Best of 2018 – Novels and novellas

It’s so hard to pick my favorite books. 

I mean, you read so many, right? Or, well, I read so many. If there were a monster that could only fill the deep gullet of its belly with words, then I would be that monster. I read a LOT. It’s like breathing.

So every year I try to keep a list of the books that make me smile or laugh out loud or weep uncontrollably and every year I doubtless fail. I know there are things that I will miss, books I really loved but that I can’t quite bring myself to put on my best of list and books that touched me despite not being my favorite and really, who am I kidding? I love all the books, unless I don’t. I’m not really a halfway kind of person when it comes to the written word, and so when I read a book I either love it or, more rarely, hate it. If it makes me feel sort of meh, I don’t finish.

Anyway, the point is that these books are happy, good, glowing things that are worth your time. There’s probably something on this list for everyone and if there is something you’ve read and liked and you want to know about stories like it, I can probably point you in the right direction. It’s a talent of mine.

Without further ado, my 2018 list for novels and novellas: 

In Other Lands

Urban Fantasy, Portal Story, Coming of Age, LGBTQ. This book has a lot going on. The pacing is good for the scope of the time that is taken up in this novel. It’s also a standalone, so don’t worry about getting into this and having to commit to some long series. Everything you need is contained within its cover from the beginning. 

I read this book early in the year and it read, for me, like a balm. It’s the story of a boy who is used to not being loved, and all the problems that he makes for himself because of that habit. And it’s the story of his friends, who stand by him despite his best efforts, and of the magical world they call home.  I hope you read it and love it and feel comfort.

The City of Lost Fortunes

I’ve mentioned this book before, but since it technically came out this year I need to mention it again. I met Bryan Camp at WFC in November of 2017, devoured his book, can’t wait for more. Also he’s a cool guy. This book is set in New Orleans, but unlike most of the similar books mining such a rich setting, The City of Lost Fortunes feels real and lived in. That’s probably because Bryan is a native, and a native with good attention to detail and a love for the city he calls home in all of its chaotic glory. Urban Fantasy.

The Stone in the Skull

Epic Fantasy. This book takes place in the same secondary world that Bear previously created for The Range of Ghosts. Because of that, it is easy to see just how far she has come as a writer. Range of Ghosts and the ensuing novels are solid, well-written, and inventive. The prose in The Stone in the Skull, however, practically leaps of the page. It nonetheless loses none of the excellent elements of the original world, expanding on them in ways that feel natural.

Some of my favorite books in secondary world fantasy have been written by this author. Her skill in research in writing is something I aspire towards. Also she’s a gem and she liked my dress at Futurescapes. It is one of the highlights of my life. So I hope you will read this book and enjoy it as much as I did.

Iron and Magic

You may remember a few years back when I discovered Ilona Andrews. This husband and wife team write the most excellent romance and magical action. This year I have read several of their works, since I’ve been in the mood for romance recently, but since I do love the world of Magic Shifts I decided to recommend this one. It is the start of a trilogy that can be read alone, but I wouldn’t waste the chance to read the recently completed Kate Daniels series, of which this story-line is a spin off. Romance, Urban Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic.

Glory’s Teeth

This is the only novella that made my list this year. I did read a few, mind, and there were some exceptional ones. But there is only so much space on this list and I’m kind of pushing it as it is with seven titles instead of my usual five or so. Luckily, you can read Glory’s Teeth as a standalone, though the author has other works in this world if you can’t get enough.

This book was an unexpected find. I actually saw the author post about it through someone else I follow on Twitter, proving that, occasionally, social media does sell books. The story made me absolutely sob. It’s about a girl who also happens to be a wolf destined to consume the world, the torment of feeling empty and alone, and the hunger to be alive. And it is so very, very delicious.  Urban Fantasy, Norse Mythology.

Trail of Lightning

Gritty, inventive, excellent – these are all words one might use to describe Rebecca Roanhorse’s debut release. And it is definitely gritty. The gore in this book is not to be underestimated. Nor is the refreshing approach to the world. Roanhorse uses her own Native heritage as inspiration in creating a dynamic, grungy world where myths come alive, and not always for the better. While it’s not necessarily a hopeful book, it is a solidly vengeful one, and it sets up nicely for future sequels. Action, Urban Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic.

