Vampire reproduction — how one vampire went about creating a new vampire — used to be lovingly laid out in detail, but I’ve noticed a trend in romance fiction lately; the actual process of re-creation is glossed over or missing altogether.
Even I’m at fault on this one, as there are some books and some universes where I haven’t had the room or the need to explain how one vampire makes another, and it would draw reader attention away from the central story, anyway.
But I’ve always wondered how it is supposed to work, depending on who I’m reading. There seems to be three major methods that an author can pick from, and most types of procreation for vampires are variations on these three methods.
1: Vampirism by Any Bite At All
This could be considered the “classic” method: A vampire bite — any bite — has the ability to transform the victim into a vampire. Usually the transformation takes place two or three days later, after the victim has scared the crap out of their family by showing all sorts of terrible symptoms and personality changes.
The one drawback with this method is that vampires must feed, and they can’t kill every human they feed from, or humans would have risen up and destroyed vampires a long time ago. If they’re not killing every human they feed from, then those humans are being turned.
Why is the planet not completely overrun with vampires? Simple linear progression says there should be elbow-room-only if vampires feed without killing. But it wouldn’t be simple linear progression, either — it would be geometric, so the numbers would have exploded.
This is the theory that was used for the movie Daybreakers to explain why there were virtually no humans left.
2. Vampirism by Special Bite
In order to avoid the population explosion and ensuing blood bank rush, many authors have made vampire procreation a more deliberate process — one of choice by both the vampire and sometimes also the human. It takes a special sort of bite from the vampire to convert the human to vampire, and occasionally, also, the human has to be willing in order for the bite to “take”.
This eliminates nearly all accidental conversions, but doesn’t mean a human can’t be forced, even under the “willing” version — there’s blackmail, emotional blackmail and good old fashioned extortion.
3. Vampirism by Ingesting Vampire Blood
The other major class of procreation doesn’t involve biting at all. I first saw this in the movie Dracula, but it has been used many times since: The human has to ingest vampire blood in order to be turned. The act of feeding from a vampire automatically implies willingness on behalf of the human (but still doesn’t remove the different forms of leverage that might be used). It also avoids all accidental bites.
These are the three major types. All the forms of procreation are variations that fit under one of these major classes, along with some neat frills and procedures. In Sooky’s world, it takes three days of dormancy before the new vampire rises, for example. In other worlds, the human must die first.
I was astonished when I first read about Laurell K. Hamilton’s vampires breeding with humans as humans do — the standard human way. It made me blink. But that was human/vampire procreation, and it came with some fairly stressful risks and side effects. Vampires making other vampires was never delineated in the series so far as I read (about book #11, I think).
Have you seen any vampire procreation process that doesn’t fit these three classes?
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