Are Vampires Dead?

Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Debatable Topics | 7 comments

For years, vampires were so popular they demanded a genre of their own. They turned all the vampire books into movies and television shows. Then they added a few more for good measure. Yes, the market became saturated. And of course, when something’s been done 100 times before, it’s safe to assume there’s no new way to do it, no fresh spin that can be taken.

Is this true?

Well, if you ask me, I don’t think it matters if it’s true or not. Why? Because even if vampires can be done in a new way, no one’s going to know about it if they won’t look past the word “vampire” to find out. Any uniqueness is irrelevant because it will never see the light of day.

So this means the vampire genre is dead, right? There’s a lot of people marching around with their picket signs saying, “Vampires are old hat” and “I refuse to read a book with vampires in it”. Let’s just say it’s become fashionable to hate vampires. I’m not even sure if everyone who hates vampires hates them. I’m sure some do. I’m sure some are sick of them. I’m also sure some just want to fit in with everyone else on the “I hate vampires” bandwagon. I would also wager that some of these people never liked vampire-fiction/media in the first place.

Then, of course, you have the authors who hate vampires, but then they also hate any genre that is popular other than their own. Twilight becomes popular, and writers have vampire novels. Hunger Games become popular, and writers hate dystopian. This is something I never understood. It seems to me that so vehemently hating a popular book is a bit like hating the general public.

LET ME BE CLEAR: I am not talking about the dislike of the book itself. It’s perfectly okay to hate a book everyone loves. I’m talking when writers make it their mission to bash those books and the genre, rendering it garbage compared to the works of  their genre. Go to any writer board and look at their opinion on any presently popular book. You will see people who only read Mysteries, for example, “reading” Twilight (you know, saying they couldn’t get past the first page because their writing was SO horrendous), and then complaining how horrible the book is. Well, if you only read mysteries, what was the motivation in picking up a teen paranormal romance novel in the first place? There’s being a dissenting voice, and then there’s just being bitter.

The irony in all of this is who I think actually has something worth saying in the discussion in the life or death of the vampire genre: the people who have always read it. The ones who read it before it was popular and continue to read it even when it’s not. Of course, no one is really paying attention to them. You know the reason those people often say they stopped reading the genre? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not because nothing “original” was being offered anymore. The reason they aren’t reading vampires anymore is because it’s strayed too far from what vampires originally represented.

And yet the main reason given that the vampire genre is dead? “It’s all been done before.” . . . says the people who don’t read the genre and are just sick of seeing that genre do well instead of the genre they like best 😉

The idea of any genre “dying” is one I can’t agree with. Just because a genre is no longer “the hottest genre out there” or “the genre with the most bestselling books” doesn’t mean the fans of the genre are gone or that they will stop reading the genre. There are people who read “popular fiction” (which could be any given genre at any given time) and then there are people who read what they like, which may include many genres or may just be one, whether that genre is popular or not.

Since the vampire genre was recently popular and has been replaced by other more fashionable genres, we hear a lot of people saying “Vampires are Dead.” How fitting! But the real problem is they haven’t been dead enough lately! That aside, a genre no longer being popular is no reason for someone who enjoys reading it not to read it anymore; and I can guarantee that is not the reason fans of the genre stopped reading it. If you ask them, it was the popularity of the genre that was killing the genre, not the death of the popularity.

And hey, maybe you like the new style of vampires. That’s the great thing about being able to think for yourself! Personally, I like both. i like the monstrous kind that are driven by their carnality and I like the poor ole brooding vampire saps who try desperately to cling to their last shreds of humanity. I even welcome the ones in between.

When I was a kid, Mystery was a really popular genre. It’s not the fashionable genre this year, but it’s still “alive”. Genres don’t die. Only their popularity does. The popularity of some genres is even sometimes reborn again and again . . . kind of like . . .

Yeah. Kind of like Vampires.

