As we rush to sink our claws into our favorite monster tales before the ghostly season is over, these five horror authors are just the women to give us all the gruesome details about what is takes to write horror and why the genre matters.
As a young girl, I was always fascinated with the supernatural and enthralled by entities that defied all possibilities. I would read anything that contained beings that would spook the living daylights out of any normal human, and I would revel in these creatures’ evil ways and unethical choices. Out of all the supernatural beings in the world, however, vampires are what piqued my interest the most. I don’t know if it was their fangs or their unnatural quitch for blood, but I was drawn to them, like a moth to the glow of a candle.
Unsurprisingly, I was drawn to Anne Rice as well and the vampires she created so eloquently. Without Anne Rice, vampires would not be as prevalent in the world of literature. Without her influence, there would be no Edward Cullen or Bill Compton or blood-thirsty romances that make our toes curl. Interview with the Vampire is what coronated Anne Rice as the Queen of Vampires, and since the book’s debut, no other author has even come close to dethroning the seasoned veteran that has won our hearts.
With that said, for Anne Rice’s 79th birthday, I implore you to pick up her Vampire Chronicles. It is a series that will leave you speechless as you explore the dark, twisted world of vampires in the French Quarter. The series encompasses over ten books, and each will take you on a literary journey that you will not forget.
If you are unsure and worried about diving into Anne Rice’s gothic, erotic vampire novels, don’t be! You will be entertained and left begging for more! Anne Rice’s books have sold more than 100 million copies, and her Goodreads ratings reflect the star-stunning nature of her books. I do bid you a warning, however, once you start reading this twisted series about bloodlust and the utmost desire to kill, you will be hooked. Like myself, you will be drawn to the world of bloodsucking demons and shadows that plunder the night.
Featured image via KALB
Two bestselling authors in the supernatural genre, who brought Vampires into the limelight with unique and original stories. One wrote of Vampires filled with tales sadness and grief, and the other wrote of Vampires who sparkled and loved.
Ignoring the broader themes of Chuck Palahniuk’s seminal work, Fight Club, we’re going to do what we do best and have two people fight each other.
Since we can’t talk about Fight Club (see rules one and two), we’re going to write about it. Specifically, we’re going to have two writers fight each other. Three rounds will determine their strength as we go through their power of description, their distinctive style, and their impact on the world at large.
Light your candles, for this will be a battle that the creatures of the night will surely love to sink their teeth into. Today we have Stephenie Meyer versus Anne Rice.
1-Impact and Influence
Image via wikipedia
Let’s start with the very popular and well-known Stephenie Meyer.
Touted as the world’s most popular vampire novelist since Anne Rice, there isn’t a soul who hasn’t heard about Stephenie Meyer, or at least know about her hunky Vampires and Werewolves. For years all people were talking about was if they were Team Edward or Team Jacob, even if it was just in mocking.
As far as critics go, there is good and bad, but more than that there is a lot of controversy around the relationship between the main characters Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. Gizmodo wrote an article that sheds a light on the abusive nature of Bella and Edward’s relationship and how it meets all fifteen criteria set by the National Domestic Violence Hotline for being in an abusive relationship.
In spite of the controversies, there are still many who think otherwise, Meyer herself has dismissed these criticisms. While concerns of abusive relationships, which is only one example of the controversy with the Twilight novels, is very serious, it can, sadly, still be up for debate as to what a healthy relationship looks like.
The same thing goes for Feminism, another controversial issue with the Twilight books. It is a controversial issue in itself.
But all skepticism aside, Meyer’s Vampire novels were a booming success.
Image via Pinterest
With her work tied so closely to pop culture, Stephenie Meyer’s characters have been referenced several times throughout entertainment. Aside from the Twilight parodies and references throughout popular media, Stephenie Meyer’s stories also blew up the Vampire genre into mainstream pop culture, which at least count for something.
The Simpsons had a Twilight parody of their own back in 2010, where Lisa was swept off her feet by the mysterious and, of course, devilishly attractive Vampire named Edmund. As the kids would say, “Still a better love story than Twilight.”
Fun fact, Daniel Radcliffe did the voice of the Vampire Edmund
All in all, Meyer made Vampire’s entertaining, and it brought her a great deal of fame.
