘out’ and zombies were ‘in’. I’m not sure I agree; yes, zombies have experienced a resurgence in popularity, but I think vampires are definitely still alive and kicking (er, dead and biting?). HBO’s fangtastic (they said it, not me) series, True Blood is ultra popular, Twilight is still all the rage, and I see magazine articles and new books coming out every week that feature vampires and our ongoing fascination with them.

Whatever the case, the popularity of both has resulted in an excellent crop of books for vampire and zombie fans.

For zombie lovers, I've been informed the BEST title is World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks.Written as a piece of nonfiction, Brooks’ book purports to be a report based on interviews and first hand testimony of survivors of the war with the undead. This “epochal event” has changed the landscape of the world and the course of humanity.

- For further reading suggestions check out this Zombie list at Vancouver Public Libraries

If you're looking for other fantastical creature, Kelley Armstrong has been writing a great series about werewolves, witches, and demons. Her Otherworld series begins with Elena the Werewolf narrating her novel, Bitten. Subsequent titles arenarrated by other characters with varying powers and levels of ‘humanness’, capped with another Elena title, Frostbitten, coming this fall.

Should you need more vampires in your life than Edward, and Bill (or Eric, depending on your team), try one of these titles:

Joss Whedon has carried on the wonderful Buffy television series, but in comic book form. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 has been collected into four (so far) graphic novels: The Long Way Home, No Future for You, Wolves at the Gate, and Time of Your Life. All of the characters (except Anya *sob*) return and are excellently represented in the illustrations. Carrying on where the series left off, Xander and Andrew have become watchers and the Scooby gang has spread out across the globe, seeking out and training new slayers. There may be surprise appearances from beloved characters who have moved beyond our mortal coil.

The Buffy comics initiate a cross over comic, Fray by Joss Whedon, featuring a more futuristic vampire slayer, named, obvs, Fray. Whedon has also continued the Angel story inAfter the Fall.

Suck it Up by Brian Meehl bears resemblances to True Blood in that the main character is “out” as a vampire, drinks from synthetic blood rather than humans, and there are strong allegorical connections to the gay and lesbian community. It’s also a dark comedy.

You might also try Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, upon which True Blood is based, the Blue Bloodsseries by Melissa de la Cruz, or the House of Night series by P.C and Kristin Cast. If you really want to be on the ball, pop culture-wise, you should start reading Darren Shan's Cirque Du Freak series now, before it hits the big screen, with John C. Reilly and Salma Hayek, in October.

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