Wednesday, September 15, 2010

100 Days of Fantasy: Day 38

This is an ongoing series looking at books that have influenced me as a fantasy author.

Interview With the Vampire
by Anne Rice

Interview with the VampireVampires seem all the rage nowadays, but back in the 1970s then Interview With the Vampire came out, this novel was pretty unique. There was some vampire fiction back then, but most of it was pretty straight-forward horror stuff. Anne Rice's tale of vampires was different, making vampires seem quite human, a trend that has stuck with these monsters ever since to some extent or other.

Let me say right here, I do like the movie version from the early '90s starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, and the film does cover the basics of the plot. But it also leaves out some things.

Which is better, the novel or the movie? Most people generally believe the books are better than the movies, whatever the tale, and I have to agree that most time they're right. In this instance, I tend to think of the novel and movie separately; each had different tasks, and each performed those tasks quite well. The film version tends toward the modern, in my opinion, while the novel is solidly focused on the past, at least thematically and in expectations.

I first read Interview With the Vampire when I was in high school. I was just getting into horror fiction, had read Dracula and Salem's Lot, and was looking for something else vampire related to sink my teeth into (yes, that pun was as intentional as it was mundane). Since there weren't a lot of vampire options at my local book stores, I settled upon this Anne Rice novel. And back then, there was just this novel. The sequels wouldn't start coming out for another year or two.

I was pleasantly surprised by Rice's tale. I had expected horror, and though there are elements of the genre within this novel, for the most part the tale here was dark historic fantasy tinged with shades of what today we would call paranormal romance. It was a different way to telling a story at the time, one new to me at least, and I loved it. It was something fresh, something different, another way of telling a story. And I always like finding new ways of telling a story.

Over the last few decades, this type of tale has become common (too common, in my opinion), but back in the day it was something special. I'm glad I discovered it before the wave of vampire and dark romantic stories began to multiply to the point of being practically the norm for dark literature.

Next up: Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I'll part with you a bit here, I thought this book had the worst opening line ever penned in a novel. I tried twice to read this thing and just couldn't drum up the interest. I would have to vote that the movie was much, much better.