This is another of my guest posts that appeared on a blog that is now long gone. I’ve updated and refreshed links.
There’s a ton of fiction out there – even romance fiction – featuring vampires in the past and the present, taking on human roles and because of their inherited special gifts and talents, proving to be as good, if not better, than humans in those roles.
A quick example or two: There are an overwhelming number of vampires running successful night clubs. Two of the most popular (and sexy) would be Jean Claude from the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton (and she’s just released the 26th book in the series! Phew!) and Eric Northman from the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris.
Then there’s vampires who have turned into hunters, detectives, cops, and more.
Because vampires (usually) have extraordinary hearing and extraordinary sense of smell, the enforcement roles tend to suit them well. Ditto, any role that involves staying up during the wee hours of the night, such as running a club.
If vampires have (theoretically) been around since the early 18th or 17th century (according to whom you listen to) and are showing no signs of diminishing their ranks any time soon, and as each member of the species live forever unless they manage to top themselves in one of an extremely small number of ways, then it’s reasonable to argue that vampires will still be with us in the future.
For a science fiction fan like me, I can’t help wondering what a vampire’s life will be like in that far, or even not-so-far, distant future.
It’s easy enough to extrapolate that given a vampire’s natural talents and gifts, there are some futuristic roles that the species would be ideally suited for.
For instance, one of the problems that most science fiction writers – and scientists, come to that – struggle to resolve is the fact that interplanetary space travel takes friggin’ forever. The nearest yellow star (which is like our sun) to the planet earth, Rigel, is 5.6 light years away. Even if a spaceship managed the almost impossible feat of reaching near light speed, it would still take six years to reach Rigel! And that’s just the nearest star.
Astromomical distances are…well, astromical. There’s a drawback, too. As the ship gets closer and closer to lightspeed, there are all sorts of nasty time dilations and quantum physics complications that passengers would suffer, including increased gravitational effects that would leave them as gelatinous smears upon the floor of the ship, if they didn’t have proper protection.
One of the theories that have been booted around for years among science fiction writers has been the idea of putting all the passengers asleep on one of these ships, and having computers do all the navigation, while the passengers went through an non-aging cryogenic sleep that protected them against gravitational surges. This was the theory used in the Alien movies, and Pitch Black. In both movie franchises, the computer-directed ship crashed while the passengers were in cryo-sleep, leaving them to deal with life-or-death situations upon wakening.
But here is the point I have been trying to (very slowly) get to: Vampires are long lived, if not immortal. If the ship travelled a little less slowly, so that the gravitational effects were not so severe, then the vampires could navigate, or supervise the computers, avoiding some of the fatal surprises that the passengers might otherwise land in.
Depending upon the special talents and abilities the vampires have, and the properties and culture of the fictional universe they’re in, vampires could find themselves in hot demand as pilots, navigators, outer-space workers and more. Out in deep space, the prejudice against vampires (if it exists) would be less than in the inner worlds closer to Earth.
But…there should also be drawbacks to being a vampire in the future, too. Just as vampires struggle in an all-too human world in the past and in contemporary times in our romances, they should also find life a challenge in the future, or our novels would be dull and boring.
It was this idea of drawbacks and challenges—limitations, if you will – that helped me shape the 23rd century world where my vampires struggle to find their place, in the Beloved Bloody Time series. In this series, vampires actually make really bad pilots because their physiologies simply don’t cooperate.
Instead, they’re forced to find another means of carving out a place for themselves amongst humans, and they find a most unlikely niche…as time travellers.