‘Tough Travelling’ is a weekly feature: every Thursday (hopefully!) I’ll be rummaging around in my memory to come up with various examples of commonly used fantasy tropes. Full credit goes to Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn for coming up with the idea: be sure to check out his blog!
This week’s topic is VAMPIRES.
VAMPIRES are increasingly rare on the TOUR. They have been attracted over to the Horror Tour by offers of better pay. Where they appear, you will find up to date Vampires wear expensive sunglasses and wish to drain you of energy rather than blood.
I suspect this topic will have been easier for those who read a lot of urban fantasy, but for an epic fantasy nut I feel I’ve not done too badly this week. I even refrained from mentioning Martin, Erikson, Rowling or Tolkien (although I almost credited the Barrow Wights with an entry until I realised I just didn’t remember that much about them).
(Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone)
In the city of Alt Coulumb, vampires are not so much feared as used. The bite of a vampire is well-known to cause a high much more potent than any drug, and in the dens of vice around the city hundreds of vampires pretty much whore themselves out for money. Yes, people willingly pay lots of money for the privilege of having their blood sucked by a vampire. Many are addicted, and bear a multitude of fang-scars in the same manner as a junkie has needle marks. In Three Parts Dead, Raz Pelham is unique in that he is a vampire who is (almost) immune to sunlight.
(The Black Company by Glen Cook)
The forvalaka is an ancient and deadly beast, with the strength of many men and the ability to shapeshift into a monstrous leopard-type thing. At the beginning of The Black Company, Croaker and co. discover that the forvalaka has broken out of its stone prison, and that it has drained the life from the 50-odd other inhabitants of the tomb in order to remain alive.
(The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie)
“It is forbidden to eat the flesh of men.” So says the Second Law of Euz. However, Khalul and his creepy followers defy this law, and dedicate themselves to a path of cannibalism in order to consume the power of others. Inventively nicknamed ‘Eaters’, these abominations are strong, fast, clever, and notoriously difficult to destroy. I’m classing them as ‘vampires’ here because of the way they absorb life forces in order to bolster their own.
(The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin)
In Jemisin’s Egypt-esque world, when a person dies they produce an ethereal substance called Dreamblood, which is used by the local religions in the arts of healing. The Gatherers of Gujaareh are priests trained in the art of gathering this Dreamblood within themselves at the moment of a person’s death. Since the Gatherers are also the ones who cause the death of the Dreamblood ‘donors’ – a form of assassination more akin to euthanasia, since most of their victims are old or ill and therefore willing – I’m counting them as vampires here.
That’s it for this week! Join us again next week for the topic of FAE, and be sure to check out the Tough Travelling tab above for links to my previous posts and fellow travellers!