Some Reflections on the Vampiresses Monami and Mignonette; Latest Star*Line, Dwarf Stars 2012 Received

It occurred to me that the reason I feel that the character of Monami is what makes VAMPIRE GIRL VS. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL work as a movie (see post just below) is not just the strength of the actress that plays her, but the way the part is written as well.  We have very little back story on the other major characters, their motivations are at best sketched in (Keiko, e.g., wants to go steady with their common love object, but other than Mizushima being good looking — and, yes, her pride perhaps being hurt as well — we really don’t know enough to take us beyond the stereotype of a high school “woman scorned”; we know Keiko’s father considers himself the heir, in some fashion, of Dr. Frankenstein, but again we really don’t know why), and so they come off as one-dimensional.  But, for Monami. . . .

At that point I wondered about my own story, “Naughty or Nice,” published just before last Christmas in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION and subsequently reviewed very flatteringly by Carl Slaughter for DIABOLICAL PLOTS (see December 28 2011, et al.; for review, May 5 this year), including the quote “She [Mignonette] delves into past life dating back hundreds of years.”  She was, in fact, the one surviving “Bride of Dracula” of the three staked by Abraham van Helsing, subsequently fleeing from Transylvania to Paris  where, in the story, “[she made] a life for herself among its souillons — its common street trash — then clawed her way up, as a woman must do.”  Similarly we see, in a flashback, Monami as a little girl cowering in the forest as her mother is slaughtered before her eyes, then, as she tells Mizushima, being “on her own” for some unstated number of years (but at least several centuries, we’re given to assume).  Their attitudes toward ordinary people are similar too, Monami not overtly going out of her way to kill unless she has to (certainly less a killer than the wholly human school nurse) but, when she must, not really understanding either why people make such a big deal of it — why, for instance, Mizushima wouldn’t instantly agree to share a life of blood drinking with her; Mignonette also tries not to kill if she can help it, but at the same time professes not to understand people’s negative reactions if she should (“They persecuted her kind for drinking bodily fluids, yet sold milk openly in their stores!”).  Mignonette, returning to the review, is described as “a very  sexy and very charming bloodsucker” while, as for Monami, we only have to watch the film to realize there’s much more to her than just actress Kawamura’s good looks.

So the lesson:  It’s character that makes the story, at least in the case of “Naughty or Nice” and VAMPIRE GIRL VS. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL (although, admittedly, the action, gore, and unabashed humor of the latter add to it as well).

Moving to the more sublime (my contributions to them possibly excepted), today’s mail brought STAR*LINE 35.4 for October-December 2012 including my poem “Burning Down Woods on a Snowy Evening,” an example of a class of humorous poems sometimes called “Little Willies” (cf. February 12, et al.).  With it was DWARF STARS 2012 (cf. September 24) with the rondelet “California Vamp,” reprinted from VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).  These are, respectively, the quarterly journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and its annual anthology of nominees for the Dwarf Stars award for speculative poetry of ten lines or fewer, the latter being especially interesting as a compilation of the best not just from SFPA members, but from any poet in any publication in the US or elsewhere.  Information on both can be found at the SFPA site by pressing here.

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  1. Your movie review is enticing. Monamie is such a pretty name, meaning “my girlfriend”, I believe. And congrats on your appearance in TWO of SFPA’s major publications! I ❤ Mignonette (little bun of hair? little bit of the best steak?) LOL! I meant I love your story/stories about her.

  2. I mis-posted about “Monami” with an “i” — that would just be “My Friend” (not being amie)

  3. Yes, I’d noticed that Monami means “my friend” in French althugh I think the Japanese may be pronounced a little differently, in terms of stress at least (on the second syllable as opposed to the third?). As I understand it, “Mignon” ultimately means “nice” (with all the lack of preciseness the English word offers, though with an overtone of “tender” in the case of the steak) so Mignonette could be, literally, “little nice thing.” In terms of French usage though the dimunutive just signals feminity (a woman could be 6 feet tall and still be named Mignonette, or Cosette, or whatever) — thus the vampiress Mignonette is a female “nice” which, given her mundane profession in the story, is an apt work name for her to use.

    (Actually, though, I just liked the sound of the name Mignonette and was looking for a story to use it in 🙂 )

  4. Okay, “nice”. But little bun would be a fun interpretation. You know, when women pull their hair back in a mignon? Never mind. LOL!




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