Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula" by Eric Nuzum

This little goody was in the latest batch of stuff from the used book store friend in Indy. YEAH! If you've been keeping up with the Bookbabe, you know how she loves herself a vampire or two. Well, this is one man's quest to figure out why vampires are so intriguing to us mere mortals, not to mention find out if they really exist. (They don't, by the way, according to both the author and the Bookbabe. Sorry, but it's true, at least, in the most literal bloodsucking sense.)

Mr. Nuzum has a very dry sense of humor, probably a good thing considering the quest he set out on. During his two years of research for this book, he runs across all types: the horror convention set (specifically a Dark Shadows gathering), groups of "real" vampires met online that tend not to show up in person, fellow tourists on a Transylvania trek, and lots more Buffy fans that he realized were out there. Sadly, most of the vamp fans tend to be rather alike, dressing like goths, claiming how no one understands them, etc. I think he really hits the nail on the head when he says that it's mostly the "misunderstood" that gravitate towards the world of the fanged and fabulous; "normal" people - ie your jocks and cheerleaders - don't get into all that "weirdness".

Could be true, but then again, look at the Bookbabe! I would consider myself fairly normal and well-adjusted. True, when growing up, I was somewhat shy (OK, at times, painfully shy) and lacked some of the sparkling social skills I have today, but the true draw to the vamps didn't show up until later, say, in my 20's or so. Mostly as a teen I read Gothic romances, those written by authors such as Victoria Holt; nary a vampire or werewolf to be found in those tomes. Well, I did read a lot of horror, too, such as Stephen King and the like. OK, maybe Mr. Nuzum really is on to something!

Overall, it's a fun book and a quick read. The author certainly did his homework, and his final analysis is something I agree with - there are no blood-sucking vampires in the world, the walking undead. However, there are things/people that can suck us of our energy (I seem to come up mostly against the people, you know, the ones that just make you sooooooo tired!) Perhaps that's why we still have this fascination for the vampire?

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