I just sent the following to JonathonFrid.com, and thought I may as well share it here as well:
Back in 1993, I published my 12th novel, AGYAR, my only vampire novel. I was one of those kids who raced home from school to catch Dark Shadows at 3:30. Until recently, when I’ve been watching DS again, I didn’t realized the degree to which Jack Agyar was influenced by Barnabas Collins. Now that I am aware of it, it seems only fair to acknowledge it, and to say thank you.
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Have you gotten a response?
I’ve never watched DS before, so I can’t say I know much about how the two characters are similar, but I think it’s cool that you realized your influences in such an unorthodox way and had the class to let the guy know about it.
If ever I publish a book with a Vlad-esque character, I’ll let you know and the cycle of acknowledgment can continue!
Very gracious. Please do let us know when he responds.
This is not casting rocks at Agyar because I haven’t read it (haven’t read any of your non-Dragaera books).
But what’s the big fracking deal with all this Vampire stuff in TV, Film and other media at the moment? It just seems to be snowballing. The great nephew (or something like that) of Bram Stoker has decided to cash in on it with a sequel to the original Dracula story.
It seems that everyone I know is a fan of either Buffy, Blade, Lestat, Sparkle Boy, Lost Boys, Dracula or a all of the above.
Is is wrong for me not to be caught up in this pop-genre? Thinking about makes me feel that I Do Not Belong.
Now stories about Big Alien Robots Smacking Each Other To Bits. THAT I can relate to!!! Not enough of that, methinks.
On an unrelated note. Just read Brokedown Palace. Brilliant. Answers a lot of questions. No, wait – I meant to say it raises a lot of new questions to ponder. But that’s what I like about your work.
Well on the subject I luved ‘Let The Right Ones In’ and I don’t like much Vamp stuff whatsoever.
In my opinion, the vampire phenomenon comes straight out of Anne Rice and other authors who have made vampires darkly sympathetic, or more specifically how they made vampires darkly sympathetic. Vampires are shown to be decadent libertines from a dead age, in tune with their senses and sensuality, which replaces emotion. This taps into a powerful notion of a hidden aristocracy with mystical powers and secret knowledge that can be imparted to special people. Since the characters are often outcasts of one kind or another, that means what was low can be made a secret prince or king. Their flaw of bloodlust has become a burden that they must hide from others, making the monster a martyr.
The idea of a hidden society that grants its initiates power or insight on the turth is the same idea that drove the popularity of Harry Potter or the Matrix, but with vampires, it is wrapped up in the idea of sensuality and the image of sexuality, since modern vampires are all so beautiful.
For those that haven’t read Agyar, it is unlike many other vampire stories, in my opinion. The protagonist is introduced to us as a being with a personality, that also happens to be a vampire. We are not beat over the head with it, and in fact, it is not clear what his spiritual status is exactly until later in the book. I personally loved the story, but it is not one of those where you end up feeling for the guy. He is real, and thus does what he needs to do, not feeling too sorry for his victims. Agyar does not belong lumped in with the other vampire genre books.
@ Bill Waters
Excellent comments, in addition to Rice, I would point to Laurel K Hamilton and her Anita Blake series (something about those first person perspective, bad asses that I really really enjoy) as well as the Twilight series geared toward teens and teen angst (which I haven’t read). I think you are spot on about the sensual nature of the modern vampire.
I think the best Vampire story I have ever read was “I am Legend” by Richard Matheson. (One of the worst Book to film adaptations I’ve ever seen) With definite respect to Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. Of course, I’ve not read Agyar…
I have read Agyar, but it’s been years and years…I should reread it.
Meanwhile, lookee what turned up on tor.com…
Oddly enough, I just read Agyar for the first time last month. I can certainly see the DS influence, though I never could get into DS.
I’m still, ultimately, not sure about Agyar. It left me unsettled. Unfulfilled? Maybe. A lot was left unexplained, unexplored, and unresolved. Too much? I can’t say.
I’m going to have to read it again. Because, regardless what I think of the plots and resolutions, the writing itself was simply wonderful.
I was also one of those kids who ran home for DS. Agyar happens to be your only book I do not own and have not read. Now i am going to have to go out of my way to rectify that situation.
Now, you have me thinking.. (about one of your other discussions..) If you have a copy lieing around that you do not want to keep. Give me a price and address where I can send the check. I would rather pay you than a book store or Amazon. (You have my email address from this post..)
I, too, ran home from school to catch DS, but usually didn’t get home until 3:40! Argh, the suffering! I’m still not over it.