Wednesday, July 14, 2010

News: More Vampires on the way…

… might be a good thing?

I’m writing about a June 25th piece from, which discusses a recent Angry Robot acquisition – specifically, a minimum of three books in a “stunning” series which centres around an “overworked police department in a city ‘full of vampires and werewolves’.” The series is by Justin Gustainis, and first in the series will be titled Hard Spell, and should be published in both the UK and the USA in Spring 2011 (which seems like a long, long way away).

Marc Gascoigne, publishing director of Angry Robot, bought world English rights to the series, and told theBookseller that “Justin’s series is a genuinely new twist on vampires and werewolves at a time when there are so many feeble Bella & Edward wannabes.” The series goes further than other series, doing more than merely plonking vampires into our world. As Gascoigne explains:

“As well as its gritty setting, amid the weary cops of the Occult Crimes Unit having to police these supernatural freaks, Justin has built a whole alternate history of the USA. The flashback to the McCarthy Witch Trials, with the line ‘Are you now, or have you ever been, a werewolf, vampire or member of a coven?’ is priceless. If it has any comparisons, it would be with Alan Moore’s legendary comic-book series Top Ten. There’s nothing in fantasy fiction to touch this.”

I am a big fan of vampires, werewolves, and innumerable other facets of the supernatural and fiction thereof. I can’t get on board with much of the recent ‘urban fantasy’ that’s produced these days – especially Twilight and the various other tie-ins, homages, and newly-rebranded series hoped to snare the attention of the legions of newly-reading ‘Twiglets’ - my less-than-fair nickname for fans of Stephanie Meyer’s phenomenally successful series. (As a quick aside, I should point out that I believe Mrs. Meyer is the most recent author to do what J.K. Rowling admirably managed so well: that is, get people reading – and for this, she deserves every penny she’s earned.)

That being said, I’m rather picky when it comes to such fiction – as I am with all genres. Anne Rice’s first seven books in her Vampire Chronicles series are superb, and the first five should be considered timeless classics. Even Terry Pratchett’s play with the myths are brilliant – though would you expect anything less from the master? Other fictional vampires tend to leave me a little cold and dissatisfied, unless they are in tie-in novels from established worlds – such as Black Library’s Warhammer vampires, or the ones found in White Wolf’s limited (and increasingly hard-to-find) line of Vampire: The Masquerade fiction and computer games. The vampires of Supernatural, Underworld and Blade are in my opinion the best on-screen vamps and werewolves, as are Joss Whedon’s creations (I wonder what he would have produced, if Twilight had been one of his…) – mainly because some proper thought and effort’s gone into the mythologies and histories created for the movies and series.

So, Gustainis’s series does sound pretty interesting, and like it might become another to add to the list of ‘worthy’ vampire series. Hopefully, this new author will be able to approach execution with as much imagination and aplomb as creating an interesting premise.


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