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 spotsnow 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 interestme. 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 crazyconcern 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 tobe 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'llprobably sour me on the whole franchise, so I've gotta land this one.
Yeah, no pressure or anything.
Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can also follow him on his personal blog.