Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'll Have One with Sparkles

Anne Rice continues her long downward slide with this comment (via/via) on Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series:
Lestat and Louie feel sorry for vampires that sparkle in the sun. They would never hurt immortals who choose to spend eternity going to high school over and over again in a small town ---- anymore than they would hurt the physically disabled or the mentally challenged. My vampires possess gravitas. They can afford to be merciful.
Numerous commenters have noticed that Rice can't even spell the name of her own character. (It's Louis, not Louie.) Apart from that -- well, Rice never exhibited much of a sense of humor. Whatever "gravitas" her vampires ever had, they lost long ago.

I've written about my own history with Rice's work, so I needn't go into it now. Though I still appreciate her early books, and have no intention of reading more than the one Twilight book I sampled last year, Rice is in no position to cast asparagus at Stephanie Meyer, not anymore. She was never what you'd call a great prose stylist at her height, and she should leave the catfights over the respective virtues of two sets of fictional characters to her fans.

Rice is in no position to attack Meyer for vampiric revisionism, given the liberties she took herself: she tossed out the allergy to crucifixes, holy water, and garlic, for example, that had been standard in the lore before her. And she piled her philosophical and ethical speculations on a base of True Romance by way of slash fiction, which became self-parody by the time of The Tale of the Body Thief. Even Meyer's religioso aspects (which weren't intrusive in the one book I read) are doubled by Rice's unfinished Christ the Lord series.

But this gives me an opportunity to point out something that's been on my mind since I read several people complaining online about Meyer's books that "Real vampires don't sparkle." Real vampires don't exist. But then, in another twenty-five years, Meyer's fans (by then having aged from maidens to matrons) will probably be fuming that the latest version of the vampire fantasy isn't like they remember it.