ASMSG Scifi Fantasy Paranormal Emagazine March 2014 - Page 25

you were young, I urge you to give it another pass and see if you don’t have a different reaction. Thisone also became a stylish 80s movie, but to really appreciate the emotional subtexts in the story, you really must read the novel. Honorable Mention: The Vampire Tapestry by Susan McKee Charnas. This very unusual vampire tale presents a truly alien and unique vampire who may well be the last of his species. Far less romantic and more pragmatic than most vampires you’ll ever meet, this book presents a series of episodes in the life of the vampire Weyland. This one’s not for all tastes, but certainly one of the more unique takes on the vampire idea you’ll find. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson – The granddaddy of vampire apocalypse novels, and maybe even zombie apocalypse stories, this grim, slow burning novel bears no resemblance to the various movie adaptations that have been based on it (with the exception of Vincent Price’s The Last Man on Earth, which comes close). Some readers will find it slow, but the horror of the vampires in this novel lies in their numbers and relentlessness. Fans of The Walking Dead and similar fare will appreciate the bleak atmosphere, but what will truly surprise readers is the profound philosophical questions Matheson raises with masterful understatement. Honorable Mention: ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. The master of modern horror gave us this wonderful modern vampire classic which is often described as “Dracula in a small Maine town.” While that description is accurate, this novel is so much more. Masterful characterization of people large and small makes the town of the title live and breathe. The setting is so vividly drawn and lovingly rendered that you almost don’t notice the absence of the undead for a large portion of the novel. Atmosphere and steadily building dread replace King’s usual shock and awe in this early masterpiece. Those who like their vampires monstrous and traditional need to take a lesson. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, but Grave Peril if you have to pick just one Okay, you’re saying, but what about us Urban Fantasy writers? Jim Butcher has created a fully-realized and consistent fantasy world composed of everything you’ve ever heard of in a fairytale or mythology book. The thing to read Butcher for is how approachable and sensible he makes the fantastic seem. By having a solid foundation to build on and working to keep the rules clear, his wizard Harry Dresden strikes a crucial balance between being powerful enough to handle the ever-escalating threats he encounters while never becoming so chock full of powers that he ceases to be interesting. Who Harry Dresden is matters much more than the nifty spells he can cast and the restrictions he places upon himself elevate him to a combination of Phillip Marlowe and Harry Potter