jump to navigation


Posted by Administrator in : Politics , trackback

Wanna hear a writer’s worst nightmare?

One of them, anyway.

When I got up this morning I went directly to my desk in order to finish a book proposal I’ve basically been refining for about twenty years.

The novel that I ultimately came to call Sweeter Than Wine is about a young man who gets separated from his infantry unit shortly after D-Day and spends several weeks lying low in a wine cellar to avoid the Germans in small French town. The bad news — and the good news, as well — is that he isn’t alone. He soon discovers that he’s sharing his little hiding place with a gorgeous female fighter pilot connected with the Romanian government in exile. With all that wine, very little food, and the stimulus of shared danger, the inevitable happens.

And happens.

And happens.

Weeks later, when the Allies sweep the Germans from the town, his enamorata suddenly disappears, and our hero discovers that he can’t come out into the daylight. He’s caught the virus that is the cause of the syndrome everybody calls “vampirism”. Allowing himself to remain Missing in Action and presumed dead, he works his way back to the States, settles in Denver, and starts a new life — as a private detective.

The story proper begins 63 years later — or at least it would have, until I chanced to check out a new TV show being advertised for this fall that’s built on an almost identical premise. It’s extremely difficult to describe my feelings, reading about this coming TV series, especially since it’s the second time this has happened to me.


When I first conceived of what I call my “ethical vampire”, there had been no Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and therefore no Angel or Spike). There had been no Blade, no From Dusk Till Dawn, no John Carpenter’s Vampires. Ann Rice was around, but I hadn’t read her books.

But my agent at the time had me thoroughly typecast — in his mind — and he couldn’t be bothered to represent a vampire story created by a science fiction writer. I was busy with other projects, two or three years went by, and suddenly there was Forever Knight, a syndicated Canadian TV series about, what else, an ethical vampire. Although there were substantial differences between those stories and mine, I didn’t want to be accused of copying somebody else’s work. I shelved the project and forgot about it as a vampire renaissance swept the culture.


This time, I don’t plan to be swept — although it’s going to take a little energy to make it happen. In an attempt to get myself some representation again, I’ve wrote to hundreds of agents over the past several months, letting them know what kinds of projects I’m working on. I thought for a while that Sweeter Than Wine might become a graphic novel (what a swell one it would be) so I included it in the list.

One of those agents — supposedly one of the most respected in the business — wrote back that “vampires are apparently over-published right now”, and that in any event, he didn’t really want to work with me.

That put me in mind of the agent I mentioned earlier. My wife had written about one third of a swell novel that was way, way out at the edge of the envelope for its time. “Nobody,” my then-agent informed her loftily, “will be interested in reading a novel about a computer virus.” This is the same guy who, because of a single line in her book, declared that “nobody will remember Bernie Goetz five years from now.”

If you don’t know who he is, look him up.

One thing I know by now is that, whatever I write, it’ll turn out different than anything anybody else might write on the same topic. I could give ten writers one of my outlines, but only one story — mine — would be the L. Neil Smith story of the bunch. Given the nature of network television, whatever I write will almost certainly be better.

My story also has the advantage of not being part of a continuing series, so I can put my hero in danger and the reader won’t know if he’ll really survive. Something else: an editor at Ballantine Books once told me (and I have found myself guided by it ever since) that all truly great stories are love stories, one way or another. That’s something network television almost never gets right. They seem to have a morbidly pathological aversion to romantic love and stable marriage.

Of course this pesky new series could always do a flop in three or four episodes. Nobody in that business knows what they’re doing. Clearly television networks are run — and always have been — by a gaggle of blind, epileptic chimpanzees of the sort who cancelled the original Star Trek, discontinued Next Generation and Enterprise, substituted The Ghost Whimperer for Tru Calling, banished Alyson Hannigan to a grotesque situation comedy, and let Buffy slip through their comical monkey fingertoes to end its triumphal run on another network.

Whatever happens this time, I’ll send Sweeter Than Wine to my new agent, urging him to hawk it as if this new TV series never existed. It’ll make a good book, a better comic, and, given the copycat predilection of network TV, maybe competition for the new TV series.

Then it’ll be their turn to say “Arrrggghhh!”


1. Ron - June 19, 2007

LOL, know where you’re coming from, Neil! I’ve got a screenplay about an order of guardians who defend the world against supernatural invasion from werewolves (for the pilot), with possible series development. Everyone who’s seen it, likes it, but can’t find any ‘professionals’ who’ll even consider it!

