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Frost versus Flame

A few months ago, while toying with the idea of writing a supernatural thriller, I came across the following quote:

“There is it is true, a certain sexual element associated with the werewolf, although it does not approach the sado-erotic subtlety of the vampire. The werewolf is a crude and aggressive rapist; the vampire is a Don Juan among demons.” —“The Werewolf Delusion”, Ian Woodward, Paddington Press, 1978

While werewolves do seem to be gaining traction, it does seem that writers have often felt more drawn to vampires. Perhaps it’s because vampires have often been seen as cold and sterile while werewolves have the reputation of being elemental and slightly more feral. Werewolves are messy creatures of flesh and blood while vampires have found a way to cheat death. Dainty fangs versus snapping maws; frost versus flame.

*sits back and wonders who will dominate comments: Richard or Jacob, Edward or Jean Claude*


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 30th, 2008 01:47 am (UTC)
There aren't enough good werewolf books, I think. (And this comment shall be Switzerland; I haven't read Hamilton and I won't touch Meyers *shrugs*) Now, Murcheston: A Wolf's Tale was rather interesting because with the exception of the first and last chapters the entire thing is a diary kept by a lycanthrope from shortly before being infected on a hunting expedition up till his last entry, and it really is (I thought) fascinating watching his slow progression toward sheer insanity as he grows more, as you put it, feral. There are a few very memorable scenes (one of which I guess you could see as a sort of metaphorical rape scene, perhaps) that he records that illustrate it, but you can tell by the way he reacts towards them that his mind's so far gone to the wild side that he doesn't understand how telling said scenes are. It's been a few years but I've had the desire to re-read it lately.
Sep. 30th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)

...that's why I fell for--the Leader of the Pack! AAAAOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!!
Sep. 30th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)
Wild thing, I think I love your comment.

But I wanna knooooow for sure!
Sep. 30th, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
I'm not sure that there are that many more vampire books than werewolf books overall. There does seem to be more of a fetish for them recently, probably because the current take on vampires is much more sexualized than most werewolves, and we're in a time period that selects largely for sexual value.

The quote, I feel, is crap. It's crap because there isn't actually anything necessarily rapelicious about werewolf stories; in fact, they tend much more towards the internal; i.e. "Man versus his bestial nature."
Sep. 30th, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
Seriously. Werewolves are rape? I'm not seeing that. Of course, I also don't think vampires are inherently seeeeeeeexy, so my erot-o-meter is broken, I guess.
Sep. 30th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
I was looking in the supermarket for a book that is supposed to be out and was amazed once again by the amount of supernatural romance they had. Sometimes I'll pick one up and read the back and kind of snicker a bit. There was one memorable title I saw: Succubus in the City.

There were a large number of werewolf, and of course, vampire books too.

BTW I was looking for King of Sword and Sky. Wasn't there.

To your dominate comments query: I prefer Jacob to Richard, and Jean Claude to Edward. My favorite werewolf however, is Jason Shulyer. So glad we got to see more Jason in the new book.
Sep. 30th, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
I'd always figured vampires were more popular because they were prettier than werewolves. The fantasy of being young and beautiful forever is a lot more appealing to teenagers, I think.

Sep. 30th, 2008 07:13 am (UTC)
I also think Vampires are easier to do. We have a number of very clear images around vampires - of course partly through the work that's already been done about them, but there's been a number of books/movies that really set the tone for a certain vampire type. So if there's a pale but extremely handsome and elegant yet mysterious person everyone thinks vamp. There's very little stereotyping on werewolves, I think. So you'd have to start more from scratch.

I also think that authors find it easier to write about cold and political creatures like vampires than werewolves, who at least have to have some fuzzy action sequences as wolves. Filmish action in books is difficult to do.

Hence vampires are more attractive to authors. At least I think that's part of it.
Sep. 30th, 2008 07:45 am (UTC)
Kelley Armstrong does an interesting take on a werewolf pack. Its based on Elena, the only female werewolf the pack has ever had.
And I agree with the poster who chose Jason Schuyler as their favorite. He's infinitely cooler than all the rest.
Sep. 30th, 2008 11:17 am (UTC)
Also ...
... werewolves don't wear clothes or, like, talk or anything. You can't take them to parties or discuss the angst of murderous immortality with a werewolf; he'll just eat you.
Sep. 30th, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
You might want to check out "In the Company of Wolves," the Angela Carter story and the movie. Werewolves as seducers. Perhaps even sado-erotic seducers.