Space Opera

Last but definitely not least, for those of you who haven’t heard of this wonderful book, we have Space Opera. Ambitious it may be, but this book sticks the landing, as Valente is wont to do. In a story reminiscent of Hitchhiker’s Guide but definitely it’s own, with aliens and absurdity and tongue-twisting prose, Valente takes us on a journey that seems to be about what makes good music but is actually about what makes someone human. Above all, this is a hopeful read. It’s the story you didn’t know you needed in 2018, the longest and shortest year on record, and I have it last so that you will remember it best. Science Fiction, Weird, Eurovision.

I hope you enjoy these reads, folks! Don’t forget to let me know if you’ve read one of these, I’d love to hear how you liked it.


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So you finished NaNoWriMo. Now what?

National Novel Writing Month is a cool idea, and I usually try to participate in some fashion every year. The first (and much different) draft of my first book was written in this time. I’ve never made 50,000 words, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, but I usually do somewhere between 20-30,000, since I find it useful to set these personal targets.

You, however, could have made all sorts of words this month. Maybe you hit that 50,000 word mark, maybe you didn’t, maybe you went farther. It doesn’t really matter where you are in your writing process, the advice below will work for you.

  1. Finish the draft. This is not a foregone conclusion, even if you hit the 50k mark. For most genres, 50,000 words does not a book make. Some industry standards to keep in mind are 100,000 words for a fantasy or science fiction novel, and 75,000 words for a young adult novel. That’s a lot more words. Hopefully you still have more of your outline to write through, but maybe this is a matter of going back through and fleshing out your draft. Your writing process may be something you’re still figuring out, and that’s okay. Just keep in mind that your finished wordcount at the end of NaNoWriMo may not be what the industry is looking for.
  2. Revise. This is probably the most important step in any project. My favorite way to do this, honestly, is to trunk the book for a month or so. Put it somewhere dark and allow it to ferment. When you come back to it, come back with an editor’s eye, not a writer’s. Think about what works and what doesn’t, and start whittling it into shape.
  3. Proofread. Wait, I hear you saying, isn’t proofing part of the revision process? Yes, and no. I always treat my manuscripts to an extra proofing session or three. My revision process focuses on plot, setting, and overall structure of the book. My proofing process focuses at the sentence level. This is where you find your typos, your awkward sentences, your misused words. It’s a vital step, so don’t skip it.
  4. Research. If you’ve done all these things, and done them well, now you are ready to query (if you are going the traditional publishing route) or consider self-publishing. But you don’t want to just launch yourself at either option without considering the merits of both. Read a lot. Remember to read stories from people who have been successful as well as those who have failed. Decide what kind of work you are interested in taking on and assess your own skills critically during this process.
  5. Research some more. If you are going the traditional publishing route, there’s a second bit of research you need to do. You need to figure out who to query, and why they would want your book. I suggest making a spreadsheet to track your queries that’s particular to your manuscript, but you can manage your tracking however you want. Make a goal to submit a certain amount of queries per day or week or month. Structure things so that you can hold yourself accountable. Personalize your queries, but stay professional.
  6. Submit. This is the last step if you’re pursuing a traditional publishing process, and it’s the hardest part. Hitting that send button always feels, to me, as if I’m falling off a building. My heart is up in my throat, my stomach is trying to climb that way, and everything seems too sharp. This is normal. It’s okay to feel anxious about this process. Use the schedule you made and the list to keep the task feeling less personal. Treat yourself to chocolate or something every time you successfully submit. There are a number of tricks, but I suspect you will know what works best for you. 
  7. Forget. Once your queries are out there, forget about them. This is not to say you shouldn’t put an alarm in your calendar or something to remind you to follow up (depending on if that is something that the agent or editor you have queried allows). It means that you should not spend any conscious processing time on it. This is a self-protection skill, honestly, and one that’s hard-earned for me. Submit and forget. When you get good news in your inbox, you’ll be happier for it.

