by Joe Garden, Anita Serwacki, Janet Ginsburg, Chris Pauls, and Scott Sherman
A sure sign that Christmas is coming – novelty adult stocking filler books begin to dominate the shelves of your local book megastore. Which explains the existence of The New Vampire’s Handbook. It’s one of those books that come just in time for Christmas; mildly diverting, topical and marketed for whatever trend has been identified as hot this year.
This is just the sort of book that you’ll think about getting for that difficult to buy for uncle who you happen to know rather likes all that vampire stuff. Unwrapped on Christmas morning, it will lie on the coffee table for days alongside this years QI book and something by Ricky Gervais until, rooted to the sofa by too much turkey/alcohol/chocolate, they will pick it up, half-heartedly read it and then shelve it, never to be read again. Expect to see it populating charity shop shelves from January.
From the press blurb:
In today’s world of vampire-obsessed pop culture, misinformation abounds. A newly turned vampire who looks to movies and novels for answers to everlasting life’s questions will inevitably be reduced to a smoldering pile of dust. So whom can you, a neophyte immortal, trust to provide reliable information and proven strategies for leading your best and bloodiest existence? The Vampire Miles Proctor, editor of The New Vampire’s Handbook. In this definitive guide, the newly turned will find:
- a head-to-toe look at your vampiric body: how to harness your new powers to dispatch mortal enemies, maintain your fangs, and embrace your vampirosexuality
- methods for luring prey, faking your way through meals, approaching other vampires, and creating a four-hundred-year financial plan
- tips on acting your “age,” behaving appropriately if you see a human you knew decades ago, and dealing with epic vampire feuds
- essential advice for blending in with the masses, from finding a coven to avoiding the media (and mirrors) to staying on top of the latest fashion trends
- the joy of scrapbooking
Cheap, exploitative cash-in? Of course. But what else is Christmas about if it isn’t about spending ridiculous amounts of money of presents for people that they’ll never really bother with and certainly don’t need?
Anyway, The New Vampire’s Handbook is just the sort of book you expect it to be, seeing as it’s written by some of the folks behind the Onion and The Daily Show. A tongue in cheek look at what it is to be a vampire, the new day to day (or night to night even) problems you will face as one of the vampiric undead.
Except it’s perhaps not as funny as you may have expected. Which rather surprised me. I was hoping it would at least make me laugh and smile a fair few times but there were whole sections at the start where, if I didn’t know from the press release and the authors backgrounds, Id be struggling to think of this as anything more than a semi-serious Twilight cash-in. I know that they’re obviously trying to go for a deadpan sense of humour thing here, reflecting and satirising the super-seriousness of Vampire culture, but deadpan humour still needs some humour in there to make it work. And there didn’t seem too much of it in the early chapters.
It does get better as you get further into the book, perhaps the writers were settling into character, perhaps I was just a little less picky, perhaps both of us had consumed more alcohol by this point, who knows. There were smiles, there was even the occasional giggle. But it’s still no more than a moderately funny stocking filler for the Twilight / True Blood / (insert generic vampire based pop culture reference here) generation.
Richard Bruton nails up wild garlic to his front door every night before retiring (and Wolfsbane on full moons)