I think one of the main reasons writers have been drawn to vampires is that Bram Stoker and Anne Rice had phenomenal success. Same reason there are so many more "boy wizard" stories right now than there used to be. Why do we keep lumping vampires and werewolves together? White Wolf games. As to the specific vampire fascination, there's just more folklore about vampires, as said above, they can talk and be sinister at the same time, and they take less special effects in movies. Werewolves.... they're normal and then they're wolves.

I'm mostly annoyed that all monsters are now put through the "erotic" lens. Maybe they're just scary and will kill you.
Sep. 30th, 2008 12:52 pm (UTC)
I think that those who are interested in the darker side of sexuality find werewolves intriguing not because they are "crude, aggressive rapists" but because they are primal in the way that lust is primal, irresistible. For people who think of their sexuality, or part of it, as being wild or bestial in some ways, they have their appeal. And for those who enjoy exploring BDSM... well. Need I say more?

ETA: Wait, I have more to say about this. The vampire was the perfect Victorian lover because he couldn't get you pregnant and was always gone before sunrise. The werewolf may be a better choice for the 21st century, when sex has perhaps gotten a bit too civilized. Those who have needed to discuss the details of safer sex rules before going further than heavy making out will know what I mean by this. :) And I'm speaking as someone who is sex-positive and a former safe sex educator.

Edited at 2008-09-30 12:55 pm (UTC)
Oct. 1st, 2008 01:05 pm (UTC)
I disagree with your edit. Vampires play in on one of the biggest victorian fears of degeneration of the race, specifically as a symbol of an STD due to rampant sexuality. You are carless, you get bitten, and suddenly you change into a bloodsucking undead. This is a theme that is prevalent in, for example, Dracula by Bram Stoker, seeing the sexuality of especially the female vampires.
Of course, werewolves are pretty much worse since sexuality is much more overt there but I don't think Victorians saw vampires as perfect lovers. They're seductive but they're still bad guys, especially in Victorian literature, where their main goal was to murder the innocence of young maidens :P
Sep. 30th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
I understand that sentiment... And I do wish that there were more werewolf books around, but they are simply not as popular as Vampires. Unlike Vampires there has not been a huge 'boom' so to speak of Werewolf fandom. Personally I find the creatures to be much more fascinating than blood sucking aristocrats. For me and everyone else the werewolf symbolises bestial nature and how to possibly overcome it. The only reason Vampires seem more popular is due to their seductive factor. There wasn't a large Vampire boom until Anne Rice comes along with her 'oh, I'm so tragic and yet so handsome' vampire archetype. Just like with the yaoi boom, fans enjoy vampires because of their attractive powers...
Oct. 1st, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
Wolves aren't that attractive to humans. Vampires always look human. There's definitely more potential for sex appeal.
Oct. 1st, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
*Laughs at your perceptivness of the most popular characters*

I really have no love for one over the other myself (even though I do prefer Hamilton's writing style over Meyer's)

As for more vampires than werewolves? I read a LOT of YA lit (as in, I'm going back to school next fall to get my PhD in it) and you tend to see a lot more vampire oriented novels (Peeps by Scott Westerfield, Of course the twilight series along with countless others that I can't think of off the top of my head). I haven't read a lot of them so I don't know how often werewolves are incorperated into those stories, but just browse through the YA lit section of your bookstore and I bet at least a third of them will be Vampire based. Whereas the only book that I can think of that is completely werewolf oriented in YA lit (again, off the top of my head. There is a vast margin for me being wrong here) is Blood & Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. I think a large part of that is because a lot of YA books tend to address the subject of budding sexuality in teenagers and since Vampires have been so sexualized possibly because of this perfection that they have, that may be why they appear so often in the genre.

I am a lot less versed in Adult fiction (not that I don't read it, I do, I just tend to steer away from the vampire/werewolf novels) so my theory may not hole up as well when applied in other genres but I just thought that it was interesting to point out how frequently it appears in the literature that is marketed to teenagers.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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