Lee, T. (1980). Sabella, or, The blood stone. New York: DAW.
Sabella Quey lives on Novo Mars, a world colonized by people, flora and fauna from Earth. She lives a solitary life, taking blood from animals and sometimes humans as needed. Her Aunt Cassilda dies and Sabella goes to the funeral, receiving some money and a cross as an inheritance, along with a hateful note. Sand Vincent, a handsome blackmailer, follows her home and she drinks from him when they make love, but she is unable to stop his death though she tries to run him to the hospital. Jason Vincent, Sand’s older brother, comes to torment the truth out of Sabella, but he becomes her defender and leads her to the truth about their existence. Martian life made a copy of their bodies, complete with memories, and their old human corpses were left behind while the copies lived their lives. Sabella and Jason are the last two Martians of Novo Mars, perhaps one day to reproduce and repopulate the planet.
Sabella is a prickly, but ultimately likable, character, a mixture of toughness and vulnerability that seems more like a product of her environment rather than any sort of inborn personality defect. Her vampirism seems to be very wild, unsuited to civilization, driven by hunger and need, not evil volition. Recommended for adults or older teens who enjoy science fiction and vampires.
If you like intergalactic vampires, try:
Matoh, S., Hanel, E., Yamashita, S., & Seto, D. (2004). Until the full moon I (R. Hagihara, Trans.). Los Angeles: Broccoli.
Matoh, S., Hanel, E., & Seto, D. (2005). Until the full moon II (R. Hagihara, Trans.). Los Angeles: Broccoli.
Marlo is a young, 100-something-year-old half-werewolf half-vampire who is different from others of his kind. He never developed fangs and instead of transforming into a wolf at the full moon, he turns into a woman. When his parents take him to Arnet Vincent, a family friend and doctor, they want to find a cure. Instead, they find out that Marlo’s condition is genetic, due to his mother Mira’s werewolf ancestors. Those ancestors were of the Yam tribe, an all-male werewolf tribe where half turned into wolves and half turned into women at the full moon. At first they are disappointed, but then they decide that Marlo should marry Arnet’s son, David, and then they’ll both benefit and finally have grandchildren. Though David and Marlo were close as young vampires, they drifted apart for the past decade so that Marlo could conceal his deeper, confusing feelings of love and attraction. David feels no such qualms and loves Marlo in male or female form, but Marlo struggles with accepting “weird” (read: gay) desires. With several jealous exes trying to come between them, David and Marlo must fight to stay together and protect one another while trying to solve old lovers’ quarrels. They finally make it to their wedding night relatively unscathed, exchanging vows and blood, and at last consummate their love.
Until the Full Moon was an important addition to this selection of vampire tales. Despite the desire to exclude manga/manhwa to narrow the scope of this project, it was ultimately included it because it offers a rare combination of vampire-related YA-appropriate content in conjunction with a GLBTQ romance. Though this manga is fairly lighthearted in tone, it is, nevertheless, a touching love story between two young men. At first it seemed like Marlo’s monthly sex change was merely a heteronormative dodge to make a GLBTQ plot more palatable, but it is shown that David, and eventually Marlo, accept their love for one another no matter what his sex.
This book is recommended for older young adults due to frequent, non-explicit nudity, though there are a few instances of well-drawn nipples. Not only would it make a great addition to a library’s graphic novel collection, it is also a valuable addition to a library’s YA GLBTQ holdings.
If you want more gay teen vampires, try:
If you are interested in graphic novels with bite, try:
McKinley, R. (2004). Sunshine. New York: Jove Books.