2. Charlie Acker - June 19, 2007

The collective attention span of television schedulers seems to be about a minute and a half. This show could be canceled without even airing. Look at the program (I believe called “Drive”,) with Nathan Filion – I think that it was shown once. Before I even knew what night it was on — it was off. So it is entirely possible that no one will get to the the new show.

As you say, however, out of all the competing versions only the one with your name on it will be the Smith version.

3. Per Bylund - June 19, 2007

Uhm, wouldn’t you say Thomas Sipos’ Vampire Nation builds on the same idea? It too is about vampirism being a disease and that it has spread throughout the “Eastern Bloc” and that it is vampirism that is the cause of hierarchical socialism.

You should check it out.

4. Pat Hartman - June 19, 2007

Hi Neil,

If I only had the opportunity to read one of your columns in a year, I’d be glad this is the one. Thanks for sharing such intimate writerly details.

A weird thing happens when an original idea manifests itself. If the first instance of it catches on, then the next few are disparaged as being copycats. But then when even MORE writers treat the subject, all of a sudden it’s a genre, and respectable all over again.

best of all possible regards,

5. Dick Anderson - June 19, 2007

Neil, why don’t you write a book about vampire publishers? I wrote a book on job-hunting once that had, I thought, excellent representation. Not only did I not get published, every one of my proven ideas wound up in other people’s subsequent books the next year – courtesy of the publishers who read my book submitted by my agent, but couldn’t seem to accept the “over-published material.” Both my agent and I were very disappointed. Legal remedies? South Carolina is filled with lawyers who spend most of their time avoiding conflict.

6. Ward Griffiths - June 19, 2007

While the movies were in the distant future, the Blade character first appeared in Marvel’s “Tomb of Dracula” comic series about 1972.

Of course, my favorite vampire stories to date are Fred Saberhagen’s Dracula novels starting with _The Dracula Tape_ and _The Holmes-Dracula File_ in the second half of the 70s.

7. don wilson - June 19, 2007

i like your books so far and i bet all the unwritten and unpublished ones are just as good if you are looking for ideas and even if you are not one of the many unwritten books I would be very interested in reading
would include the original movement for rights in england ( a history of how the magna carta came about through force of arms)
but mabye we could kill the king this time(just hoping)
you could include an vampire of whatever ethics you wish etc(mabye the king with a stake in his heart)
possibly you could link it to modern times and bring in mr bush an extended member of the british royalty

8. E.J. Totty - June 19, 2007


Have you ever gotten the impression that your agents are stealing your work, and giving it to others?

They know what you expect in remuneration.
If they pull the CIA stunt of ‘decent interval’ and wait until you’ve walked away, and then go to another ‘author’ who they know will work for less, they’ve got a deal cinched.

For me, what you’ve described is just too coincidental to have happened that many times.
Somebody somewhere is keeping storylines from authors, and thumbing through them for possible uses later, and ‘selling’ them to their ‘stable authors.’
But proving such a thing would be a monumental task.

The biggest problem is see with literary authors, is that their works aren’t protected until published, as opposed to songwriters, whose works are many times protected prior to being sold.

Just a thought.


9. Curt Howland - June 19, 2007

I thought publishers were supposed to try to get books published? In order to make money?

10. al perez - June 19, 2007

l. Neil, When the book finds a home and you reap your profit, that revenge will be sweeter than wine. Never said I was a Good Christian. Getting even is fun. having the universe collect for you is even more fun, and proves you were right!
Curt , remember that Heinlein was forced to change publishers over Starship Troopers, the fools thought it wouldn’t sell. Unfortunately too many publishers lack the ability to recognize which books will sell for a variety of reasons (ideological bias, lack of taste, inability to appreciate the people’s taste, etc.)

11. Administrator - June 19, 2007

….Ward, the fact is that I didn’t read comic books at all after grade school. I still don’t, much, even though I write them now. So, no, I didn’t know about Blade or Hellboy or any of the other larval movies that were out there.

12. Eric Oppen - June 19, 2007

I know how it goes to have an idea, put it aside, and then see someone else going with it.

13. Anders Monsen - June 19, 2007

Vampire stories were huge in the late 1970s or early 1980s when I read Interview with a Vampire (Rice), Salem’s Lot (Stephen King), and They Thirst (Robert McCammon), all probably within the same year or so. I don’t know if James Herbert’s The Rats also qualifies, but none of these books seem to fall into the same exact mode as Sweeter Than Wine.

