Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lost Souls, by Poppy Z. Brite

Poppy Z Brite's first full novel tells the story of evolved vampires and how they've adapted. Unlike Rice's vampires, they're fully functioning; these breed.

Not a book for the squeamish--reading about the feeding sessions, the rough sex, and the incest disturbed me at times. But I think that discomfort comes from knowing that this subculture (if not the creatures themselves--wink wink) does exist, and it worries me that this sort of pain is manifesting in our world. I'm not so afraid for myself, but for those who "don't belong," or who can't fake it. This subculture is a case in which "if you build it, they will come" is a poor application of an otherwise good idea. I can't quite make this "circle of life" equation match up as it applies to humans (and human-types). Does having predators who cull the weak make our species stronger in Brite's universe? Is that what the vampire genre is all about? Is it also an exercise in fantasy to counteract the imbalances our society had created and nurtured?

Our collective consciousness knows that to experience true life, one has to experience physical and emotional pain. Modern society has created ways to get rid of both kinds of pain without making the sufferer process and grow from its lesson. Society has also created acceptable space for those who thrive on the attention that pain and illness can generate. My theory is that many people have forgotten the way of transition towards healing, growth, and personal evolution. Or, perhaps they believe that their life is only about survival and "getting theirs," ergo no room for and no communication with the divine within.

[originally posted on BookCrossing 3/21/03]

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