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The Anitaverse

The oh-so-lovely world we live in

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 If Vampires were real ...

Out of the Closet

Adapted and expanded from an article first published in Vampire Books and Authors at Suite101.com January 16, 2005

 

If you ask me who my favorite big name Vampire author is, you might be surprised to learn that it isn’t Anne Rice, but Laurell K. Hamilton.

Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series started out as an Alternate History fantasy. What is an Alternate History? The concept is that at some point in history, something turned out differently than we know it. For example, Hitler won the war. Or Jesus Christ was never crucified. The world continued to develop, just differently. In the case of Anita Blake’s world, the vampires came out of the closet. They stepped out into the open and said we are real. In Anita Blake’s world, vampires are considered citizens of the United States, with all the rights and responsibilities that means including paying taxes.

The undead become the next big fad. There are vampire bars full of tourists. Even a vampire church that promises you eternal life.

Besides the fascination, there is prejudice. Fear. Hatred.

Not only do the humans have problems of acceptance and adjustment, so do the vampires. After centuries of a secret existence, of ruling themselves, they now must fit into a world where their old ways just don’t work.

Also inherent in Anita Blake’s world is the concept that if one supernatural creature exists then why not all. So the world is populated by were creatures; wolves, rats, leopards, swans. All the creatures from ancient legends exist as well. Voodoo priestesses and witches. Ghosts. Zombies. In each new book, Anita is confronted by a new monster or magical creature.

Anita Blake is herself a necromancer, who can raise the dead, zombies. That is what she does for a living. It has become quite big business to raise the dead. A problem with an inheritance, raise the guy and ask him what he meant. Really dig into your family tree. Want to find a buried treasure, just ask the man who hid it. Never got to tell the guy when he was alive what a jerk he was, just raise him and get it all off your chest. As you can imagine Halloween is the busiest season.

One of the reasons I like the Anita Blake series is at its core it is a mystery series. Anita works with the police in dealing with the problems generated by having to deal with creatures that are often stronger and more deadly than us mere humans. Anita Blake is an official vampire slayer and now a U.S. Marshall. Besides a consultant to the police on all things supernatural, it is her job to stake the dead victims so they don’t rise as vampires and to execute rogue vampires.

Anita Blake classifies as a romantic mystery. In the tradition of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, in the early Anita Blake books, the dynamic sexual tension is high between the heroine and two men,  Richard, the alpha werewolf, and Jean Claude, the vampire master of the city. But over the course of the series that has changed as Anita’s romantic entanglements have broaden and become way more complicated. Also the level of writing has taken on more and more the nature of erotica. Her latest book, INCUBUS DREAMS, definitely falls in the classification of erotica. Exceptional well written erotica, but erotica never the less. Not that erotica and vampires don’t go together, because ever since Bram Stoker wrote DRACULA, vampire stories have always had a strong element of sensuality. This turn to erotica has lost Laurell K. Hamilton some fans, but gained others.


Love sucks. Sometimes it feels good. Sometimes it's just another way to bleed. -LKH