DarkEcho Horror
deccoclock by Rick Berry
Book Review

By Katherine Ramsland
Berkley Boulevard/ 304 pages/ $12.95
ISBN: 0-425-18616-4

I'm not sure I buy the premise here of there being a science to vampires and there's a possibility that author Katherine Ramsland might agree with me. Her introduction is a bit shaky, even though she assures us, "To apply science to a mostly fictional creature is nothing new.Science can indeed address the vampire and in more ways than we might expect." She then explains the "scientific" approach to the "mostly fictional" subject. Even though one might think being mostly fictional is as impossible as being a little bit pregnant, Ramsland otherwise manages to establish her thesis as well as anyone could.

Cover Once she sinks her fangs into the material, however, Ramsland gives us a fascinating exploration of that most malleable of monsters. We are introduced to what the author calls Vampire Personality Disorder (folks who act like vampires); learn what current "criminalistics" applied to the scene of a "real vampire" killing would turn up (Ramsland also authored THE FORENSIC SCIENCE OF CSI and a writer's guide to forensic psychology); investigate vampire hunters and slayers; and touch on half-breeds the tricky question of vampiric/human reproduction before getting to the good stuff -- vampire sex and what makes a "sucksessful vampire." Although the number of 20th (and now 21st) century vampire novels and stories is far too vast to deal with in this context (or possibly any context), Ramsland offers a creditable outline of how the concept of the vampire has evolved in the last century. A bibliography is provided, but, unfortunately, no index. The Science of Vampires is a must-have reference for anyone considering creating their own version of the vampire. It will also appeal to anyone with an avid interest in what has become our most popular monster. (Sept. 2002) -- Paula Guran (Cemetery Dance #41)

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