Meyer’s work brought her a flourishing career with a tremendous amount of recognition. Meyer was named one of MSN Lifestyle’s “Most Influential Women of 2008” where she was described as a “literary luminary”. She earned other titles similar to this, such as Vanity Fair’s list of the “Top 100 Information Age Powers” of 2009.
Even author Jodi Picoult praises Meyer and is grateful that she has “gotten people hooked on books, [which is] good for all of us.”
Of course, there are others who don’t think as highly of the Twilight author, criticizing her writing, but we’ll do some criticism of our own later on.
Image via WWD
Now onto the prestigious Anne Rice.
Most known as the author who wrote the famous Vampire novel Interview With A Vampire, as well as its sequels, the Vampire Chronicles, Rice is a bestseller author, with iconic characters and influential themes, but in spite of that she is really not that well known. Her story and characters from Interview With A Vampire are by far more famous than she is. However, for those that do know her, she is a great writer with impactful stories.
Her Vampire Chronicles novels can stand for something. More on this later in the “style” section, but Rice has admitted that she was inspired by the vampires from Gloria Holden’s characters in Dracula’s Daughter, filled with raw emotions and sensitivities, which resonated with many groups of people.
Image via aliexpress
Rice’s Vampire Chronicle series has received praise from an incredibly diverse groups of people.
Gay readers see in the vampires’ lonely, secretive search for others of their kind a metaphor for the homosexual experience. Feminists praise her strong sense of family. Experts on Christian liturgy admire Rice’s knowledge of theology, particularly her use of the eucharist as an image.
–The New York Times, 1990
On top of resonating with so many different communities, Rice’s novels have also made a huge impact on the vampire genre by flipping the book’s perspective from the victim to the Vampire. No longer did Vampire novels have to be about the poor, helpless human having their life turned upside-down, but, thanks to Anne Rice, Vampire novels can actually be about the Vampires—the struggles and pain of being a creature of darkness.
Image via Telegraph
The boy recoiled, sweat running down the sides of his face. The vampire clamped a hand on the boy’s shoulder and said, ” Believe me, I won’t hurt you. I want this opportunity. It’s more important to me than you can realize now.
–Interview With A Vampire, Ch 1
In spite of all this positive feedback from critics, and general readers as well, there is also the controversy of Anne Rice’s reaction to fanfiction.
I do not allow fan fiction. The characters are copyrighted. It upsets me terribly to even think about fan fiction with my characters. I advise my readers to write your own original stories with your own characters. It is absolutely essential that you respect my wishes.
Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well Rice took it too far with fans by not only taking legal means to ensure that every piece of fanfiction would be taken down, but even targeted fanfiction writers, harassing them, striking fear into anyone who would even consider writing fiction about Rice’s work. There is an entire webpage warning writers against creating Anne Rice fiction, and advising them on exactly what to do if it’s already been written.
Kotaku reported on this subject of legal lawsuits and fanfiction, sharing one fanfiction writer’s terrifying experience after sharing their Anne Rice fanfiction.
The attacks [from Anne Rice’s lawyers] consisted of, amongst other things, e-mailed threats regarding not only the writing of fanfiction but any writing that any fanfic author attempted to engage in (regardless of who owned the copyright), attacks on businesses that the fanfic authors owned and weeks of harassing personal letters sent to fanfic author’s e-mail addresses and guestbooks…The threat of personal harassment is very real. Anne Rice does not want you writing fanfiction and she has the money to make you stop.
On top of that, she has built a reputation for not taking criticism well at all. In an article from The New York Times, Rice commented on many of the repeating comments claiming she needs an editor.
I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself,” she wrote. “I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me.
So on one hand, we have the incredibly well-known and revered Stephenie Meyer, who made reading popular with her sparkling Vampires and jacked up Werewolves (admit it, you swooned at least a little), versus the highly regarded, but generally unknown Anne Rice, who did bring the Vampire genre out of the dark, but pushed her fans over the edge.
While Rice has made such huge impacts toward her craft, because she is rather unknown outside of hardcore booknerds, and she has such a horrible reputation with those that are, or at least were, her fans, those accomplishments don’t shine as well as they could have. Whereas Stephenie Meyer has a fantastic reputation and has almost become a household name, so to speak. Maybe Meyer’s writing has been criticized by some readers and critics, more people seem to approve of her as an author in addition to the Twilight series.