Congratulations on getting through NaNoWriMo, and good luck with your story!


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Black Roses announcements!

Thanksgiving comes to a close at last with a visit from my brother this weekend. I have so much to be thankful for this year, including the support of my Patrons and family and friends. So accordingly, I thought I would share a little gift.

I’ve pretty much only been talking about my NaNoWriMo goal of finishing the first Black Roses novella this month. Well, here we are, nearly at the end of NaNoWriMo, and while the novella is a bit longer than I thought I expect I will be finished very soon! Which means that, following some initial editing, I will be all set up for the roll out of the first Black Roses novella, All the Roses Black, a weekly installment of a creepy Bluebeard retelling. You can find out more about this project and support it for access at my Patreon.

But to sweeten the pot a little and encourage you to participate, I’ve put together this brief excerpt of my writing playlist with all of my favorite songs for this story. I’ve also made a Youtube version for those who want an easy link.

I hope you enjoy these songs! We are so close to the goal for this project to come alive, and I’m very excited.


To get this serial novella as it comes out, all you have to do is pledge! Check out my Patreon for more information.

Falling down the hill

It’s nearly the end of NaNoWriMo and the Thanksgiving season has begun. So far I have attended three Thanksgivings of one stripe or another, and I’m crazy behind on wordcount. I’m convinced that whoever placed NaNo in November did it specifically because they thought only children and college-aged folks would be interested. Adults spend far too much time in November cooking for other people to be able to summon the creative juices to write 50k.

Luckily, I am not writing that much. My NaNo goal was only 20k. I could conceivably do that in four (terrible) days if I had to, and I have already gotten pretty far along so I won’t have to do that to myself. And, despite being behind, there’s good news!

You may have seen this post, so let me explain what this means.

My writing process is sort of strange. As with most people, the process changes from book to book. However, with most stories I hit a moment when things start to cohere. Last weekend, as I was sitting in a restaurant waiting for a friend, I realized that I had finally discovery-written enough that things were starting to come together.

You see, I’m not a pantser, but I’m not a planner either. I’m more of a baker of stories, when it comes down to it. I plan out the ingredients according to the recipe I come up with, and then I start mixing things together. The end-goal remains consistent but sometimes the steps can be malleable. As any good baker knows, there’s usually a point part of the way through where you’re not sure if you’re doing it right. Maybe you didn’t add enough water or milk, and it needs a little more. Maybe you didn’t add enough flour. Whatever it was, you need intuition to take you in that direction, to get you to the perfect consistency of dough or batter.

And once you have that consistency right, the rest of it is just patting and rolling the story into shape.

Anyway, it’s an imperfect metaphor, but I’m living proof that you don’t need to outline 100% or to free-write 100%. I’m pretty sure if I did either the story that would come out would be dead, lacking the spark that makes it worth reading. For this story, I had a clear idea of the two main characters, parts of the setting, and the end I was working towards. I knew the bones. As I have written, I’ve been adding flesh and color in ways that, honestly, often surprise me. The story is beginning to take on a life of its own, and that means I’m doing something right.

Just in time, too, since NaNo is nearly over.


 
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Revisiting old loves: Van Helsing

Have you ever rewatched a movie and realized how much it shaped you?

For Halloween, the S.O. and I were looking for a spooky watch. I don’t really like horror in the gory sense, but I am into anything with vampires, werewolves, and monsters of various stripes, especially if there’s some good action involved. While we were zooming through Netflix options, the S.O. mentioned he had never seen Van Helsing. I gasped, grasped my wounded heart, and immediately demanded that we rectify the situation.

For those unfamiliar with the title, Van Helsing is a pulpy, ridiculous, lovely movie that is riddled with issues. It is not a feminist work by any means, despite featuring several named female characters with distinctive personalities. It’s got fridging, and my least favorite trope of sex-in-exchange-for-being-saved. But it remains one of my favorite movies from my teenage years. The S.O. hated it, which I kind of expected. And I, upon watching it as an adult, realized that I had been profoundly influenced as a writer by this film.