14. Enemyofthestate - June 19, 2007

Sounds like you’re talking about “Moonlight”.

The supernatural is big right now. Maybe you’ll do as good as Butcher did with the Dresden Files. The idea of vampirism as a STD is different…

15. Al Perez - June 19, 2007

Maybe I’m just too inclined to brainstorm but,,,
Comics/ graphic novels are acceptable story boards for movies. Maybe if John Milius and or John Corman could see samples from The Probability Broach or Roswell, Texas they might be interested in making one or the other (maybe even both) into a movie (Hey isn’t this the idea of the stream I started corresponding to this blog on?). Even if it’s a TV movie on SciFi Channel, with unexpuegated and expurgated DVD versions, of course, that gets the attention of Studio and Publishing house execs and a lot of your stuff gets (re)printed and or made into movies.
If TV show/ Movies can block or delay publishing your work maybe you can turn it around and use TV/Movies to get people to buy your books.
who knows, maybe Lucas will decide to work your Lando Calarissian books into movies and introduce you to a whole new generation and market of fans.

16. Dave - June 20, 2007

Screw the studios, publishers and all that. Publish it yourself directly to the people you want to reach. Us, your slavish fan-base. say nickel a page……. times Xthousand fans? Why not make an internet version TV style show. I could probably find all kinds of talent for either an animated production or a combo live action/animated version of TPB or Roswell Texas. BTW when will we see Bubba Singh again?

“Shotgun Wedding”

17. al perez - June 20, 2007

Somehow managed to combine John Cameron and Roger Corman into one name. that’ll teach me to multi task and try typing when I’m a couple of hours short on sleep.
Got lessons on assertiveness from overly affectionate pit bull. Critters are as agressive displaying affection to humans they like as attacking other animals, maybeso more so.
Definitely taught me to go after things full blast, only holding back to gain better angle to approach goal.

18. Pete Nofel - June 20, 2007

I’m reluctant to say this since you’ve published a gaggle of novels and short stories while I collect rejection letters, but our minds think alike. I’ve been working on an ethical vampire/PI story, too. Mine differs from “Sweeter than Wine,” but what are the odds?

Good luck on “Sweeter . . .” as well as finding an agent. I can’t believe anyone with a track record like yours would have a problem. I must attribute it to “blind pig ignorance,” to quote Monty Python.

BTW, by comparing TV people to chimps, you’re insulting chimps.

19. al perez - June 21, 2007

“Captain Kirk may be … but hes not soft.”
“L. Neil Smith may be …. but he’s not bland.”

I have not seen the TV show that Vamped you yet, nor have I read Sweeter than Wine. I predict that the former will express politcally correct sentiments thast offend neither left nor right too badly, somewhat along the line of both Lilo and Stitch and Blackhawk Down having the point “No one get’s left behind.” i assume Sweeter than Wine will express libertarian ideals that core fan’s find edifying and other people need to think about. definitely not bland.
We deserve a vampire novel that expresses our ideals. Vampire fans deserve and need a novel that expresses libertarian ideals. somehere there has to be a publisher who realizes he can profit providing what we deserve

20. Administrator - June 21, 2007

….You folks are all so kind. If the character of one’s readers were the sole measure of an author’s success, I’d be bigger than Stephen King, Dan Brown, and Tom Clancy rolled together (and isn’t that a horrifying mental picture?).

….I didn’t mean to be too obscure about the coming TV program. I was just irked, as I’m sure I conveyed in my little essay. The item is to be called _Moonlight_ and there’s something else coming, too, about an immortal of some kind. Can’t remember the name.

….I never intended _Sweeter Than Wine_ (original working title, _Blood Barrier_) to be a libertarian polemic, but I’m satisfied that, having been a part of the movement and philosophy since I was 15, that there’s no way it couldn’t be thoroughly saturated with those qualities.

….What I really wanted to do was place an ordinary guy, Jace Gifford, in an extraordinary situation (kind of like Heinlein did with Oscar Gordon in _Glory Road_) and show the common sense ways that he deals with it.

