Monday, June 4, 2012
Vampires as Scapegoats
On my beach vacation, I chose Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth-Grahame Smith. I'd been on a vampire kick, rereading the Twilight Series plus I've recently read a biography of Lincoln for research on my current wip. I wanted to see how much historic detail a popular novel in this genre used. Turns out, not much! This story moves, spending most of its time on the vampire hunting. Few words are wasted on the food and clothing (except the detailed desciption of Abe's custom-made, vampire-hunting jacket).
The premise is ridiculous, but Smith makes it work. Life in the 19th century is full of hardships and death is a constant threat at all ages. Instead of blaming the numerous deaths in Abe's family on the lack of modern medical care, blame it on vampires! Brilliant! His mother wastes away from ingesting a few fatal drops of vampire blood--a punishment inflicted on the family when Abe's father fails to pay a debt owed to vampire. Devasted, young Abe vows to kill every vampire in America.
All schoolchildren learn that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, but several historical accounts demonstrate his attitude toward blacks is not sterling. So why did he emancipate them? Smith comes up with a gruesome reason--the vampires (mainly in the south) were using slaves as food with no fear of reprisal. This easy (and large) food source is attracting vampires from all over the world. The only way to eliminate a future where all men, white and black, are vampire chow is to win the Civil War.
So there you have it. Don't blame man's inhumanity to man for the Civil War; the vampires made us do it. The movie comes out on June 22. Will you go see it? Have you read this or any other of Smith's books?