Every ten years or so I try to read a book about vampires, and fail. I would like to be able to read vampire literature, since the fiction shelves of the nearby village libraries are mostly filled with contemporary popular fiction, and often it's hard to find something to read. As I browse dispiritedly through the shelves, I see lots of vampire books.
My problem with vamp lit is the biology. I've just never understood how vampires work.
My first stumbling block is the bite, and how it is made. If I wanted to suck someone's blood--and wanted to do so unobtrusively, maybe while the victim thought he or she was being nuzzled affectionately--a small hole in the carotid artery would be the way to do it. The hole would have to be small enough to heal quickly by itself, otherwise the person would bleed to death and I would have killed the goose that lay the golden e. A set of sharp incisors would be best to deliver such a small but accurate bite. But vampires are well known for sporting huge canines which, as any cat will tell you, are great for slashing and tearing. Apply real vampire teeth to a vulnerable human throat, and there would be no second helpings.
There is another problem with vampire dentition. If I close my mouth and run my fingers down over my canines, I can feel that if these were long and sharp they would run into my lower teeth. If they somehow got past those, they would puncture my lower gums. I opened Wolfie's mouth and checked his set of inch-long canines. Despite their length, they don't pierce his lower gums because his lower jaw is quite narrow, and fits well inside the upper. But that is not the way human mouths are made.
A thick erotic fog surrounds vampires and their victims. Something about sucking someone's blood, and having blood sucked out of one, is supposed to be highly sexy. I assume that a vampire's desire for blood is caused by anemia. The universally pale, wan skin--there are no rosy-cheeked vampires--is a clear diagnostic sign. As someone who is closely acquainted with anemia, however, I can attest that the feelings it generates (fatigue and an overwhelming desire for sleep) are anything but erotic. The anemia theory is also at odds with the vampire's
great muscular strength, which is not a trait associated with low red
blood cell count. From the victim's point of view, losing large amounts of blood at one time cannot be pleasant. If there are people who derive sexual satisfaction from making blood donations to the Red Cross, I have never heard of them.
If you want to become a vampire, you have to be bitten by one. But you'd think that if becoming a vampire also gave you great strength, you'd be able to fight off the original vampire when he came around for another meal. I really wonder what happens when a vampire and his victim-turned-vampire meet. Do they have a big fight? Do they take turns sucking each other's blood? Exactly what do they get up to?
If I could get past these questions, I'd be able to deal with the nocturnal habits, the stakes, the crosses, the garlic. Come to think of it, maybe it's all the garlic I eat that not only keeps vampires away from me, but keeps me away from vampires.
If any of you are versed in vampire lore, please enlighten me.