Today I have a really special treat for all you vampire-philes!! Daven Anderson from “Vampire Syndrome” agreed to write a special article for Vampire Wednesday. I’m honored to present. . .
“Vampires versus vampires”
One of my main motivations when crafting the Vampire Syndrome universe was to create a world where vampires make sense in both scientific and folkloric terms.
This was not an easy task.
Making sense of science’s yin and folklore’s yang ultimately required two types of vampires. Human vampires, and alien vampires.
A spaceship full of carnivorous predatory humanoids crashes in what is now Romania 25,000 years ago. A number of normal humans are suffused with the aliens’ DNA over time, creating mutant hybrids known as human vampires.
Many science fiction authors would say that aliens are a “convenience” for writers, allowing them to explain almost anything scientifically. And they’re right.
But when you analyze existing life forms on Earth, and compare them to many folkloric attributes of vampires, you find many things that simply do not apply to any animal on Earth.
Does any animal on Earth disintegrate to dust in direct sunlight? Does any animal above the jellyfish level lack an “end-of-life” aging sequence in their DNA? Can large animals cling to flat-surfaced walls and ceilings without the aid of claws or tools?
The human body has millions of years of evolved tolerance for direct sunlight. Could even DNA mutation change this (without killng the host)? I don’t think so. Thus, my human vampires can go about in daylight, just as normal human beings do.
The aliens, or “Pures”, are another story. Since the Pures evolved on planet Sek’Met, which has full cloud cover, they have no tolerance for direct UV radiation. Or for acidic plants such as onions and garlic (!!) which don’t exist on their home world.
Ironically, a scientific case could be made for “immortality”, as it may become possible in the future to slow or stop humans’ end-of-life DNA programming through scientific means. In my case, the infusion of the “immortal” alien DNA merely slows down the humans’ aging process to one-tenth its normal rate. A personal choice here, as I could have gone for “immortality” by this means. Folklore is reconciled by the fact that normal humans would not live long enough to see human vampires age very much, hence the presumption of immortality.
The Pures’ immortality reflects the conditions of evolving on Sek’Met, where all life forms are predators. Evolution has gifted them with inner gravitational forces, an important advantage for survival on any planet. An advantage no life form on Earth enjoys.
However, the human vampires’ evolved tolerance for sunlight and normal food (among other things) give them a huge advantage for survival on this planet, consequently they far outnumber the alien vampires.
The human and alien vampires are also metaphors for the vampires of modern fiction and the vampires of ancient folklore respectively. A conflict has arisen in the last century as the vampire has evolved from the revenant to the revered. Many readers long for the “good old days” when vampires inspired terror instead of teenage lust.
With “Vampire Syndrome”, I give my readers human vampires that are fully human, far beyound simply being “goody-goody” paranormal romance tropes. And the fans of the classic “monster” will take delight in the Pures, the human vampires’ terrifying yet realistic foes. The demon bloodsuckers that haunt your dreams, at last reconciled with science.
Vampires versus Vampires. And you, the reader, win.
***Daven Anderson Bio***
On June 13, 2009, Daven Anderson’s life changed. After forty years of reading other people’s stories, the impetus to create finally struck. Daven set about to fill two large “voids” in the field of modern fiction. One; to create a story where a person with special needs is portrayed as a wise, dignified hero, without being bogged down in a mawkish sentimentality that turns many readers away. The other; create a new class of vampire book where the back story makes complete sense in both scientific and folkloric terms. Where the conflict betweent two types of vampires, human and alien, lets readers explore (and debate) what it really means to be “human.”
Many would see the concepts of “a wise hero with special needs” and “vampires struggling to define and maintain their humanity” to be mutually exclusive, yet “Vampire Syndrome” proves these pair of concepts can be seamlessly integrated, and complementary. People with special needs struggle to define and maintain their humanity on a daily basis. As Daven’s main character Jack Wendell finds out, becoming a human Vampire besets him with a myriad of new problems. The challenges he faced in becoming a record-setting Special Olympics champion athlete pale next to the road he now must run. The hidden world of the Vampires, where even living to see the next sunrise will be a challenge for him. Even if he survives the challenges from other human Vampires, Jack will also have to deal with the alien Vampires.
When Daven first submitted his novel to publishers, his “pitch” drew widespread attention. PDMI Publishing LLC was able to see beyond the single-sentence “Forrest Gump meets War Of The Roses” pitch, and appreciate the true meanings behind “Vampire Syndrome.” To deliver the message of “a dignified hero with special needs” to those who would never read a book like “Forrest Gump.” To build a vampire world free of the “plausibility holes” that pause many readers dead in their tracks. And to be the first book that offers a sensible explanation for the menacing Blue Mustang statue at Denver International Airport. Unlike many other vampire novels, You do not have to check your sense of humor at the door to read “Vampire Syndrome.”
Daven’s writing credo is simply this: “Build the world first, and the writing will follow.” All too many speculative fiction writers build their stories’ universes as the writer goes along, and it shows. As several readers have said, “The scariest part of Vampire Syndrome is that everything makes sense.”
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