There are far too many vampire / werewolf / fey / hunter books, and even series of books, set in the modern world which all follow the same basic concepts and plots. Hamilton has spawned an entire genre. From the blurbs on Amazon, the vast majority of them seem to have been written by Mills & Boon writers looking for a new market. I've a read a few, and I can enjoy them, but there is a certain sameness amongst them. The sort of sameness that makes me want to say "I can do this so much better!
Much as certain friends used to bemoan vampire LARPs for largely ignoring the "personal horror" aspects, these books are generally similar. Sometimes people get hurt, but not often people you care about, and invariably the protagonists seem to exist in an environment where the results of their actions do not hugely affect the modern world they live in. At least Hamilton tries to deal with some of that, in the case of the fey books she writes, the politics of "coming out:" are a large part of the plot. But even she does not often look at the affects of this on the world itself. Many of the authors don't set their books in a truly real
modern world, it's like a sort of time-frozen 1950's, with a Simak-like naivety, in terms of information dispersal and governmental control. None of them have really understood what the effect of the internet, the war on terror, and modern media dispersal techniques on "creatures of the night" would be.
I have yet to see anyone mention anarchic vampires posting videos of their latest bloodbath on You-Tube, or the cell-phone video coverage of the results of a werewolf combat appearing on Reuters. You can say what you like about old vampires controlling things and supernatural creatures not appearing on camera, but there is collateral damage that is enough to make people sit up and take notice, and no political or economic control could keep control of distribution of You-Tube or similar videos . Except, recently, the sort of action Pakistan took in trying to block You-Tube, which caused disruption worldwide. And there you have the main issue. To prevent such stuff coming out you would have to do something that would in itself become even more newsworthy, like Pakistan's action. Hmm, wasn't Ravnos somewhere over there...
I feel that the only way such creatures could remain hidden in a modern world would be by some global magical affect, designed specifically to ensure that humans didn't notice even the results
of their actions. But then reality would begin to diverge massively from human-perceived reality. Humans would be operating in a world where the fact that the mall they're walking through was torn up by werewolves was not visible to them. For those that have seen X
, imagine if the damage inside the the barriers was real, and humans just couldn't see it. The X
solution is another neat way of hiding stuff but one has to add significantly to the powers of individual supernaturals to use that explanation.
Would this dissonance between reality and the human perception drive them mad, or would they, or the supernaturals themselves, begin to come up with ways of incorporating the unseeable damage into human-perceived reality, such as by inventing terrorist attacks. And what of the human collateral damage? People forgetting family members because they died in a werewolf attack. Imagine if you somehow broke the spell, perhaps your twin died and there was wolf blood in your veins. Suddenly once-familiar landmarks appear destroyed, and yet no-one else appears to notice the rubble they are walking amongst. And your parents haven't noticed your twin is dead. In fact, they don't seem to believe he ever existed. Is this the ultimate paranoid fantasy?
Which also led me to thinking, in a Culture-like environment (or Edenist for that matter) there would no longer be that feeling of creatures hiding on the edge of the night, that just might
be there, even if it made no real sense, because you'd know that the AI running the systems would see all, and act to prevent the creatures from harming it's charges. Or would it? What if the AI was the means by which they hid? People trust the AI so subverting it leads people to question their own senses rather than the AI's statements. Was the AI subverted during construction? Is the first Edenist construct in fact a sanctuary for vampires?
Or is the AI unable to break the aforementioned spell, and is slowly building up a list of discrepancies that don't fit? Or is the AI the one who has broken the spell, the spell not working on intelligences of a sort that did not exist when the spell was created, and the AI is waging it's own private war on the supernaturals, hampered by the fact that it is unable to get the humans to directly assist or even acknowledge that there is a problem...
Some must have done nano-tech supernaturals by now, surely? I mean if ever there was a "scientific" way of explaining vampire, werewolf or Jekyll&Hyde transmogrifications, nano-tech driven body-morphing templates are it. Which brings me back to an idea i have long held, clasped like a Peter Pan fairy in a secret place, triggered years ago by a line in Clarke's Childhood's End
What if all our fears of supernaturals, all our stories and myths and legends of gods and demons and faeries are not, as anthropologists explain, attempts by primitive men to explain things they didn't understand? What if they are not primeval fears from the past, but premonitions of the future? Is some post-singularity human is trying to send information back through the time-stream, a la Terrminator
, but more believable, to warn us of the final result of our future technological advances, but has instead merely the seeded the ideas that will grow in to reality. Post-singularity and cyber-punk fiction is already full of things taking on the persona's of demons and creatures in order to ellicit the desired responses from humans.
Even if it is not premonition, we shape our future by our present fiction and fears. When it becomes possible for someone to replicate vampire or werewolf physical capabilities, it's a pretty safe bet that someone will want to do it. Superheroes too. The future becomes a valhalla of fictional heroes.
Mind-wandering speculation brought to you by a lazy, damp, Satyrday morning, and belated birthday wishes to lamprey
and his twin, thinking of whom inspired some of the above thoughts.