It’s a very close call, but Rice’s name is just not as big or as admired.
Meyer wins this first round!
2-Power of Description
Image via the vintage news
Who’s writing really pulled us into the scene and placed the Vampire(s) and other supernatural creatures and phenomena right before our very eyes?
Since Meyer won the last round, let’s have Rice go first again.
Here’s Anne Rice’s first description of one of her Vampires, Louis, as the reporter, known as the Boy, prepares for their interview.
The vampire was utterly white and smooth, as if he were sculpted from bleached bone, and his face was as seemingly inanimate as a statue, except for two brilliant green eyes that looked down at the boy intently like flames in a skull. But then the vampire smiled almost wistfully, and the smooth white substance of his face moved with the infinitely flexible but minimal lines of a cartoon. ” Do you see? ” he asked softly. The boy shuddered, lifting his hand as if to shield himself from a powerful light. His eyes moved slowly over the finely tailored black coat he’d only glimpsed in the bar, the long folds of the cape, the black silk tie knotted at the throat, and the gleam of the white collar that was as white as the vampire’s flesh. He stared at the vampire’s full black hair, the waves that were combed back over the tips of the ears, the curls that barely touched the edge of the white collar. ” Now, do you still want the interview? ” the vampire asked. The boy’s mouth was open before the sound came out. He was nodding. Then he said, ” Yes. ” The vampire sat down slowly opposite him and, leaning forward, said gently, confidentially, ” Don’t be afraid. Just start the tape. ”
–Interview With A Vampire, Ch 1
Image via Vamped
Here we can fully see and feel the intensity of this supernatural character, the feeling of fear felt by the interviewer, and also the realization that there is more to a Vampire than what’s skin-deep. With a great deal of Rice’s explanation, she not only is letting us see what is happening on the surface, but also is painting a picture of what is being felt by the character’s themselves.
Here is Rice’s use of description when exploring the backstory of her vampire.
I remember the imported furniture that cluttered the house. ” The vampire smiled. ” And the harpsichord; that was lovely. My sister used to play it. On summer evenings, she would sit at the keys with her back to the open French windows. And I can still remember that thin, rapid music and the vision of the swamp rising beyond her, the moss-hung cypresses floating against the sky. And there were the sounds of the swamp, a chorus of creatures, the cry of the birds. I think we loved it. It made the rosewood furniture all the more precious, the music more delicate and desirable. Even when the wisteria tore the shutters oft the attic windows and worked its tendrils right into the whitewashed brick in less than a year . . . . Yes, we loved it. All except my brother. I don’t think I ever heard him complain of anything, but I knew how he felt. My father was dead then, and I was head of the family and I had to defend him constantly from my mother and sister.
With this, you have our Vampire’s history all laid out in a raw and expressive way. Louis isn’t just telling his past, he’s sharing how much it meant to him and also the minor details of his family dynamic. Not to mention when he talks about the swamp, you can really see and hear it all.
Now here’s Meyer’s first description of her Vampires.
They didn’t look anything alike. Of the three boys, one was big — muscled like a serious weight lifter, with dark, curly hair. Another was taller, leaner, but still muscular, and honey blond. The last was lanky, less bulky, with untidy, bronze-colored hair. He was more boyish than the others, who looked like they could be in college, or even teachers here rather than students.
The girls were opposites. The tall one was statuesque. She had a beautiful figure, the kind you saw on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, the kind that made every girl around her take a hit on her self-esteem just by being in the same room. Her hair was golden, gently waving to the middle of her back. The short girl was pixielike, thin in the extreme, with small features. Her hair was a deep black, cropped short and pointing in every direction.
And yet, they were all exactly alike. Every one of them was chalky pale, the palest of all the students living in this sunless town. Paler than me, the albino. They all had very dark eyes despite the range in hair tones. They also had dark shadows under those eyes — purplish, bruise like shadows. As if they were all suffering from a sleepless night, or almost done recovering from a broken nose. Though their noses, all their features, were straight, perfect, angular.
-Twilight, Ch 1
Image via Hollywood
Outside of hottie Vampire teens, there are other parts to Meyer’s story that need a good description to bring it to life. Since Bella is moving in with her estranged father in the beginning of the book, let’s take a look at her first experiences in her new home.
