Thursday, November 08, 2007

Call me morbid, call me pale

Eric Nuzum's The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula is an odd book. Less a book about vampires, it is a book about researching a book about vampires. In this Adaptation of the Undead, Nuzum learns about vampires by drinking his own blood, trying to land a coveted vampire role at the local haunted house, hangs out with self-proclaimed vampires and goes on vampire tours in England and Romania. Yes, you will learn about vampire lore as well as get a sense about vampires pervasive influence on pop culture, but the focus here is on the author's misadventures.

This could make for a boring book, but Nuzum's writing is both funny and engaging. His bio notes that he has worked for both VH1 and NPR and his humor nicely balances the sophomoric and the erudite. If you are looking for long, boring deconstructions of the sexual symbology of vampirism, look elsewhere, but if you want a funny book about vampires, this is it.

You can get a sense of his style by reading his blog or the blog about the book.

If you have a fever and the only cure is vampires, then consider the finest portrayal of vampires since I am Legend. In Peter Watt's Blindsight, humanity has genetically rebuilt vampires, along with other new versions of humanity. In the book's world, vampires are ancient predators of humanity and are hence considerably smarter and stronger, which makes the crew of a space ship captained by a vampire altogether nervous.


kwandongbrian said...

I read a bit of Watt's Blindsight online. I haven't read enough to really comment but he sure does have a lot of ideas in there.

The online version is here:

Tripp said...

Yes he crams a lot of ideas in there and he manages to take some of his deep pessimism out as well. His Rifters books (Starfish, Maelstrom, and Behemoth) are serious downers and I had to stop reading them.

Anonymous said...

I recently blogged about adding THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST to my "To Be Read" list. I find it a little disappointing hearing that the book is less about vampire history and more about research. But the humor is encouraging. I'll still be reading this one - at least I know what to expect now.

Tripp said...

I think the title is a bit misleading. You will learn much more about vampire pop culture of the last few years than you will about historical vampires.

There is a decent amount about Vlad the Impaler.