I dug out an old “space vampire” story from Oct. 2003. I’ve

played with it a couple times between now and then, but it wasn’t until

I read a CNN/Science story a few months ago that the whole concept came

into focus. I won’t give away the connection, but I actually feel like

I have an ending in mind now, and I can pave over the old rough spots

now that I know where the road is supposed to go.

The specifics of the story aren’t really as interesting to me right

now as the larger conceit, which I guess I could spin into a whole

story collection, provided I find some more protagonists that interest

me. Basically, I think vampires would make great astronauts. Seriously.

Vampires regenerate. Vampires can hibernate for extended periods.

Vampires are immortal. Vampires are superstrong, have enhanced senses,

and all the other mojo that good larger-than-life characters have. That

makes them ideal for the harsh, cramped conditions of sublight

interplanetary travel, the kind that requires years, decades, and

centuries. Yes, they have some unusual dietary needs, but blood is a

pretty easy nutrient to freeze and store, and it can last a while if

your occupant can actually survive being starved, suffocated and frozen

for years on end. Yes, you have the whole “no sunlight” problem, but

that isn’t really a problem when you’re using old-school Apollo-style

“spam in a can” space travel, where radiation shielding is a crazy

concern for everybody, not just the undead.

So, working backwards from that premise, what if some alien pathogen

crashes to Earth, creates a population of quasi-vampires that are

perfect for interstellar flight, but are unable to survive in the

friendly confines of Earth? Is the pathogen natural, or an artifical

creation from some “other” intelligence, like aliens, future humans, or

even God? Is the pathogen an attack, or a gift? Has it been here

before, inspiring the vampire legend, or did the legends inspire the

virus? Are the “viralized” still human, even if they have a new genetic

code and must lead a whole other lifestyle? Would people volunteer to

be changed, and if so, for what reason?

Lots of hooks in this concept. Gets me kinda jazzed just making the laundry list. Anyway, I’ve got an en medias res

plot to try out the idea. I’ll kick it around and send it off to the

aforementioned magazine. Of course, if this one gets kicked back, it’ll

probably sour me on the whole franchise, so I’ve gotta land this one.

Yeah, no pressure or anything.