Breakfast with Charlie was a quiet event. He wished me good luck at school. I thanked him, knowing his hope was wasted. Good luck tended to avoid me. Charlie left first, off to the police station that was his wife and family. After he left, I sat at the old square oak table in one of the three unmatching chairs and examined his small kitchen, with its dark paneled walls, bright yellow cabinets, and white linoleum floor. Nothing was changed. My mother had painted the cabinets eighteen years ago in an attempt to bring some sunshine into the house. Over the small fireplace in the adjoining handkerchief-sized family room was a row of pictures. First a wedding picture of Charlie and my mom in Las Vegas, then one of the three of us in the hospital after I was born, taken by a helpful nurse, followed by the procession of my school pictures up to last year’s. Those were embarrassing to look at — I would have to see what I could do to get Charlie to put them somewhere else, at least while I was living here.
–Twilight, Ch 1
Meyer’s description of Bella’s father’s home is clear, and like Rice it does also reveal some context clues about our heroine and her ill feelings toward her father. It also sets up the awkward dynamic that Bella and her father, Charlie, will have going forward in the story. Granted, some of the description is a bit too “on the nose”. Halfway through and til the end of what we have here is a good example of “showing, not telling”, it’s just that first half that takes one out of the moment.
Some moments of Meyer’s writing is a good balance of description and poetic prose that is written with a good pace, but, other moments are sorely lacking. We have this scene where Bella is entering her class for the first time.
The classroom was small. The people in front of me stopped just inside the door to hang up their coats on a long row of hooks. I copied them. They were two girls, one a porcelain-colored blonde, the other also pale, with light brown hair. At least my skin wouldn’t be a standout here.
–Twilight, Ch 1
3-STYLE (Who has the best Vampire?)
Image via Knowyourmeme
If only we could have Sesame Street’s Vampire in this battle of bloodsuckers, he would win in a single count! Alas, it cannot be. So here we are at the nitty-gritty, the finale. Who’s style and who’s Vampires reign supreme? Let’s dig in to find out!
Let’s switch things up a little and let Meyer take the stage next.
Now we can see with Meyer’s style of writing there is a lot that leaves the reader wanting. With such a slow pace in the plot and too much description throughout, it can be such a challenge to read through her novel.
At least she has a sense of humor…
I stuffed everything in my bag, slung the strap over my shoulder, and sucked in a huge breath. I can do this, I lied to myself feebly. No one was going to bite me. I finally exhaled and stepped out of the truck.
–Twilight, Ch 1
Who doesn’t love a little irony? “No one was going to bite me”, huh? Oh Bella how wrong you are.
Image via Bustle
Aside from a little entertainment and some good quality prose here and there, Meyer’s writing is quite frankly terrible. It’s more so the romance and the supernatural society that is most engaging.
The basic rules for Vampires, and Werewolves, apply here, except the fact that these Vampire can actually stand in the sunlight without burning. Instead, they sparkle!
Image via goodreads
While the mass majority of us were offended at the thought of a sparkling Vampire, some of us even broke down in laughter, there are some people who took the change in stride, which honestly I can respect. But I digress.
Vampires. Do. Not. Sparkle!!
Alright, now that I let that out of my system, more on the Vampire and Werewolf society.
Image via Popmatters
Meyer continues her creative streak by making an diverse society of her Vampires and Werewolves, with different covens of Vampires and their own unique culture and set of rules to abide by. This helps to really spice up the plot with ever-changing dynamics in drama from one problem to the next.
Now onto Rice.
In spite of the author’s horrible character in question, Rice’s fictional characters are given praise for their dynamics and relatability. As mentioned before, Rice made a drastic change to the Vampire genre by making the Vampires the main characters and unveiling their very human characteristics, take this exchange during the interview.
” Ah, that’s the accent . . . ” the boy said softly. For a moment the vampire stared blankly. ” I have an accent? ” He began to laugh. And 3 the boy, flustered, answered quickly. ” I noticed it in the bar when I asked you what you did for a living. It’s just a slight sharpness to the consonants, that’s all. I never guessed it was French. ” ” It’s all right, ” the vampire assured him. ” ran not as shocked as I pretend to be. It’s only that I forget it from time to time. But let me go on. . . . ‘
–Interview With A Vampire, Ch 1
Although the scene is brief and simple, Rice reveals a little about Louis without telling us point blank. It’s a mild moment of entertainment that, on top of fleshing out her character, also establishes a growing relationship between the two characters a scene that is very human. Normal conversations, even with a Vampire I can assume, aren’t cut and dry, and there are times when people interrupt others, joke with one another, and potentially stray off topic. We are imperfect creatures after-all, and this scene captures just that, a raw, authentic conversation.