There’s a wonderful scene in this movie where Van Helsing is attempting to rescue Anna Valerious from the clutches of Dracula. You know the one – the ball, the dance, the bright red dress. The moment when Anna looks in the mirror and realizes that everyone you see, all the beauty and glitter, is a lie – no one will help her.

van-helsing

I realized that some iteration of that moment happens in one of my books. The red dress, the powerlessness, made it into a scene in Child of Brii. The sense of disorientation I felt in that moment was shocking. Sure, I loved this movie, but that bit of inspiration wasn’t a conscious decision. The red dress, I would have said, was based off of any number of other things. But in that moment I realized that the red dress came from this film.

Recently, I read an article by Kameron Hurley for Locus Magazine, where she said:

I found myself sharing the many real-life stories, anec­dotes, experiences, and other things I’d read over the last 30-some years that went into building the worlds and people and concepts for this single piece of fiction. I was fascinated at the reminder that I was the only one who could have written this story in just this way. These were pieces of my life, all bundled up and remixed. It’s this unique blend of experiences that helps make up a writer’s voice.

For better or worse, Van Helsing and every other pulpy, delicious thing that I love is part of my voice. For a long time, I wrestled with feeling ashamed of wanting to write things that weren’t “heavy” enough, that held romance as an element, that featured women in fancy clothes or with female friends – and of writing stories that contained werewolves and demons purely for the delight of them. Maybe getting older has changed my tastes, or maybe I just don’t care as much anymore. Either way, I think the kinds of stories I’m willing and able to tell are becoming more balanced.

I still want to write works that show women as more than just pretty baubles, and I no doubt will. But I don’t think the red dress is a bad decision either. The glitter is worth writing as much as the gore. I need both. So I’ll take to heart this lesson from my old problematic favorite. They say to steal like an artist. I’m happy to steal from the stories that have shaped me, and to make those stories my own.


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Good news!

Hey guys, guess what? We reached our $20 goal on Patreon. Which means we get poetry!!!

I’m so excited about this, so I wanted to share the graphics I’ve made for the poems Patrons will get this month. If you want to read the full poem and get future information, you’ll have to subscribe. Images are from Pexels and edited with Canva.

Anyway, enjoy! I’m back to the word mines!

If you If only you (1)cold fall day (1)How does one come to kill_ (1)River green, rocks black, blood red (1)

Welcome to November

Good morning everyone. We are officially one day in to National Novel Writing Month.

Excuse me.

*Screams in writer*

Okay, that’s better. So yeah, NaNoWriMo is here, and this year I have a personal goal to finish this WIP. I will finish the first Black Roses novella in November or die trying. There is enormous probability of the latter, but such is life.

welcome to november.gif

I’ve never successfully done NaNoWriMo to the national standard. I mean, I’ve written 50,000 words in a month, but only when I was unemployed. It was awesome. When I think back on that time of my life, I recognize that I was in some ways miserable (I ate a lot of soup) but in other ways close to reaching some kind of writing enlightenment. My average wordcount when I’m unemployed and writing full time is about 1700 words a day. Which is…really not a lot of words when you get down to it. About five pages, give or take.

By the way, that’s just over what it takes, every single day of November, to get to the goal of 50,000 words.

So yes, I’ve never successfully finished NaNoWriMo in November, not least because it occurs right as we are ramping up into the Holiday Season, which means that I am very busy with the required efforts to connect to distant family members and friends that this time of year entails. I will definitely not make it through 50,000 words this year, and I know this. But I’m hoping for a good 20,000, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. Which, by the way, is still a really daunting number for me with all the writing I do for the day job, even though it comes in at about 667 words a day. All of it depends on how long this story wants to be told of course. It’s totally possible that the first draft will come out longer or shorter than that. I’ve given up trying to predict the exact number of words in one of my drafts. Ballparks of plus or minus about 5,000 words are safer.

