Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bloody Saturation

Word on the street is...vampires suck.

Yep. Have it on good authority that romance readers are growing sick-unto-death of old Drac and all the pretenders to his gore-stained throne. Rumor has it they're getting particularly weary of the whole "Alpha-vamp finds soulmate, film at eleven" formula.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying sales by bestselling authors in the subgenre (like Feehan or Knight or Kenyon or Viehl) are falling. But rumblings on message boards and email loops and blogs do tend in the direction of "Vampires? Yawn. SO thirty seconds ago." A new author trying to break in with a bloodsucker had better be churning out some pretty amazing prose. Fresh, new, never-been-done-before, different...but not TOO different, ifyaknowhatImean. Nosferatu need not apply.

Some say werewolves and other shape-shifting types are rushing in to fill the gap. Some say we're about see even more exotic creatures go mainstream. Tentacles, anyone?


On the other claw, there are those who say the vampy subgenre will never die. Like randy historical Scotsmen, the horn-dog bloodsucker with a jones for a pretty, willing victim who then steals his immortal heart is here to stay, baby.

Me? I tend to come down on the "the subgenre just needs a little fresh blood to liven it up, you'll please pardon the pun" side of the argument.

Take, for example, Meljean Brook's novella "Falling For Anthony" in the Berkley Hot Spell anthology. (November 2005, ISBN 0425206157) A new take on the mythology, a new twist on the ins and outs of immortality via fangdom, plus some seriously steam-producing groininess, and a heroine who doesn't simper--not even once. What's not to love?

Now, a person might suggest the reason I'm coming down with both size nines on the side of "Yay, vamps!" is because my own escort to the Bloodsucker's Ball is currently undergoing some stage of the editing process at Phaze, and will likely be released by the end of the month.

Yeah, a person MIGHT suggest that. And a person might even be right.

But what do YOU think? Are you fed up with romantic vampires? Weary of the lovelorn undead? Had enough of the erotic strigoi to last a lifetime and beyond?

Or is there room for more?


Blogger Karen Scott said...

I must admit, I'm currently avoiding vampire stories like the plague. Marilyn Lee's Bloodlust stories are the only ones that I'll read, and that's only because, I've read the other stories in the series.

I'm also avoiding shapeshifter's and the likes.

11/10/2005 3:44 AM  
Blogger Donald Francis said...

Vampire stories are here to stay, and they have been for centuries. There's been a saturation point, of course, and they won't be "in style" for a while, but a well-written vampire novel will always find an audience because the figure of the vampire is timeless, even if the L'estat type now seems a bit dated.

And who's calling randy Scotsmen HISTORICAL?

11/10/2005 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Well, you know where I fall on it-- look at Pub Marketplace, see yet another vamp story has sold, groan "Oh, jeez, another @(&$#*@ vampire story," lather, rinse, repeat.

From the writing side of things, it's one of those cases where you sit there and listen to editors bitch and moan how they want something different, something fresh, something unique, anything, then they're off buying randy Scotsman historicals, secret babies, and more @(*#$&#($ vampires.

Me? Cynical? Why do you ask?

11/10/2005 10:13 AM  
Blogger Eva Gale said...

I don't mind them as long as I'm not on a Vamp binge. Just got done with If Angels Burn and I loved it. To me it was fresh because I gave up on the Carpathians and others about a year ago. Not to mention PBW is a great writer.

It's just like anything-even chocolate. If you eat too much all at once you're gonna puke eventually. Taken in moderation with quality in mind, they are incredibly satisfying.

11/10/2005 5:05 PM  
Blogger Alison Kent said...

My agent told me the same thing recently - on the very day she was selling another huge vampire deal. *g* If it's the same ol' same ol', forget it. But if it's huge like J.R. Ward's Black Dagger stuff (who my agent also reps), then editors are still hungry.

11/13/2005 10:01 AM  
Blogger meljean brook said...

Oh! You read it! *happy dance*

I haven't been reading a lot of vampires lately, but I do like some of the twists in the mythology -- Emma Holly's "Midnight" series is different (and the origin story hinted at in the latest very different from the norm). But, and I know this makes me a dork, I also love it when the vamps stick to the tried-and-true Polidori/Stoker vampires, or at least nod to them. My problem is just with books/series that go on too long, so that the freshness of the idea that propelled it is gone stale.

I do think the popularity is waning, in that they are still hot but not quite-as-hot; so there's still room to break in, but not quite as much. And as the paranormal subgenre expands, it won't seem like all-fang, all the time.

Er, I don't know about tentacles ::grin:: Now I'm getting an image of a shapeshifter octopus. Oh, but the titles you could come up with...! :D

11/14/2005 3:56 PM  

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