On top of that, Rice has made up a Vampire society of her own, just much less organized. On the Vampire Louis’ travels, he comes across a variety of characters including a theater troupe of Vampire who, in front of a live studio audience, feast upon their victims, assumed by the audience to be very good actors a part of the production. Horrifyingly creative, isn’t it?
Image via 25yearslatersite
There is even more to happen in Louis tragic life as a creature of the night. The plot tackles the controversy of the Vampires need to feast on humans, and also the never-ending frustration of immortality. Take the character Claudia for example. She is a mere child when she is turned, and the disdain and frustration she feels of having the mentality of a 30-year-old with the body of a 5-year-old is a lot to bear—can you imagine after a long, hard day being stuck at the kids table when you need a hard drink of tequila?! I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!
There are a lot of different plot lines occurring, intermingling, and colliding with the opinions and feelings of other characters surrounding Louis.
Rice takes a good look at the possible life of these cursed, bloodsucking creatures, while Meyer takes those concepts, organizes them in a rather nice package, and smothers it with romance and hot sparkling bods.
At the end of the day, the two authors do a good job at creating an open world. Meyer’s story is for a much younger audience, while Rice is intensely more mature.
The one thing that separates the two is their characterization. While each of Meyer’s character has their own set role to play in this very straight-laced, supernatural saga, Rice’s characters are their own. They don’t even seem to be created, they just are who they are, which for a heavy genre like Vampire literature, that’s pretty important.
Although Meyer’s intended audience is younger, that doesn’t mean everything has to be so cut in dry. To stray just a little off topic, there are many stories, even ones for children, that can be a little on the chaotic and profound side. Young people go through their own dramas of chaos in life—we’ve all been through middle and high school guys, come one!—and it was for sure not all centered around the deep romance we had with the mysterious hottie.
Rice’s characters and Vampires are much better than Meyer’s by far!
Brought to us by the Fabulous Zariah
A heavy fog hung in the sky and a cold chill was attached to it. Stephenie Meyer shuttered before wrapping her sweater closer around her. The forest that surrounded Forks, Washington was colder than she remembered and a lot quieter. Her own breathing was all she could hear until the soft shuffling of feet against the forest floor. Meyer swiftly turned around and through the fog walked a figure shrouded in black.
The shrouded figure raised their hood and underneath it was revealed to be Ann Rice. Her gray hair bluntly cut and she wore an unamused smirk across her lips.
“A home advantage won’t do you any good, Stephenie.” Rice pulled off her black velvet gloves delicately before putting them in her handbag.
“I’m sorry, who are you?”
Anne Rice scoffed. “Oh, please, don’t act cute. This has been years in the making.” She took her cloak off, folded it and put it the base of a large tree along with her purse. “And it will be over swiftly.”
Meyer rolled up the sleeves of her cardigan. “Fine, old woman. I can take you on in my sleep.”
“Sleep? Wasn’t that the excuse that helped spawn your so called books?”
Meyer glared and walked closer to Rice but stopped once she raised her hand.
“I’d prefer not to get my hands dirty if that’s alright with you.” Rice motioned and through the trees emerged two men. Louis de Pointe du Lac and Lestat de Lioncourt stood proudly behind their creator. The men were in Victorian era clothing, their long hair rested on their backs. Their eyes were piercing, bright and unmoving. Each took a knee and kissed the back of her hands.
“Adorable.” Meyer clapped her hands. She sneers at the woman before whistling. Behind Meyer, two of her own blood drinkers emerged and besides them was a massive wolf. Edward Cullen in all of his bronze spikey glory stood with his adopted father Carlisle, looking strangely similar to Lestat. A low growl escaped Jacob Black’s throat as he readied his attack stance. He stared intensely at the rival vampires.
“Allons-y.” Rice sat on a lavish chair and pulled a cup of tea from the shadows behind her and began to sip it.