….Just for fun, I wanted to show him never quite on the leading edge, technologically. Every time he turns around, it seems there are new guns, new ammunition, new cars, new computer technology, and so on, and he can never quite catch up. He has the problem many of us are experiencing now, that the older we get, the quicker time seems to pass. (I believe a whole new psychotherapeutic industry could be founded on correcting that syndrome, and in fact hinted at it in _The American Zone_.)

….I also want _STW_ to be the most poignant and powerful love story I ever wrote. (Although I’ll try hard to top it in _Beautiful Dreamer.) Everybody’s going to love — and want — Surica, my little Romanian fighter pilot. She was born on the border of Romania and Serbia in 1711.

….And, as always, I’m going to strive to make Richard Francis Xopher the most evil, detestable, charming, and attractive villain ever. An editor of mine habitually accused me of writing cardboard villains — that’s what he said about Senator Altman in _Pallas — although I believe he was dead wrong (I’ll write an essay about it sometime). I want this villain to be someone that makes even that editor shudder when he thinks of him.

….Horrible truth is, I have several books I can’t wait to write, and dozens of characters screaming to be born. I’m doing everything I can to make that happen.

21. Eric Oppen - June 21, 2007

I always wanted to write a vampire story showing the vampire(s) using their heads—for example, if they’re traveling, using pickup trucks with covered beds for their vehicles, and sleeping in the back during the hours of daylight.

But then, there’s lots of things in _Dracula_ that Do Not Make Any Sense—why would Dracula send his earth boxes, and himself, to Britain by _ship,_ with all the perils and inconveniences of that, when he could ship them from Transylvania to London almost entirely by land, with just a short hop across the Channel to worry about?

22. Al Perez - June 22, 2007

Overland Vlad Dracul woud have had to deal with Romanian, Austrohungarian, and French customs, at the very least. That’s assuming decent roads and railroads. All this was very iffy in 19th Century Europe. We can assume he had spent time since 1500′s corrupting Balkan ( i.e. local) officials to facilitate his passage.
Have spent much time riding in bed of pickup trucks. No sensible vampire would choose one for his bed. Mythology indicates that vamps value their comfort.

23. Administrator - June 22, 2007

….Well, Joss Whedon’s vampires — Angel and Spike — were often smart and thought things through. Nick Knight, too, although he could never stop drinking soon enough to let his victim live, even when it was important. Deacon Frost and other vampires in _Blade_ were pretty bright, too — I remember one of them discussing their investment portfolio at a board of directors’ meeting.

…. My only acquaintance with Ann Rice’s vampires is from the movie _Interview with the Vampire_, and they were all such drama queens you couldn’t tell how smart they were.

….Probably the best were the vampires in _Underworld_ and its sequel. They had a globe-spanning culture that had lasted for centuries. They had developed synthetic blood. And they had a system by which their leaders “leapfrogged” through time, with two of them “sleeping” and one active and ruling, by turns.

….One problem I’ve always wondered about: I’ve known Asians who don’t like Asian food; I’ve known Mexicans who don’t like Mexican food. But there are alternatives for them. What if a vampire doesn’t like blood?

….”Now be a good boy and drink your supper, Herstal, or I won’t let you play with your spiders.”

…”Aw, ma!”

24. Roberta J. Barmore - June 22, 2007

A vampire who dislikes the tatst of blood? There’s a William Tenn story in there, or almost, the title of which escapes me, which concerns (amidst a fine love story and a Horror Mystery) the response of a practical country doctor to a local young swain who discovers his lady-love is among the Undead.

…Of course, the other thing that’s in there is an Ayn Rand meets Ann Rice novel (burst of gamma radiation ensues): a vampire that loathes blood is…umm, anti-life? Anti-undead? The mind boggles.

In re Ms. Rice’s vampires: Having lived many years downtown at the edge of the demi-monde and worked late shifts at the time, I’m convinced the basic model she builds from is gay/lesbian folks, especially nightclub/nightlife subset thereof. Consider: a hidden underworld of desire and quick, furtive consummation, excessive stylishness (and stylish excess), avoidance of the daylight and of mundane life, etc., etc. It’s a cute shortcut but gets old quick. John Rechy (“City of Night”) does the same thing better — and without vampires.

‘Druther read Sweeter Than Wine, myself.

