Monday, July 7, 2008


Or, GI Joe Vs. The Vampires

It’s always an interesting thing to go back to re-visit something from the past. Re-reading a book, re-watching a movie, whatever. Sometimes you re-discover why you liked the book or movie in the first place, sometimes you can’t remember why you liked it. Sadly, the latter is my reaction to re-reading Vampire$.

The book was written by John Steakley, a decidedly non-prolific author. His only published books are this one, in 1991, and the 1984 science fiction novel Armor, which confusingly features the same characters as Vampire$, although the books are unrelated and separated by thousands of years. Vampire$ is also the source for the John Carpenter film Vampires, although the movie keeps some of the names and the basic concept and throws everything else out (and loses the $). It is the story of Jack Crow and his team, who are professional vampire killers. For a fee, they will come to your town and exterminate your bloodsucker infestation. Think Orkin for the fanged set. The book concerns their most difficult adventure, as they must face three master vampires.

When it first came out at the very end of the horror boom, it made quite a splash, but the book just doesn’t hold up well. Team Crow consists of stereotypical action team heroes. They are all manly men, each with a different specialty, and totally unbelievable. And for an action story, it moves very slowly, with the most irritating aspect the perceived need to go through each characters’ thoughts in turn in every tight situation, which sloooows things to a crawl. And the writing is mostly awkward and clanky. Example: “He sat there, roaring silently.” How do you roar silently? I thought he might be passing gas.

I would like to point out I do not have universal taste, and this is still considered by most to be a very good book. I liked it the first time around, didn’t the second time, but you may love it.

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