Lately I have been enjoying the way some of my much younger aquaintances are able to pull theological statements out of the latest science fiction and vampire crazes. They are finding Christian theology mixed into the craziness of tv shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vampire Diaries and newest versions of Star Trek the way my generation did with the original Star Wars movies and the very first Star Trek tv series. I say more power to them in the way they can use this cultural silliness to speak about spiritual life and death issues with their own generation. Personally when I have attempted to watch any of these things my only response is that they are just plain dumb!
For myself, well, I never was particularly interested, nor gifted, in discovering possible Christian or other theology when watching something for pure entertainment value in hopes of having some rollicking good fun in the midst of my own life's sober practicalities. For me tv, movies and novels are strictly escape, and rare ones at that, a chance to shut my mind right down and revel in unreality. Any sort of fantasy novel, tv show, or movie has been a turn off to me because I lack imagination for the most part and find such things too incredibly stupid to waste my time on.
Right now though I am actually enjoying very much a novel about several people in the midst of researching the history of Vlad the Impaler and his association with Dracula and the vampire myth. I picked up the book quite by accident at the local library's book sale, thinking it was about something else all together. But, since I read every book I buy even if I am not enjoying it that much, I settled in for what I thought would be a boring, long (at 642 pages) and downright ridiculous novel of the vampire literature genre.
Instead I am immersed in a very interesting, somewhat suspenseful, intelligent, well written novel that I am really enjoying. It is a great mix of history and myth, real historical figures and characters invented by the author. I am so surprised to be enjoying the book so much. The story moves along at a pace I can handle. The characters are not simply one dimensional caricatures. The plot has some twists along the way that still fit into the basic story line rather than being thrown in for shock value. Reading this particular book is, for me, like watching a movie produced in the 1950's rather than one produced in this century. There are no fast cuts, no special effects flashing past so quickly I am not sure what I just witnessed. While the story is based on looking back at previous events, for the most part it progresses chronologically and is easy to follow.
So, if you are wondering about this latest vampire craze but don't want to waste time on overt silliness, I would recommend this book "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova, published in 2005 by Little, Brown and Company, New York.
Yes it is a ridiculous premise just like all the vampire novels, but Ms. Kostova's book makes the possibility of the existence of vampires almost plausible.