25. Eric Oppen - June 22, 2007

In Barbara Hambly’s books _Those Who Hunt the Night_ and _Travels With The Dead,_ vampires get very “sot in their ways”—IOW, an Elizabethan-era Englishman who’s been vamped (the leader of the London vampires, in this book) still thinks in many ways like an Elizabethan-era Englishman, and when he’s angry or upset, his accent and vocabulary slips back to Shakespearean English. The main vampire “hero” is a Spaniard who came to England in the train of King Philip—and even after literal centuries in London, he says that he was reluctant to hire the human hero _because he was a Protestant._ This could lead to all sorts of problems for any very long-lived character, vampire or human. Heckydarn, _I_ sometimes find myself reacting negatively to modern popular culture (rap, hip-hop in general, and piercings) and then I catch myself and say “Oh, my God, I’m turning into my parents!” *grin*

26. Al Perez - June 23, 2007

Rap’s not too bad. The Illiad and The Odyssey were essentially raps and The Raven was written in the favorite rap beat, trochaic tetrameter. It’s late Sixties bubble gum that get’s to me. Can you imagine the last thing you hear before the vamp sinks his fangs in being his humming “Sugar, Sugar”? The horror, the horror.

27. Al Perez - June 24, 2007

Totally off topic. Currently drawing up shopping list for next paycheck/ summer school pay. Is there currently any address and procedure to purchase and download unexpurgated version of Tom Paine Maru? What is price if site up?
More on topic, how many pledged purchases of Sweeter Than Wine or any of your other works would itake to get publishers to print or make available on line the way Baen does? you’ve got my pledge for one hb and one pb version of STW and anything new coming out both print and graphic (OK so I might have to spread the actual purchases out if publishers decide to have L, Neil Smith revival in August but they’re guaranteed).

28. Dan L. Hollifield - June 25, 2007

Er… P.N. Elrod’s ethical vampire detective series is pretty good as well. But I wouldn’t think that Neil had copied her work if STW appeared on bookstore shelves. Pat’s series is classic detective noir, but the detective only *happens* to be a vampire. I think there wouldn’t be anything but superficial simularities wo Neil’s proposed story. I’d say, write the bugger anyway and let the fans enjoy another L. Neil Smith blockbuster.

Just my two cents worth, as always.

Oh, got my copy of American Zone right after I wrote the review for TPB:TGN. Read it in roughly 14 hours, loved it, will review it for the August issue of Aphelion Webzine. (I’d of had the review in the July Aphelion, but my office here at home suffered from a little fire two weeks ago and I’ve been offline since then. No injuries, not much property damage except for some musical equipment and some of my artwork, and the repairs are in progress. I’ll be suffering from limited online access for another week or so until I can get the office reconstruction finished and the home LAN back running again. I hate using this old computer set-up in the living room, but WTF. My wife, my dog, and I are alive, my home is merely smoke damaged but still livable, and 75% of the repairs are already finished. Dealing with insurance folks is a pain, albeit a minor one. Rather that than any of the alternatives.)


29. Lawhobbit - June 29, 2007

Roberta – you mean there is actually someone else out there who knows William Tenn? I took a class from him (no pun intended) at Penn State back in ’79 or so and it was much fun….

30. al perez - June 30, 2007

Going back to Eric Oppen’s comment that vampire’s tend to be conservative, I hope he’s wrong. With human’s living longer and staying healthier longer, I may live long enough to learn how to write decent fiction, for example, it would be aan incredible shame if our learning curve shuts down. can you imagine (apologies to female readers) a person exposed to World War II anti Asian propaganda (yeah, I know it was aimed at the Japanese, but it got applied to Chinese and other East and Southeast Asians in practice) too busy despising Vanessa Mae for her Asian appearance to appreciate the beauty of her music or her physical appearance?
The world is just so much more fun now if you’re willing to ride with the wave of change. What’s the point of living long enough to see how the world changes if you can’t enjoy the change? Anyhow that’s what Heinlein taught me.

31. Lawhobbit - July 3, 2007

Sorry, Al, but in my experience older people are almost universally more conservative. Semi-immortal vampires would only carry that to an even higher extreme.

32. Neil - July 3, 2007

….Regrettably, I qualify as an older person, Tommy, and I can assure you of two things. First, the typical older person’s outward conservatism has more to do with their body’s gradual disintegration than with anything else. I have to fight the inclination constantly to walk and talk like an old man. I hate it.
….Second, I disprove your thesis. I am more radical, less conservative than the vast majority of people I know who are younger than I am. This is a constant source of bewilderment and disappointment to me. I expected those who come after me to stand on my shoulders just as I stood on the shoulders of those — like Heinlein or Rothbard — who came before.
….So there, nyahhh.

