The New Vampire's Handbook by The Vampire Miles Proctor
I shall start with a prediction. I will not become a vampire, for this imminent Hallowe'en, any festive fancy dress parties, or indeed for life as the lifeless undead. I will not need tips on filing my fangs, or how to divert attention from the fact I cannot eat human food at dinner parties. Me and my reflection in mirrors will remain intact. But for those of you reading this at night, somewhere, flameproof cape at hand, with your distaste of garlic, publicity and presumably the anaemic, this is the sterling how-to lifestyle guide.
|The New Vampire's Handbook by The Vampire Miles Proctor|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: As a comedy book, this is definitely more miss than hit, but it still serves as an absorbing, unreal guide to the undead.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: October 2009|
|Publisher: Square Peg|
This isn't exactly a sterling book for the rest of us. It certainly doesn't read like the comedic output of five people, writing as one. It is however a very finely sustained and fully comprehensive guide to modern vampire life. The ageless bloodsucker will remember centuries before psychotherapy, but now, it would appear, they still cannot use them. They might have the most raging guilt about using and abusing us mere mortals as sustenance, but the first session with a therapist has one obvious start - I'm a vampire... and one obvious end - a truth-hiding demise..
From the off, when we see the physical changes of a vampire's turn, we get a clue as to how detailed this book is. Everything down to the endocrine system is included in this vampire lore. Later us as bystanders learn what it is like for vampires to meet humans they knew decades ago, when they themselves haven't aged a jot, other vampires, and the humans that they would love and the idiotic fanatics that would love them.
We also learn the truth about Amelia Earhart. Oh, and why not to eat Bono. What more could one wish for?
Well, as I suggest, a lot more comedy, in among the fully reasoned detail. This is not to say this is a dry book. We get illustrations, photos, diagrams, box-outs, tips from our experienced guide galore, and the writing is fresh and perfectly readable. Neither is this a flashy and quick gimmick book. The font is a lot smaller than many humour titles this season, and this is a more substantial read as a result.
I enjoyed it as a what-if guide, and definitely appreciated the complex levels of thought behind so much that was creative here. I do think however there was more in the way of laughter to be gained - either by advancing the character of the 'author', or delving into a false history of vampires a la the Earhart instance. The line about there suspiciously not being a silver age around the time of iron and bronze was one of the best.
A slightly missed opportunity, then, but still a most educational read. Two stars for the comedy, four for the status as a well-put-together novelty book. I must thank the Square Peg people for my review copy.
Comedic vampires in fiction can be found in You Suck by Christopher Moore. Oh, and for more about Amelia Earhart have a look at Breathe the Sky: A Novel Inspired by the Life of Amelia Earhart by Chandra Prasad.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The New Vampire's Handbook by The Vampire Miles Proctor at Amazon.com.
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