Anyway, Welcome to November. My blog posts may be a little bit short this month. They do not count towards wordcount, after all. Good luck with all of your writing endeavors, if you’re setting your own goals for this month. And if you’re trying to reach those 50,000 words, you are in my thoughts.


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Free Halloween Story!

Hey, friends! I wrote this free Halloween story for you about a teenage boy and his very protective mom. Inspiration came from the Goodreads Nightmare Generator. Hope you enjoy!


Be Careful What You Summon

The chains cut into his ankles, the dust on the floor made his nose run, and Adrian Damon was having a bad day. Nearly night at this point – the sun was setting, casting beams against the far wall. He shifted again, trying to find a comfortable position within the salt circle, wincing at the soreness of his tailbone from sitting on the old hardwood floor. The attic was dim and deserted, but he knew better than to hope for someone to come. Whoever came up now had probably put him here.

His memory was shaky. He was pretty sure that Miranda Barnes had been the one to lead him up here, before everything went black. Dumb, to follow a girl like that into her attic, but he had always liked her blonde hair and her doe-like eyes. She’d been nice to him, too, not like some of the other popular kids in school. Adam couldn’t help that he was pale enough you could see the blue of his veins in places, no matter how much he went outside. He couldn’t help his black eyes or his black hair. That was genetics, a gift from his mother.

He had to get out of here before she found out what had happened. She would be so pissed.

Adrian tried to stand, wincing as the blood rushed to his head. There was blood in his black hair, too, he could feel it crackle beneath his fingers where it had dried. His mouth was musty and dry. The chains rattled as he walked to the edge of the salt.

The salt circle bit at his fingers and he pulled his hand back sharply. Whoever had drawn this had picked up a book at least. His heart fell. Without help there was no way he was getting out anytime soon.

There was a sound from below.

Adrian hid his burned hand behind him. The door at the bottom of the narrow attic stairs swung open, and three sets of feet hit the steps. There came Miranda, with her pretty golden curls. Zach was next, and that was no surprise. Zach Elding was a bully, with big wide shoulders and swooping brown hair. Behind him was the whip-thin Patrick Roberts, who followed Zach everywhere. He had been born in Korea but his parents had adopted him when he was only a year old so he was American through and through.

“You guys need to let me out of here,” Adrian said. Zach laughed. Patrick set a lamp down on the floor, the battery-operated kind most people kept for when the power went out. The last rays of dying sunshine were dripping down the wall, and the attic was dim. He flicked the lamp on, chasing away the shadows. Adrian winced at the brightness.

“We’re not letting you go anywhere until you show us something cool,” Zach said. Miranda just looked nervous. Adrian would bet money that she had been the one to figure out how to bind him. The prospect made his heart hurt in his chest.

Demons trapped in a circle were supposed to be bound to tell the truth, but Adrian wasn’t all demon. He opened his mouth and lied.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Sure you do,” Zach said. “You’ve got to give us three wishes, and I want to see some magic.”

Adrian rolled his eyes. Every part of that statement was wrong. Zach had as much sense as a crocodile. He was inspired in his cruelty, but he didn’t focus on details. “All you’re going to see is a jail cell if you don’t take these chains off me. This is kidnapping, Zach.”

Patrick shuffled his feet, looking nervous. Miranda made a face. But it was Zach who answered, of course.

“Can’t be kidnapping when you’re not even human.”

Adrian said nothing. His heart was going a mile a minute in his ears. He could sense the sun vanishing below the horizon. The light on the wall was nearly gone, the lantern on the floor the only thing letting them see. They had no idea, not really. 

“Show me some magic,” Zach said.

“Make me,” Adrian shot back, his tone scornful. If he could get Zach to break the circle – but no, Miranda had grabbed the bigger boy’s arm as he started forward. He was nowhere near the salt line.

“I thought he had to do what I said,” Zach demanded of her. The girl shrugged.

“I don’t know why it’s not working,” she said.

The sun went down. Adrian felt it in his chest.

“Zach, let me out,” he said, sinking urgency into his tone. “I’m serious. Quick.”

“Or what?” Zach said, still belligerent. Patrick pointed at Adrian.

