Teenagers With Bite

Internets! Online SFF magazine Strange Horizons! Do you love it? Oh, me too!

I recently wrote a two-part article* on why vampires in young adult fiction are awesome, with a selection of some of my recent favourites.

I see you, Lili Wilkinson. I see you shaking your head!

You are mistaken, and here’s why:

I adore many trends that are supposedly overplayed but actually classic favourites. And, much like Meat Loaf, bright red lipstick, and jelly shoes, vampires are awesome, and I hope they stick around forever. Haters to the left, where they may bite me.

Vampirism is a fabulous metaphor for a lot of things that often happen in adolescence: physical transformation; new temptations and cravings; intensity of emotion; uncontrollable desires. Also, vampires are sexy, sexy danger, and while in real life, dangerous people are not at all sexy and ought to be avoided if possible, they can be a lot of fun in fantasy. Fantasy is a safe way to play around with the notion of the redeemable monster, the terrible being that nevertheless loves and protects the right person.

“Teenagers with Bite”: Part One. Part Two.

Of course the rest of the magazine is well worth your time, but may I particularly recommend “No Return Address”, by Sigrid Ellis?

I was angry when we had that fight, too. Our last fight, though I didn’t know that at the time. What did you expect me to say? You come in late and you’re bloody and filthy, and you tell me some story about “the fey,” and “faeries.” About the fey and our family and a war. You said, “I have to go, Mom. The Unseelie Court has taken the Southern Provinces, and only our family’s bloodline can save the High Ones.” It makes no sense. Those are things out of stories, out of books. I just want to know, Amanda—in what universe did you think I would not ask you what drugs you were on?

As an enthusiastic YA reader, this is the other half of a story I have read many times in different guises, and I found it both beautifully written and fascinating.

And don’t forget, you can visit me THIS SATURDAY at 2 p.m., at Borders Melbourne Central. I will be signing with the excellent Foz Meadows (See above! In the list!) and doubtless making up OUTRAGEOUS LIES about where my ideas come from.

* Why is it in two parts when both parts are quite short? Therein lies a stunning tale of my own incompetence! Always check files before you attach them to make sure you’re not sending the first half of a draft, kids.

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  • Loved the article and you may have done what no one else has ever managed for me–I almost want to write a vampire story.