So, is the Vampire Genre dead? I say it’s not. Besides, everyone knows vampires are immortal :)

What do you think? Do vampires still have a place in fiction? Do you still read books with vampires? What is it you would like to see in the vampire genre right now?

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Rebecca Hamilton is a USA Today bestselling Paranormal Fantasy author. Her bestselling Forever Girl Series is available at online retailers and has been optioned for film with Witten Pictures. The Hungarian edition has been published with IPC books and the German edition has been published with Darkiss, a Harlequin imprint.


  1. For me, it’s a bit of many things. (a) Vampires have become far estranged from the deadly killers of Dracula or even Lestat. So yes, we’re getting a bit far from their original purpose. And (b) the plots in YA, at least, have started to revolve around vampire-love triangle. So I’ll read books with vampires in them. If those vampires aren’t pining over a willowy faceless girl the whole time.


  2. In my incredibly long lifespan of nineteen years, vampires, or how we percieve them rather, have changed drastically. Beings that displayed truly human and inhuman emotions like Dracula and Lestat have been replaced with sparkling pedophiles like Edward Cullen.

    And what’s worse, you have the stereotypical True Blood I-Fuck-What-I-Eat and I-Love-Fucking-And-Eating vampires who just hyper violate anything just because they can.

    It’s all very sad, honestly. This is a great genre that has a lot to offer and it is being ruined.

  3. I remember people saying vampires were old hat and over, then Stephen King wrote Salems lot. Vampires like all old myths and stories wax an wane in popularity, but to each generation is given a new set of eyes and imaginations for fresh takes on the old and spring boards to the new.

  4. I’ve read vampires since I picked up ‘Salem’s Lot in seventh grade. I devoured pretty much anything that was offered in the beginning, and those novels helped me figure out what kind of vampires I really loved: those who were struggling with humanity, with what it meant to be a killer and yet know it was “wrong”. I am still in love with Lestat, decades after first reading him.

    I will always pick up well-written books about vampires. It’s a genre I love, and frankly, I don’t much care if the stories are “new”. If there are well-written, well-explored characters, I don’t care if I’m reading a scene-for-scene rewrite of Dracula.

    As a writer of vampires, I knew I wouldn’t always have a huge audience. I knew I might have to go it alone, self-publishing or publishing with a small press as I’ve done. I knew the money wouldn’t always be there. It doesn’t matter. These are the people who speak to me; my main characters have things to say, have stories to tell, and I am helpless to ignore them.

    Someday, I figure, vampires will be back in vogue, and we can all reprint our books, now backed by the names we’ve made for ourselves in other genres. For now, I’m happy to reach the hardcore fans – and as a fan, I’m happy to be reached.

  5. To me, vampires are dead. Even if they’re immortal and they look human and they have blood and stuff, they’re still dead.

  6. From the time I saw my first Dracula film as a child, I was hooked on vampires. It was Anne Rice’s books that truly turned the tide in making me see them in another light, or should I say “dark.”

    I’m a Christian/Horror/Fiction writer, but I didn’t write a vampire novel [“DAWN & THE DEAD”] until three years ago. The story line came to me when I was doing research for the sequel to another novel. I ended up temporarily putting the sequel on hold because “DAWN & THE DEAD” had me by the throat, so to speak, and wouldn’t let go until I put a stake in the last page. I didn’t write DAWN because vampires were popular, but because I had a story to tell.

    As far as I’m concerned, vampires aren’t dead – they’re just sleeping.

  7. Thanks for this post – it makes me feel validated, as this is absolutely one of my pet peeves. I get that the market is full, and that agents, editors and publishers have had their fill – really, I do. But there are a lot of vampire books because there’s a market. We can’t get enough of them. There is an audience, and it’s a big one, that gobbles them like candy. And the genre has broadened somewhat to include a number of spoofs and mash-ups too. I say the vampire IS dead, but long live the vampire. Here’s my post on this very same subject:

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