“What’s wrong with your eyes, man?” he said.

Adrian knew what was wrong. The night revealed his nature. They were glowing red.

He threw himself against the barrier then, feeling the darkness surge in him. If he could break it himself – but it flashed, burning his skin. He cried out. The other kids cried out as well, stumbling back. The chains cut into Adrian’s legs, and he could smell his own blood.

“Jesus,” Patrick was saying. “He is a demon!”

“No shit,” Zach said. “That’s more like it, Adrian. Show us what you really look like!”

Adrian looked at him, terrified. There were shadows gathering thickness on the attic floor. He was out of time.

“Mom!” Adrian shouted. “Don’t hurt them!”

The light went out.

He heard Zach scream, and stumbling, blind steps. Someone fell down the stairs. It took Adrian’s eyes a minute to adjust to the deeper darkness, but when they did he saw Zach whimpering in a ball in the dimness. Patrick was gone. Miranda was floating in the air, her curls splayed like roots, a scream fighting to exit her throat and being held back by – something. Adrian felt satisfaction, and then felt guilty for it. 

“Let my boy go,” came a voice from all around the attic room, “or I will eviscerate your pretty friend.”

Zach looked around him. Babbled something nonsensical. He probably didn’t even know was eviscerate meant.

“Mom, put Miranda down!” Adrian demanded. Two red eyes opened where the shadows were deepest, focusing on him. Zach took the moment of inattention to make a break for it. A band of darkness clotheslined him. His body made an arch before he impacted with the floor headfirst. Then he lay unmoving. Miranda fainted, the scream dying in her throat.

Lilith, queen of darkness, lowered Miranda to the floor with a soft thump. Then she stepped out of the shadows and looked down at her son, who looked so much like her.

“Adrian,” she said.

“Mom.”

“What have I told you about following strangers into their homes?”

“They weren’t strangers,” Adrian said tiredly. His mother sighed.

“No, they never are.” She sent a roping strand of darkness to wrap around Zach’s neck and dragged his unresponsive body to the circle, pushing his head through the salt.

“There,” she said. There was a snick at his ankles as the shackles came undone. Adrian stepped over Zach and embraced his mother.

“I’m sorry, dear,” she said, and there was a weight of guilt in her voice. Adam shook his head against her shoulder, fighting back tears.

“Not your fault,” he said. “There are cruel people everywhere.”

“Yes, there are. But I’m blessed to have you.”

Lilith pushed him away and looked at him with red-burning eyes. She was his mother, and he was her son. He wouldn’t let anyone make him ashamed of that.

His mother smiled at him. Then she took his hand and they went home.


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The great vampire vs. zombie debate

Hi, everyone. This week I’m going to weigh in on an important spooky issue, one that arises every year at this time. That issue is: whose undeadness is more potent? The vampire’s? Or the zombie’s?

To answer this question, we must first establish a baseline. What kind of vampire are we talking about? Is the vampirism magical, or viral? We must also answer this question for the zombie. Accordingly, I’ve outlined some possible scenarios below using some of my favorite examples of the undead. Enjoy!

lestat.jpg

Magical vampire vs. Magical zombie*

For the past two decades, when people think of vampires they are far more likely to think of Anne Rice’s lithe, cold Lestat than they are to think of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In both cases, however, there are some established rules. The vampire is dead, first of all. In Lestat’s case, that death means that he remains unchanging throughout eternity. Lestat also has a maker. Most vampire novels posit some sort of bond between a master vampire and the vampires he or she has brought into existence, often one that results in near unbreakable obedience, at least until the vampire gets more powerful.

This is an attribute shared with the magical zombie. In contrast to a magical vampire, it is debatable whether or not a zombie brought back by magic understands or evaluates its world in any meaningful way. The zombie has no will of its own. If there is a will, that will is hunger only. Typically, however, the zombie is controlled by a master of its own – a necromancer, who has been responsible for raising it. The zombie continues to rot, and does not contain anything like blood.