33. al perez - July 3, 2007

I really realy hope L. Neil is right. The cumulative strip tease represented by American women’s fashions combined with the cooler summers and warmer winters we’ve enjoyed these last few years (at least in mty little corner of heaven) seem to be leave us headed to the clothing style featured by the Marswomen in Roswell, Texas. The idea of being an old fuddy duddy incapable of enjoying the floorshow, or new ice cream flavors or jokes or science fiction or tobacco flavors ( I only smoke about four cigars or bowls of tobacco a year, six at most, I bloody well better have tasty tobacco!!) depresses me more than my Jeffersonesque money problems. Hope y’all enjoyed the Second, have a great Fourth.

34. Donald Qualls - July 5, 2007

My Second was pretty boring, spent most of it job hunting. My Fourth was pretty good, except for the sunburn (and that was mild, not a major addition to my cumulative skin cancer risk).

For whatever it’s worth, I agree with Neil; I can see age fifty without my glasses (and I’m nearsighted), and most of my “conservatism” in terms of being less open to change and new things is due to things like bad teeth, arthritis, and diabetes — the infirmities that come from living longer than humans are evolved to do. OTOH, I can get my teeth fixed (and hopefully will, very soon), still control my diabetes with diet (five years from diagnosis and counting), and within the past year I’ve started processing my own color film (almost forty years since I learned to develop black and white), been shooting photos for a local newspaper, and am slowly working my way toward a goal of actually earning money with photography.

Given the condition my parents are in, compared to where their parents were at their age, I have every reason to expect to still be working for a living in another thirty-five to forty years, and hopefully I’ll still be capable of enjoying life. I’ll probably still prefer vanilla ice cream, though…

35. Ward Griffiths - July 5, 2007

I realized that I was extremely conservative while I was still in my 30s. When I was growing up, the standards were (1) long hair and beards on men, (2) a certain amount of flexibility in intimate relationships, and (3) Smash the State. Now into my 50s, I continue to hold those values.

36. al perez - July 6, 2007

Why bother smashing State? Jerks in Congress doing good enough job on their own, que no? better to spend time preparing for stateless society, or failing that, state more tightly bound to respect/protect the rights we’re born with for the next ten generations or so.
Regardless be sure to have fun in process. I swear the main thing that killed communism is that too many of its adherents didn’t know hoew to have fun. Contrariwise, TR who tried to balance corporate tyranny with State tyranny had fun and created a little maneuver room to hang on to freedom if you’re willing to work at it. Notice his system and ones based on it actually survive.
Let us giggle our way to victory. (sun struck mania kicking in, alert, alert!!)

37. Lawhobbit - July 6, 2007

Neil, Neil, Neil, ya gotta make sure you read all those lawyerly equivocations in my comments! Words like “almost.” Being an exception that proves the rule does not necessarily make the rule invalid.

More importantly – what is more “conservative” than wanting to go back to a political life of two centuries ago? You’re an epitome of conservatism and it’s not your fault that the word, like “liberal,” has acquired a taint about it lately… ;-)

38. al perez - July 6, 2007

Remember there is a difference between being consevative politically and conservative in tastes. My favorite English language secular song is Barbara Allen.
Does that mean i can’t appreciate Tears on My Guitar?
Besides liberal and conservative politically are false distinctions. Authoritarian and libertarian are more exact.

39. Lawhobbit - July 6, 2007

Conservative is conservative. It’s actually an adjective, though, and that’s kind of what gets forgotten when it’s slapped on something as a label.

Thus you can have a conservative libertarian and a liberal libertarian. Or a conservative authoritarian or liberal authoritarian.

40. Al Perez - July 6, 2007

Touche, compadre! indeed they are adjectives.
What must really sour a vampire, or other long lived being is the feeling of “Deja vu all over again.” The swing between puritanism and hedonism, miserliness and generosity in a culture must become all too familiar. It’s like Kirk’s experience in the war between half black half white and half white half black in Star Trek.
do they become pessimists who see the glass as half full of blood or optimists who see it half full?
Me, I think the glass is only half empty. So much left to enjoy!!!