Rae Seddon (nee Raven Blaise), affectionately called Sunshine, leads a relatively normal life as a baker. Though the world has been through the Voodoo Wars, in which vampires and other supernatural beings and magic-workers battled for supremacy, the humans and forces of good won out and life was able to continue more-or-less normally. After a fight with her mother, Sunshine goes off to a semi-safe area of the lake to let off some steam, only to be kidnapped by vampires and left as a snack for one named Con. Sunshine and Con slowly forge an atypical human-vampire relationship, for both of them have many hidden layers. Sunshine is able to call upon memories of her childhood to do magic, and she helps Con escape. In turn, he assists her with covering the distance home when her car is nowhere to be found. Much time goes by in which Sunshine learns that her element is not the typical air, water, earth, or fire for most magic-workers, but pure sunshine. Honing her skills and gathering the forces of good to her, she and Con join together for a desperate stand against Beauregard, the vampire responsible for their kidnapping. The battle is brutal, but in the end they are successful and help push back the tide of darkness just a bit.
Sunshine gets off to a running start, slamming you into the world of chaos and vampires almost immediately, but then it pulls back and develops the characters and storyline in some very complexly interesting ways. It seems to be somewhat incorrectly marketed as a romance novel, with a prominent endorsement by Jayne Ann Krentz (a well-known romance novelist) right on the cover, as well as advertisements for romance novels in the back. Though the relationships Sunshine develops with the men in her life are important, I don’t feel that this is ultimately a romance novel, but rather a novel that happens to have romance in it. The other elements of the story, friendships, family, growing as a person, and embracing one’s past and present seem like far more vital story elements. Sunshine is a stellar example of the heights to which vampire novels can aspire, with an interesting mythos, complicated characters, and multi-dimensional vampires. With some sexual language and activity, as well as some violence, this book is most appropriate for the older teen (16+) and adults.
If you like your bloodsuckers with a dash of Other, try:
McMahan, J. N. (1991). Vampires anonymous: A novel. Boston: Alyson Publications.
Andrew drinks too much and is a bit of a pig, not to mention he talks about himself in third person often, but he means well and dearly loves his Pablo. Pablo isn’t very happy about being a vampire, however, and attends meetings of Vampires Anonymous, a group designed to keep vampires blood-free. However, there are deeply sinister underpinnings of this self-help group, and vampires are turning up dead, and Pablo is the first casualty. Heartbroken, Andrew does his best to find his killer, and must fight Stephen-Old-Boy, a cop intent on killing all vampires. Successfully destroying the murderous vampires and Stephen, he rescues the baby vamp Ryan, and shacks up with the aptly-named John Studnidka.
Vampires Anonymous is a campy, but heartfelt, romp through the realms of both gay men and vampires. Though there is plenty of seriousness and sadness, it manages to keep a lighthearted tone. Recommended for adults who like gay stories with humor, piquancy, and exciting fight scenes.
If you want more sanguinary self-improvement, try:
Meehl, B. (2008). Suck it up. New York: Delacorte Press.
Morning McCobb is a wimpy, imperfect, nerdy vampire just graduating from the Leaguer Academy, a training school for the new vampires in the International Vampire League. His appearance differentiates him from his lithe, sculpted classmates, as does his preference for Blood Lite, a soy blood substitute. All of this, however, makes him the perfect candidate to represent all vampires on Worldwide Out Day, his harmlessness showing humans that vampires are no threat. Penny Dredful is selected to be his PR agent, and Morning stay with her and her daughter, Portia, while slowly building his media hype. He must learn to navigate fame and infamy, control his latent bloodlust and avoid destruction at the hands of renegade Loner vampires. Ikor, a Loner, is actually Morning’s vampiric sire, and he does his best to find ways to destroy Morning, finally provoking Morning to drink Portia’s blood in an attempt to damage the image they’ve worked so hard to create. The vampires battle and Ikor is destroyed, leaving Portia and Morning to sort out their feelings for one another.
This story is a unique coming-of-age tale about a young vampire who never truly will come of age. Not only does he have the awkward teen issues every 16-year-old encounters, he also has to cope with coming out as a vampire. One cannot help but like Morning, an orphan and accidental vampire turned humble but confident spokesperson for his kind. Recommended for YA readers of all ages, this book’s plot and characters will appeal to young male readers.
For more entertaining teen vamp romps, try:
Meyer, S. (2005). Twilight. New York: Little, Brown.
