The Literary Vampire (Part One) for Vampire Week, Day Six
Well, there was Carmilla and, before her, Lord Ruthven, and let us not forget Varney and Geraldine and Byron’s Giaour, not to mention tales in other languages going as far back as Apuleius, but what really started vampires off for us in the 20th and 21st centuries was Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel DRACULA. Is there unlife post-DRACULA, though? To honor the centennial of Stoker’s 1912 death, the Horror Writers Association in conjunction with the Bram Stoker Estate decided to offer a special Bram Stoker Vampire Novel of the Century Award™ at last year’s World Horror Convention on March 31 2012 for the purpose of “recognizing the vampire novel that has had the greatest impact since the publishing of DRACULA.” But vampires have come a long way since then, and so to choose which novel of all that were published in the last hundred years most deserved this honor, the HWA appointed a jury of five putative vampire experts to read, discuss, and weigh the evidence, coming up first with a short list of main contenders, and ultimately to decide on a winner.
By a confluence of accidents of fate (a major one, ahem, being that I had published a book of vampire poetry, VAMPS: A RETROSPECTIVE, only the year before, for which see picture at top of the column just to the right or look for more overt references to come as “Vampire Week” continues), I was a member of this jury. And so, for today, for more of the story I point you back to January 20 2012, and the key phrase “Vamp Fans Recommended Reading,” for an entry including an explanation as well as a press release announcing the six “finalists” we had narrowed it down to, all of which are worthy of reading for those who might have missed one or another.
As for the winner, well “Vampire Week” has ten days in it this year (how like a vampire, excessive in all things!) and so, to have patience, the announcement should be forthcoming in no more than four days. (One hint, however: the Anne Rice entry came in second.)