All of the vampires and wolf rushed each other and the sound of their collision echoed through out the forest.
“We don’t have to do this, you know!” Meyer called over the fighting. “I’m a huge fan.”
“Of course you are darling.” Rice said calmly, even over the snapping and clawing she didn’t need to yell. Her voice resounded clearly into Meyer’s ears.
“You are so pretentious!” Meyer yelled. “How you have a fan base is beyond me!”
Edward, suddenly filled with more than he ever felt reared back and punched Louis so hard that he flew back yards and obliterated several trees into splinters and dust. All of the fighting ceased for a few moments. Meyer looked at the result of her insult and laughed loudly. Without setting her tea cup down, Rice’s eyes flicker quickly to where one of her fighters got knocked to and back to Meyer.
“Your so called fans were nothing more than adolescent children who were brainwashed into thinking that having someone sneak into their room and watch them sleep was romantic.”
Lestat pulled his hair back before going straight for Carlisle, one on one. The Frenchman body slams the doctor layers deep in the ground, causing the earth to shake at an alarming rate.
Meyer steadied herself against a tree. “At least my fans actually like me. The can write fan fiction whenever they want.” Louis ran back to the fight, jumping over exposed roots and cracking ground. He propels himself over the wolf and wraps his arms around his torso and squeezed tightly. Jacob whined momentarily before twisting out of his hold and head butted the vampire back. The large wolf then takes his paw and slams it onto Louis’ chest as the earth stopped rumbling.
“I encourage my readers to write their own stories, with their own characters not retread trash like yours over and over again.” Rice set her tea down the on the side that appeared but it seemed like it had always been there with black roots that had grown up it’s legs. “My characters belong to me.”
Louis got the upper hand on the wolf and rolled from underneath him. He got his arms around Jacob’s throat and twisted. He broke the wolf’s neck and as Jacob died the color drained from his eyes. He casually brushed away the dirt and debris on his velvet jacket.
“No!” Meyer yelled in anguish. Her nose began to bleed and she wiped it away in shock. “You, hag; so cosplay is suddenly okay? Generations were inspired by you and you give them the okay to play dress up?!”
Carlisle and Edward regroup as it was just the vampires left. A silence fell over everyone as they sized each other up.
“We are nothing without them!” Edward and Louis resumed fighting, before his father and his opponent went head to head. They all dodging each other’s head on attacks. “You are nothing without them.”
The mind reader got the fancy dressed vampire on his knees and put him in a choke hold. Carlisle broke free and from Lestat and slammed his fist onto Louis’ head, chopping it right off. Blood pooled from the headless body and soaked the dirt beneath their feet.
Rice clutched her abdomen and coughed violently. Blood dripped from her lips but she blotted her chin with a white handkerchief she pulled from her sleeve. Meyer continued to wipe her nose as well.
“You might as well give up, Anne, the odds don’t seem to be in your favor.”
“Please, stop referencing better books, it should be beneath you.” Rice coughed. For the first time in the entire battle she stood up. Lestat grabbed each vampire by the throat.
“My books are classic; your success was a fluke,” Lestat chuckled as the vampires tried to escape his grasp. “You tricked an entire decade into worshipping you for nothing.”
“And at least the vampires I created are original, yours are a pale imitation of mine.” Lestat raised the vampires up until their feet were off the ground. His laughter grew until he sounded like he was on the brink of insanity.
“You are nothing without me.”
Lestat ended the sparkly vampires by knocking them together so hard they exploded. Sparkles rained down over Lestat and he smiled wildly like a child playing the snow.
Meyer fell to the ground clutching her chest, she watched as Anne Rice, the victor walked over to her. Rice pulled Meyer’s hair, yanking her head back so she would be the last thing she would ever see.
“Quality over quantity, always wins darling.” Rice smiled. Lestat takes Rice’s arm and they walk back through the trees and fog rolled over Meyer’s body.
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Young adult fiction is undeniably one of the most popular genres of all time. It was first categorized around the 1930s with Lauren Ingalls Wilder’s series Little House on the Prairie. Teachers and librarians were slow to accept books intended for younger readers, but young adult books today focus on issues in society with such a passion that even older adults love to read them.
YA subgenres have ebbed and flowed over the years, and the two ever-reigning subgenres seem to be fantasy and contemporary fiction. You can always find a unique new release of a fantasy novel or a self-aware contemporary love story. But what genres are so dead that publishers in 2019 will rarely publish them and why did young adults stop reading them?
image via crosswalk.com
Ah, yes. Dystopian. Nostalgia for 2012, anyone? Maybe it was because everyone was talking about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world, but people were in a craze over dystopian society books like The Hunger Games and Divergent. Books about post-apocalyptic societies like The Maze Runner weren’t too far behind in the craze, either. Most dystopian subgenres are based on sci-fi and these particular subgenres started to oversaturate the sci-fi genre. Because of the immense popularity of books like The Hunger Games, every author wanted to replicate that fame and success. Understandably, readers got bored.
We became sick of tropes like “the chosen 16-year old who has a special ability that allows him or her to rebel and change dystopian society.” Readers began to pay attention to different genres and new authors, and the dystopian genre and its tropes slowly died out as YA readers found more relevant books. With the upcoming release of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, it’ll be interesting to see how this dystopian writer tackles this so-called “dead” genre.
2. PARANORMAL / URBAN fantasy
image via empireonline.com
When you think of paranormal YA, think vampires, werewolves, and zombies. So basically Twilight minus the zombies. For a while, the Twilight series was the reigning series for the paranormal subgenre. Teens were obsessed and buying t-shirts to show off their pride in Team Edward or Team Jacob. So what happened? Well, other authors tried to replicate the success of Twilight, and teens kept reading vampire and werewolf books until they wanted a taste of something different. Once the movies were released, Twilight stirred up even more controversy as readers began to release that Bella and Edward were an unhealthy relationship portrayal for young teens.
Still, it seems a bit disappointing that the whole vampire subgenre should die out because of one bad portrayal— especially when there’s so many amazing vampire stories, like Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. But never fear for those readers who were into paranormal or urban fantasy books other than Twilight, or even those who were into Twilight (no shame here)— these subgenres are making a slow return, starting with Renee Ahdieh’s new vampire novel The Beautiful.
image via the portalist
Steampunk is one of a few YA genres that has never taken hold of a readership. Any successful steampunk books are technically classified under other YA subgenres and only have small steampunk elements. Those books that did attempt to focus solely on steampunk, an attempt that surged around the early 2000s, were usually adult books and were just too similar to each other to claim a place as a real subgenre.
image via CBR.com
Superheroes certainly have a presence in comic books and movies, but this genre just isn’t present in YA. There’s no clear reason why superheroes are more popular in movies than books— maybe viewers would rather see sexy superhero actors and actresses blow stuff up rather than reading about them. Or maybe, like steampunk, superhero YA books have just been too similar with dead YA tropes like “the chosen one.”
5. TIME TRAVEL
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Time travel in YA sci-fi hasn’t been as successful as you might think, although time travel in YA fantasy has more of a presence. Maybe it’s because sci-fi books like H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine were written way back in 1895 and readers’ fascination with time travel has died out since then. Yet time travel is still popular in movies and TV, so it’s also up to speculation as to why this genre hasn’t taken off in YA.
If you’re interested in more about the book market or dead genres in publishing, check out this video by Alexa Donne, author of Brightly Burning. She explains all of these dead genres and tropes in-depth and also has some fascinating insights about the publishing world as well as advice for new writers.
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Vampires are climbing out of their coffins and onto our TV screens—and we’re rushing to invite them in. For centuries, vampires have been both monster and metaphor, a representation of anything from immigration, to capitalism, to homosexuality. These creatures have been whatever we needed them to be… including sexy, sparkly, teen heartthrobs when the cultural zeitgeist demanded it. But mostly, they’ve been damn entertaining. Whether they’re scary or scary seductive, vampires continue to be the subject of our collective fascination. Here are five phenomenal onscreen adaptations of the most unique vampire novels out there.
Listen, feminism and horror don’t always coincide (we all know which sort of dalliance gets you killed first in a slasher film). But AMC’s adaptation of international bestseller Joe Hill’s Nos4a2 is changing that—and the conception of vampires as a whole. Is unforgettable villain Charles Talent Manx scary? Oh, hell yes. Sexy? Well, he certainly doesn’t sparkle… but he IS played by Zachary Quinto. Charlie Manx prefers souls to blood and children to waifish babes in billowing nightgowns. Pretty terrifying. But the children aren’t frightened when Manx spirits them away in his Rolls Royce Wraith. They’re going to Christmasland, Manx’s psychological lair packed to the brim with every child’s dreams—and every parent’s nightmare.