41. Lawhobbit - July 7, 2007

Pfff….you don’t need to be an immortal vampire to have that deja vu feeling – a couple of degrees in history and sociology are sufficient! :D

42. al perez - July 7, 2007

Too few people bother to learn history or sociology. Besides still begs question, does this experience lead to pessimism (When will they ever learn?) or optimism( Yeah this is bad but back in 1913 , let me tell you…)
So is the glass at least half full or only half full for the drac pack?

43. Lawhobbit - July 8, 2007

I think it would depend on their individual personalities and experiences, much as with any other person. I suspect it would drift into a sort of “here the hairless apes go again” attitude, but whether that resulted in a shake the head pessimism or amused optimism would depend.

I’d suspect you might also see factions developing between groups who wanted to help “guide” the breathing into a better life and those who’d prefer that they stay as semi-barbarians so as to make for easier dinners. Some of that might depend on whether they needed human blood to survive or – a la Saberhagen – any blood would do, but human was the creme de la creme of yumminess.

44. al perez - July 11, 2007

Can no longer restrain my self.
What is the difference between a Congresscritter and a vampire?
Answer: One is a conscienceless monster who lives by sucking the blood of innocents.
Vampires are the unfortunate victims of demonic possession.

45. Kevin Sarles - July 11, 2007

‘Sweeter Than Wine’ sounds like a book that belongs in my personal library. Feel free to forward this post to any publisher or any other entity that will help get it in print.

I guarantee that, if (when) this book is published, I WILL purchase, and recommend that others do the same, this title.

46. al perez - July 12, 2007

Star TrekTNG died out because the writers claim they had used up all their ideas so they simply moved on to Deep Space Nine and Voyager, which ended because they were silly enough to create finite story time lines (War with Delta Quadrant shape Shifters, desperation to get back to Earth.). Enterprise was given the shaft by being put up against SciFi Channel’s StarGate/ Galactica line up.
Star Trek (Original and spin offs) is a pretty dream and worth working for. Unfortunately it seems to many people don’t want pretty dreams or to work for pretty dreams this decade.
Me I like dreams and it’s fun working for them to come true. And I’m sure most of those reading this feel the same. I guess it’s time to teach our brethren and sistren how to dream again and how much fun making dreams become real can be.

47. Administrator - July 15, 2007

….For me, _Star Trek_ has been a guilty pleasure, since it chronicles the adventures of the minions of an interstellar empire (rather like the American Empire we’re living in today) that doesn’t have the _cojones_ to call itself an empire.

….That may be why the glimpses we get in TOS, DS9, and _Enterprise_, of an alternative Federation that is a full, frontal despotism (instead of a galactic nanny state) seem so refreshing.

48. Ward Griffiths - July 18, 2007

I’ve always felt that ST:TOS et seq. was approved Federation propaganda and that “Blake’s 7″ was a more accurate portrayal of actual Federation policy.

49. Neil - July 18, 2007

….If the unauthorized novel _The Black Ship_ ever gets written, Ward, that’s exactly what I’ve always planned for it to say — at least regarding TOS — that the episodes were all historical “reenactments” gussied up for public consumption.

50. Ward Griffiths - July 18, 2007

I still can’t understand how Victor Milan slipped his _From the Depths_ past John Ordover (one of the most liberal and I don’t mean it in a good way jerks I’ve ever met) and the other powers at Pocket Books and Paramount. Neither can Vic, from my vague recollection of our drunken conversation at LFScon. Somebody was definitely asleep at the wheel when that one got approved. Explicitly libertarian (discordian, even).

51. al perez - July 19, 2007

I still say the episode of ST: TNG in which the Borg Hugh discovers his individuality dovetails so well into Anthem.
English and literature teachers reading this take note.
I find it disturbing that so many “evil twin” characters, for example, evil Willow in Buffy and evil Kyra Norees (okay, I’m sure I misspelled that) are more comfortable in their skins than their good selves. It makes me wonder about the mindset of their creators, especially since these guys seem to be promoters of benevolent statism. Note that these characters are definite “tops” who intend to make everyone their “bottoms” and it gets truly scary.
Democratic Good is neurotic, dictatorial evil is liberating? Le Vey and Himmler would love it.

52. Roberta J. Barmore - July 28, 2007

Lawhobbit: noticed late your William Tenn experience! Very fine to have had him as a prof; you were fortunate.

Tenn is another of the excellent “midlist” SF writers who gets overlooked; and (whaaaat a co-inky-dink!) his work often carries anti-authoritarian messages. Who’d'a thunk?