Isabella (Bella) Swan, a native of Forks, Washington, leaves her mother’s home in Phoenix and returns to Forks to live with her father, Police Chief Swan. She’s used to feeling like an outcast, but surprisingly she makes friends and starts to fit in at her new high school. Her attention is immediately caught by the Cullen kids, four very attractive if cold adopted siblings, and especially by the oddly antagonistic Edward. Bella and Edward feel a strong pull toward one another, though at first Edward fights it which explains his random bouts of hostility. As Bella learns to accept Edward and his family as vampires, they must both learn to control their feelings for one another in the midst of deadly threats from other vampires. They attend the prom together, reaching a sort of truce in their complicated and intense relationship.
Twilight has all the heady drama and melodrama of teen love with the added excitement and seductiveness of vampires. Bella is a fairly typical teen outcast archetype, pale, shy and nonathletic, but almost against her will she begins to fit in and even gets the guy. The movie amplifies the angsty teen aspects, which makes the books a better bet for the older reader. Recommended for teens 12-13+ or for adults who enjoy an angst-infused vampire tale.
For more angsty teen vamps, try:
For the anti-Twilighters, try:
Miller, S. (2000). In the blood. San Jose: Writers Club Press.
Adam is a gay hematologist living with HIV who is unlucky in love. JD, an ex-lover of Adam’s, discovers a burn victim during his daily nude jog and he is brought to St. Francis de Sales, the hospital Adam works at. The burn victim, Zachary Church, heals at an astonishing rate, recovering completely from severe burns in only a few weeks. Anomalies in his blood, coupled with his stunning good looks, capture Adam’s attention which leads him to awkwardly ask Zach out. They begin a relationship, hampered by Zach’s secretive nature, but when Zach comes out of the closet as a vampire, it strains the limits of Adam’s credulity. Things are further complicated when Adam confesses to his HIV+ status and asks Zach to turn him. First Zach says no, then Adam says no when Zach changes his mind. Ultimately, Zach refuses and watches Adam die and then commits suicide in the same manner that the story began with—sitting in the sun on the beach—and this time he succeeds.
In the Blood is Miller’s novelization of his play by the same name, but it reads far more like a romance novel (albeit one with a few explicit sex scenes). The dialogue often comes across as unrealistic, with very high-flown language. It is reminiscent of another play, Angels in America, that transitioned from the stage to film, but with less brilliant writing. There is also lengthy internal dialogue reflecting on Adam’s attraction to vampire lore and on his feelings toward God and Cathlocism, which tends to drag. The paragraphs devoted to Adam’s interest in vampires seems far more like the author’s attempt to explicitly connect vampirism and AIDS/HIV, in case the reader not already come to that conclusion. It is, in the end, a touching but flawed work, with an ending that expresses only despair.
If you want to explore gay fiction with strong religious overtones, try:
Moore, C. (2007). You suck: A love story. New York: William Morrow.
C. Thomas Flood goes to bed an average, geeky 19-year-old guy and wakes up an average, geeky vampire thanks to his vampire girlfriend, Jody. He can’t eat food (as a nasty incident with a burrito proves) or go out during the day anymore, but his acne clears up, his foreskin grows back and the sex is amazing, so it’s not all bad. They acquire a young minion named Abby Normal, and her journal entries pepper the story with hilarious melodramatic Gothness. Between dodging detectives, accidentally turning a blue call girl, Blue turning Tommy former co-workers, the Animals, and fighting Jody’s sire, Elijah Ben Sapir, there’s never a dull moment. Abby Normal and Foo Dog are happily shacked up, with Tommy and Jody at rest in a bronze statue.
Moore turns the vampire trope upside down and makes it utterly hilarious. There are no dark sepulchers or gloomy nights. Instead, there’s Chet the 35lb cat, the Emperor of San Francisco (a homeless man), Abby Normal, neé Allison Green, a silly “gawth,” and snappy, snarky dialogue. Recommended for those who enjoy a tongue-in-cheek approach to horror.
If you want snark with your fangs, try: