Top Ten Vampires in the History of Literature

Terry Border Dracula

There’s more than Dracula at Terry Border’s website.

I started the move from Sweet with Fall and Fish at blogspot to SwF&F here with a love-letter to Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 so you know I’m biased, but Janet Maslin of the New York Times named it one of her favorite books of 2013 so feel free to take her word for it instead – NOS4A2 seriously kicks ass.  This is the modern reinvention of the vampire that Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain so desperately wanted to be.

To honor NOS4A2’s infusion of fresh blood (I did that on purpose and I’M NOT SORRY) into a century-old genre, I offer my Top 10 Vampire books, in order of badassery:

 

salem's lot 1976

The cover I remember from childhood; this is why I love the internet.

     1. Stephen King, Salem’s Lot

Since 1975, this has been the standard for terrifying vampires.  Modeled after Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Barlow remains largely unseen throughout the book. Yet still he manages to take out an entire town. And vampire children? Yikes.

 

30 Days of Night

     2. Steve Niles, 30 Days of Night

The clever predators in 30 Days of Night visit a secluded Alaskan town called Barrow, because it’s so far north that at the right time of year the sun doesn’t rise for a month.  Bill Templesmith’s illustrations are guaranteed to give you nightmares.

 

Dracula.Toledo

Ruben Toledo Cubano si tu savais

     3. Bram Stoker, Dracula 
How can the one that started it all come in third? Because a Victorian novel told in letters isn’t all that frightening.  By our standards, anyway.  In 1897 folks shit themselves.

 

let the right one in swedish cover

     4. John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In  
A twisted story that manages to find tenderness and love in some very dark places. Oh, and it’s got vampires.  Makes a great gift for the bully in your life.

 

13 bullets

     5. David Wellington, 13 Bullets 
Wellington’s vampires are powerful, otherworldly beasts who can tear a crowd of people to bloody chunks in mere seconds. Unfortunately, they’re a bit whiny once you get to know them.  Still – don’t get on their bad side.

 

interview with the vampire

     6. Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire  
Infectious from the opening line: “I see. . .” said the vampire thoughtfully, and slowly he walked across the room towards the window.”  If you’ve read it before, it’s time to remind yourself why this book made Rice a household name.  If you haven’t, it’s time to treat yourself.

 

i am legend

     7. Richard Matheson, I Am Legend 
Every title on this list is worth your time but if you only read one, this needs to be it.  Allegory never went down so easily; this is required reading masquerading as entertainment.

 

Moore vampire trilogy

     8. Christopher Moore, Bloodsucking FiendsYou Suck, and Bite Me.

What happens when the hilarious Christopher Moore writes a vampire trilogy?  An upbeat love story.  Of course, one of them is eternally damned to walk the earth in thirst of human blood, and the other is filled with exactly that kind of blood, but every relationship has its push and pull.

fat vampire

     9. Adam Rex, Fat Vampire 
You think you had problems as a teenager? Try being eternally fat and 15. The premise sounds silly but trust me, Adam Rex is funny.

 

twilight

     10. Stephenie Meyer’s, Twilight 
If you can’t get behind this series, you hate fun.  But badass?

edward sparkles

Not at all.

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8 thoughts on “Top Ten Vampires in the History of Literature

  1. I just watched the newest film version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula a few weeks ago. I actually liked it, bah. I hadn’t read the book since college though so I was like, “Did this really happen in the book?” I DID NOT KNOW that I Am Legend was a collection of shorter stories, that’s fascinating. I definitely want to read that now.

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  2. I love Richard Matheson.

    Just recently I was lucky enough to see a select screenings of both THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN and DUEL, both based on short stories by Matheson…and then to top it off, soon after the local television station aired the 1971 classic THE OMEGA MAN starring Charlton Heston, based on Matheson’s I AM LEGEND.

    Movie or book, that man can really spin a tale.

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