Enter Vic McQueen, a tough teenager from a blue-collar town in the capable hands of director Jami O’Brien, who has, according to author Joe Hill, delved deeply into the feminist themes inherent in the story. A kickass female protagonist AND a kickass female showrunner? Yes please. Not only does the show capture the essence of the 80s, but it also captures the precarious balance of hope and resentment in its protagonist and the nuanced portrayal of her adolescence.
Get ready for the premiere on June 2nd for a vampire adaptation with some real soul.
Tune in to AMC on Sunday, June 2nd 10/9c.
2. interview with a vampire
This Anne Rice adaptation absolutely killed at the box office, earning $100m+ over budget. Part of the reason audiences so often despise film adaptations is the lack of author involvement—not an issue here. Rice penned the screenplay herself, ensuring a distinct creative vision authentic to her iconic work. And there may be more where that came from. At seventy-five, Rice has reacquired the film and television rights to her works and plans to release a Game-of-Thrones-style television epic. Currently, she’s at work on a ‘Bible’ plotting out the first two seasons.
The film (and novel) is as dark as its origin: Rice penned the short story after the tragic death of her daughter, Michelle, at age 5. The nostalgia and emotion in the film is even more prevalent than any sense of terror, and that’s only one of the reasons why fans love it. Many have fallen for the rich portrayal of New Orleans, a city many consider to be the protagonist. Oh, and bonus: while Anne Rice didn’t initially intend Louis & Lestat as a same-sex couple raising a child, she says she is all for that more modern interpretation.
3. TRUE BLOOD
This charming Southern Gothic comes with a whole lot of the debauchery that HBO is known for. Charlaine Harris’ vampires might’ve hit the screen at the Twilight peak—pretty ironic, given that series is a Mormon author’s metaphor for chastity—but it’s overflowing with sex and blood. Campy, steamy, and utterly intoxicating, the show racked up 13 million average viewers per episode, making it the highest-rated HBO show that doesn’t involve the Starks of Winterfell.
Author Charlaine Harris has compared the vampires’ struggles for rights with that of the LGBT+ community, some allusions more obvious than others (“coming out of the coffin,” “God Hates Fangs”). Both the TV show and novels feature copious LGBT+ characters, and let’s just say the show is action-packed regardless of whether that action is fighting, or, you know…
4. let the right one in
Adapted from a novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One in is such an effective vampire movie in large part because it doesn’t aim to be a horror. Director Tomas Alfredson had no background in horror, and so he chose instead to discard some of the darker parts of the novel (Håkan’s pedophilia, for instance) and focus on the main characters’ interpersonal relationship. Disinterested in creating an outright genre film, Alfredson commented, “I suppose the strongest elements of fear are the fantasies of the scary things that could happen… When scary things do happen, you tend not to be so afraid — it’s the fantasy that’s the scariest.”
The film is dominated by sparse sets and gray lighting, the murders that occur all the more sinister because of their strangeness. Audiences feel uneasy as a small girl takes down a grown man. And audiences feel even worse when they realize Oskar, a bullied child with violent revenge fantasies, may be more dangerous than the vampire. In Let the Right One In, childhood innocence is nothing so soft and harmless.
5. Vampire Academy
With taglines “Friendship is Forever” and “They Suck at School,” the franchise delivers on its implicit promise: that this is a campy teen story with all the debauchery you’d expect from a remote vampire boarding school. While Richelle Mead’s portrayal of adolescence may be classic, her take on vampires is anything but. The internationally-bestselling series depicts the social stratification between Moroi—rich, ambiguously European teens who drink human blood and can use elemental magic—and their mostly-human Dhampir bodyguards. Oh, and then there’s the Strigoi, who drink blood and, more importantly, kill their victims.
The series (and the movie!) is just as much ski slope shenanigans as it is international-murder-mystery, a romp across genres with a delightfully mouthy protagonist. Although the film was not especially high-grossing, the source material has sold over 8 million copies and topped the NYT Bestseller List on numerous occasions.
Featured Image Via AMC.