Rules established, what happens if a vampire bites a zombie? Probably nothing. A rotting zombie has no blood to attract the vampire, or with which to be turned. It is possible that consuming the blood of a zombie, at least in the world of Anne Rice, would kill the vampire, but that is highly debatable. The zombie’s death has already found it, so the vampire is not following death anywhere by taking the last drop, even if said vampire could be induced to attempt it. I imagine it would be like eating putrid fish.

If a magical zombie bit a vampire, a similar lack of reaction would probably occur. Depending on the type of vampire, there may be damage of a permanent kind or damage that is immediately healed. This is assuming that a zombie could get close enough to actually manage to bite a vampire, of course, since they tend to be pretty fast and zombies (at least the magical kind) are not fast.

The only way, probably, that a magical vampire could become a zombie would be to be taken over by the necromancer. In Buffy, for example, both Spike and Angel show that vampires are susceptible to magical influence on the part of witches and other magic users. Depending on the world, it might be possible for the necromancer in question to pilot a vampire (more on this below). This would render them functionally zombie-esque.

Magical vampire vs. Virus zombie

As discussed above, vamps are dead and unchangeable. The dead can’t catch viruses. An exception to this rule rises in the Sookie Stackhouse novels, where a kind of vampire HIV can be transmitted from living humans to vampires. It is debatable whether a virus which could live in a zombie body – i.e. one that is actively rotting excepting the nervous system, as in Resident Evil – could be easily transmitted by a vampire biting said zombie. On the other hand, a zombie bite to a Trueblood vampire might have unfortunate and new consequences. It is hard to tell how they would react.

Virus vampire vs. Magical zombie

This match-up is a difficult one because virus vampires quickly start to look like zombies for all intents and purposes. Some examples of a virus or other pathogen creating a vampire include the Immortuus pathogen in the Kate Daniels novels and the creatures in The Strain.  In both cases, early exposure results in a mindless killing machine. In the case of the vampires in Kate Daniels, it is additionally possible to control those vampires as if they were zombies. Navigators bear many resemblances to necromancers. In essence, this question may be a moot exercise. If it’s dead, a necromancer can pilot it. If it’s still alive… things get a little tricky, and the rules of the world kick in.

zombies

Virus vampire vs. Virus zombie

The classic zombie that comes to all of our minds is probably not the one piloted by an outside will, but the one that is driven by a virus, bacterium, or other pathogen that just wants to spread itself around. For a good example, look no further than your classic Dawn of the Dead zombie, more or less revived in recent franchises such as The Walking Dead. These guys have little of their humanity left. They’re actively rotting, and they just want to eat everything.

But, as mentioned, the rotting bit is probably the only thing that distinguishes them from a Kate Daniels vampire, minus the ability to be piloted. In a battle, who would win? I would guess it depends on how much the original infection has transformed its host. If a vampire from post-Shift Atlanta were to bite or otherwise expose a human who lived to its pathogen, it’s likely that human would become a vampire, of course. But a zombie has already been transformed pretty significantly from the baseline human body. Things like body temperature, circulation, and alkalinity can all change to make the zombie’s body much less amenable to infection from another contaminant, and that’s assuming that the pathogen is passive to the new invasion. My hypothesis is that, in both cases, these infections would simply cancel one another out. That is to say, there would be no result from a Kate Daniels vampire biting a Dawn of the Dead zombie or vice versa.

That said, the vampire is going to win the fight the minute it pulls the zombie limb from limb.

That’s all I’ve got! Enjoy, and let me know if you disagree with who would win below! Happy Halloween!

* There’s one last vampire/zombie dichotomy of interest worth mentioning in the magical vampire vs. magical zombie debate, and that is the Black and Red Courts in the Dresden Files. While it’s true that Black Court vampires share many elements with more traditional vampires, their rotting bodies do certainly evoke a zombie-esque physique. On the other hand, Red Court vampires lose all appearance of humanity, becoming demonic in form, but share many of the more recent elements of magical vampires, including the ability to seduce and enthrall their victims. It’s hard to tell for sure where these two groups fall in the debate, but one thing’s for sure: they are both hard to kill.


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