For those unfamiliar with this segment, I trawl through Amazon—Amazon.co.uk, mainly—for forthcoming non-fiction vampire books and share my thoughts on what they might be like. For the previous instalment, click here.
July 4, 2014
Reading Vampire Gothic Through Blood / Aspasia Stephanou
Its Amazon.co.uk link (above) says the book “examines the promiscuous circulations of blood in science and philosophy, vampire novels, films and vampire communities to draw a vascular map of the symbolic meanings of blood and its association with questions of identity and the body.”
I’m not familiar with Stephanou’s work in the genre, apart from finding out she wrote an article called “Lovely Apparitions and Spiritualized Corpses: Consumption, Medical Discourse, and Edgar Allan Poe’s Female Vampire,” The Edgar Allan Poe Review 14, no.1 (2013), while researching this post.
The book’s publisher listing mentions Stephanou “has published on race and the vampire, transgression and blood in contemporary performance art, globalisation and vampire communities, and Black Metal Theory in a range of international journals.” You’ll also find the book’s contents in that listing, too.
Sounds like it could be an interesting read, though I’m not a fan of the title. It’s cumbersome. Say it out loud; you’ll see what I mean.
July 15, 2014
The Vampire in Science Fiction Film and Literature / Paul Meehan
The book’s Amazon link (above) has bugger-all to say on it. Neither does its Amazon.co.uk listing, which only has a differing publication date: July 30, 2014. Meanwhile, its publisher listing says the book will be available in “Spring/Summer 2014”. It also provides further info on the book’s subject matter (as it if wasn’t obvious from the title):
This examination of the history of vampires within the science fiction realm also analyzes the role of science and pseudo-science from the 18th century to modern times. The vampire’s connection with science fiction is traced to its literary origins during the Victorian Era in seminal works by Bram Stoker, H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle and other writers of the period and later refined by modern SF writers such as Richard Matheson, Whitley Strieber and Brian Aldiss.
The only other book I can think of that devotes itself to sci-fi themes in vampire fiction is Margaret L. Carter’s Different Blood: The Vampire as Alien (2001), so Meehan’s broader outlook could certainly be a welcome addition to the genre.
His previous works include Tech-noir: The Fusion of Science Fiction and Film Noir (2008), Cinema of the Psychic Realm: A Critical Survey (2009) and Horror Noir: Where Cinema’s Dark Sisters Meet (2010).
July 31, 2014
Vampires: The Myths, Legends, and Lore / Aubrey Sherman
Readers of this blog will know I’m a big fan of vampires in myths, legends and lore, so this sounds like it could be right up my alley. At least it sounds like it could be. There are a few things that make me wary, though.
Firstly, I haven’t heard of Sherman before and she’s published now other work in the field I’m aware of. Second, the book’s Amazon description make it sound like a generic walk-through:
Since the seventeenth century, people have been frightened, mesmerized, and fascinated by the terrifying tales of vampires. In this book, you’ll uncover the history and mystery behind these bloodthirsty monsters with folklore, mythology, and poetry from every tradition in the world. From the Bosnian Lampir, whose disease-ridden corpse spread infection and death throughout villages, to Bram Stoker’s charming Dracula, who helped define modern-day vampires, the wicked stories surrounding these nocturnal beings are sure to captivate anyone who has ever wondered about these shadow-loving creatures. Whether you’re interested in exploring the culture of vampires or just want to learn more about their supernatural abilities, you’ll discover dozens of compelling tales, historical accounts, and haunting legends that shed some light on these sinister beings.
That sounds suspiciously like a typical “field guide” vampire book to me.
Apart from that, its publisher—Adams Media Corporation—has no listing for the book that I could find, but I am familiar with a previous non-fiction vampire book they released: Barb Karg, Arjean Spaite, and Rick Sutherland’s The Everything Vampire Book: From Vlad the Impaler to the Vampire Lestat—a History of Vampires in Literature, Film, and Legend (2009).
That book was like a low-rent version of Jay Stevenson’s surprisingly decent The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vampires (2002). So, if Karg, Spaite and Sutherland’s book is anything to go by in terms of Adam Media’s output, let’s say I’m not holding high hopes for this one.
On a lighter note, Amazon.co.uk says the book will actually be available on September 26, 2014.
January 30, 2015
I’m Buffy and You’re History / Patricia Pender
I must confess, I wavered including this item in this segment as its listings feature no bibliographic descriptions (not even its publisher’s); but the Buffy element saved it from a cull. After all, how could it not cover vampires, considering that slaying them was her bloody job?
Other things that work in this book’s favour? It’s part of I.B. Tauris’s “Investigating Cult TV” series, which includes Brigid Cherry’s True Blood: Investigating Vampires and Southern Gothic (2012).
Also, the book appears to be an expansion on Pender’s essay, “”I’m Buffy and You’re … History”: The Postmodern Politics of Buffy,” which was published in Fighting the Forces: What’s at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2002), edited by Rhonda V. Wilcox & David Lavery.
Perhaps it’ll be similar to Twilight and History (2010), edited by Nancy Reagin, in which historical subjects are discussed through the lens of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga. Maybe. We’ll see. Either way, this work should appeal to the Buffy studies crowd.
February 28, 2015
The Things That Fly in the Night: Female Vampires in Literature of the Circum-caribbean and African Diaspora / Giselle Liza Anatol
Of all books on this list, this one intrigues me most. Firstly, it appears to slot in with regional, non-European vampire works like Hugo G. Nutini and John M. Roberts’ Bloodsucking Witchcraft: An Epistemological Study of Anthropomorphic Supernaturalism in Rural Tlaxcala (1993) and Luise White’s Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa (2000).
That’s good, because coverage of region-specific areas means the author has more time to get in-depth with their subject matter, rather than breeze through it in something like, say, a “field guide” style book…
Second, it fills a gap in a pretty damn specific niche. I mean, “Female Vampires in Literature of the Circum-caribbean and African Diaspora”? Really? The book’s publisher listing fleshes it out:
Giselle Liza Anatol focuses on the figure of the soucouyant, or Old Hag—an aged woman by day who sheds her skin during night’s darkest hours in order to fly about her community and suck the blood of her unwitting victims. In contrast to the glitz, glamour, and seductiveness of conventional depictions of the European vampire, the soucouyant triggers unease about old age and female power. Tracing relevant folklore through the English- and French-speaking Caribbean, the U.S. Deep South, and parts of West Africa, Anatol shows how tales of the nocturnal female bloodsuckers not only entertain and encourage obedience in pre-adolescent listeners, but also work to instill particular values about women’s “proper” place and behaviors in society at large.
It also gives the much vaguer “February 2015” for its date of availability.
The “Old Hag” emphasis is certainly an interesting angle, as its one of the few universal elements present in the vampire myth. Better yet, Anatol also has experience with vampire scholarship, by virtue of editing Bringing Light to Twilight: Perspectives on a Pop Culture Phenomenon (2011). Should be a good one.
Have I missed anything? If you’re aware of any upcoming non-fiction vampire works I’ve overlooked, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll include it in another instalment.