When was I not up for great new science fiction and fantasy?
Blood Dragons has been selected to be part of a spectacular Bonfire Weekend of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror – all reduced to 0.99.
Here’s the good bit: that’s in America, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Europe… Or as close as 0.99, give or take.
The fantasy section in particular is on the money for recent releases. And there are some fun box sets.
So once you’ve devoured Blood Dragons and Blood Shackles and are looking for your next read? Click here on 5th-6th November and choose from the fantasy chocolate box. Hmm…that could just be how I see it…
I’ve always loved vampire books. The best ones twist the concept of ‘vampire’. They unsettle and disturb, reflecting back something about society. Of course they must still be thrilling.
I haven’t chosen the most obvious novels – for example, BRAM STOKER’S Dracula (1897) . Or LAURELL K HAMILTON’S Guilty Pleasures (1993).
If you love vampire fiction (and what’s not to love?) it’s hard to narrow down BUT here are ten of the best:
10. THE STRAINby Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hugo (2009). Its most interesting aspect is its biological emphasis. The book’s centred on a vampiric virus and what happens when infected passengers from a Boeing 777 infect New York.
9. THE FLEDGLING by Octavia E. Butler (2005)
Brilliantly written. It has a decidedly sci-fi flavour and yet another twist on the meaning of ‘vampire’. It’s a great example of how horror and science fiction can be used to hold up a looking glass to society: racism, sexism and poverty.
8.LOST SOULS by Poppy Z Brite (1992)
A horror novel. Unique, graphic and evocative. The vampires are the anti-heroes. They can even feed on beauty and love, as well as blood.
7. FAT WHITE VAMPIRE BLUES by Andrew Fox (2003)
Who said vampire novels had to be serious? Darkly comic writing at its best. The fat, white vampire in question is Jules, a New Orleans vampire. He’s simply struggling to get by. Unexpected and original.
6. I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson (1954)
Haunting and disturbing. A study in loneliness. Robert is left as the sole survivor of a pandemic of a virus, which looks like vampirism.
5. LIVE GIRLS by Ray Garton (1987)
A cult classic. Followed by a sequel in 2005 Night Life. When Davey loses his job, girlfriend and self-esteem, he makes the mistake of visiting a seedy peepshow ‘Live Girls’…The novel is gritty and dark. Blood and sex are linked explicitly.
4. CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT by Dan Simmons (1992)
Vampirism is given a clear, scientific explanation. With a sci-fi feel, the novel is both realistic and disturbing.
3. THE HISTORIAN by Elizabeth Kostova (2005)
Kostova blends history and folklore of Vlad Tepes and his fictional equivalent Count Dracula. This is the read for anyone who claims they’ll never read a vampire novel.
2. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN by John Ajvide Lindqviste (2004)
Freaky, in just the right way…About the relationship between Oskar, a twelve year-old boy and a centuries-old vampire child, Eli. It explores the darker side of humanity: alcoholism, bullying, anxiety, fatherlessness and murder. Yet it’s beautiful, poignant and haunting.
1. INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE by Anne Rice (1976)
All right, so this is well known…but Anne Rice is one of my favourite writers. A revisionist novel, which turned vampire fiction on its head. It contains a family unit of vampires. It also shows how a society of vampires would function.
My new vampire book – Blood Dragons – also twists the genre.
Blood Lifers are ‘the Lost’ species: a camouflaged predator. They’ve evolved alongside humans (First Lifers) but are hidden – both predator and prey.
Rebel Vampires Volume 1: Blood Dragons is released in paperback and e-book in August.
In 1971 Professor Zimbardo set up the now infamous Stanford Prison Experiment.
Students were separated into prisoners and guards. To see the impact these roles would have.
Zimbardo watched to see what they would do…
Zimbardo was shocked by what happened next. In fact, the two week experiment had to shut down after six days. Guards become sadistic. Prisoners became depressed.
ROBERT J SAWYER’S latest science fiction book Quantum Night peeks behind the curtain at Zimbardo’s experiment. At real life prison and guard situations since. And then as such violence increases, why they could occur…
It caught my eye because my play, Random 12 is a modern retelling of the Stanford Prison Experiment. If the experiment was repeated now – the same thing wouldn’t happen. Would it?
A Professor, who’d studied as a researcher under Zimbardo, wrote to me after seeing the play. He said Random 12 was closer to the spirit of the original experiment than anything he’d read or seen.
What’s REALLY interesting is what I learned, behind the scenes, whilst we were performing the play.
A psychological thriller – the darkness within and what we’re all capable of (if put into different roles) – created a real buzz. The show sold out. It created exciting audience discussions – heated too.
Uniforms – the impact they had on the actors. Both to those who wear them and those
who react to them. As soon as the actors started wearing them they walked differently. Spoke differently. Seemed more confident. And had less to do with the ‘prisoners’.
The prisoners… were isolated from the guards. More subdued. But became very close.
The bond – particularly after the show ended. As if we’d truly been through something together.
Psychology – why we act the way we do – is the heart of good writing. It fascinates me. And as a reader, I love books that explore the darker side of our nature – as well as the good.