Asimov, J. (1991). The contagion. In B. Preiss, D. Keller & M. Miller (Eds.), The ultimate Dracula (pp. 90-106). New York, NY: Dell.
Dr. Mina, a humanoid robot and therapist, is selected to help the recently-thawed Dracula (a descendant of the original Dracula) adjust to the new era. She probes his memories and he talks about his past working at a blood bank, capping his teeth to prevent vampiric biting urges, and he learns about the various advances in technology. Dr. Mina’s supervisor is a robot who cautions her about Dracula’s possible powers, but Mina is already enraptured by him. Instead of merely exploiting Dracula’s latent psychic powers to create a secret race of telepathic robots, she ends up falling in love with him and they make love and plot a future together.
The Contagion takes the familiar names from Stoker’s work and parlays them into a futuristic setting. Though much has changed in the brave new robotic age, Mina and Dracula are still inexorably drawn to one another. It is an amusing, light read that also briefly addresses notions of freedom and subverting the powers that be.
For more extraterrestrial exsanguinators, try:
Atwood, D. (1997). A moment in time. In C. Tan (Ed.), Cherished blood: Sensual vampire stories (pp. 69-113). Cambridge, Mass: Circlet Press.
Laurie Cuthbert’s brother, Jeffrey, disapproves of his friendships and relationships with mortals, but Laurie relishes in them. He meets a lovely young human male just getting over a breakup at a nightclub, and they begin a passionate relationship. Laurie falls deeply in love with Ryan, and they spend time together at the theater, and at home making love. When Ryan’s response is negative to Laurie’s hypothetical question about whether he’d want to be a vampire, Laurie reads his mind and realizes Ryan will never be able to accept him for what he is, nor will he be safe around his brother. Laurie wipes Ryan’s memory clean and helps him to reunite with his ex-boyfriend, but deeply mourns the loss of his love.
A tragic tale of lust, love and loss, this tale is well-written, but certainly not uplifting. Vampires are the “other,” existing outside of mainstream society, and the same can be said for those in the GLBTQ community. Unresolvable differences and loneliness seem to be very common themes in GLBTQ vampire works, perhaps because a gay vampire’s “otherness” is so readily apparent. There seems to be no way for Laurie to safely bridge the gap, and so he must always remain an outsider.
If you seek more gay vampire stories, try:
Charles, R. M. (1995). Cinnamon roses. In P. Keesey (Ed.), Dark angels: Lesbian vampire stories (pp. 97-111). Pittsburgh: Cleis Press.
Our unnamed bisexual protagonist is a recently-turned vampire who works the late shift at a salon called Heads-or-Tails, a special-service salon that grooms the whole body. The protagonist becomes a vampire after an extended period of sexual and vampiric interaction with a man she met in a nightclub. Sating her hunger by drinking the blood from shaving and scissor knicks, she gets by and is able to avoid HIV/AIDS by smelling the blood. Most healthy clients smell of cinnamon to her, though the smell is unique for each vampire. Some very special clients are “takers” and are not only delicious, but are also worthy of multiple interactions and possible conversion. “Rose,” a lovely redhead, is one such taker who comes in for a head-shave and a “tail”-shave to please her boyfriend. Our protagonist is smitten with her and her blood, and they begin their relationship.
This story is full of allusions to roses and pearls, both of which are often used as euphemisms in romance novels for the vagina and the clitoris, respectively. It is interesting to see such language used in a lesbian vampire tale. Another feature unique to this lesbian tale is the mention of HIV/AIDS as a potential danger the vampire herself. Cinnamon Roses is an explicit tale with bisexual characters, suitable for adults, and the anthology would be a good addition to a library’s GLBTQ holdings.
If you want more vampires and red-heads, try:
If you want more vampires of the bisexual persuasion, try:
de Lint, C. (1991). There’s no such thing. In Yolen, J., & Greenberg, M. H., (Eds.) Vampires: A collection of original stories (pp. 8-18). New York: Harper Trophy.
Appoline (“Apples”) and Cassandra (“Cassie”) are sisters with a very close bond. When Cassie tells Apples that she thinks her babysitter is a vampire, Apples is very concerned, but not for the reason you might think. Apples is a vampire herself, given the Gift at age 16, who uses her powers for good and only feeds on molesters and predators. One night, Apples comes home early from a date and discovers that the babysitter “vampire” nearly molested Cassie while she was out. Dressing in a seductive manner, Apples visits Ken, the babysitter and faux vampire and puts a swift stop to his predation by draining him nearly to death. Her mission to protect her sister is a success, and she ponders how to conceal her perpetual youth from her parents, whether her boyfriend might be a permanent keeper, and she looks forward to turning her little sister when she finally reaches 16.
This story is a clear-cut tale of what a good vampire is like. Apples is a strong young woman and uses her abilities wisely, not wantonly, and turns victimizers into victims. Children often have imaginary monsters to contend with, but when the monster is human and the vampire is a force for good, it changes the traditional roles around. This is an interesting take on the concept of the bogeyman and a lesson in learning to discern where true danger lies. Parents may find this story a useful springboard into talking about this difficult subject. An excellent addition to this collection of YA short stories.
If you like stories with strong vampire sibling bonds, try: