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Vampires    by Joules Taylor order for
by Joules Taylor
Order:  USA  Can
Spruce, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Joules Taylor begins his Introduction to Vampires: 'Dark, brooding, and seductive, the image of the vampire haunts the modern consciousness, a temptation to give in to the darkness that dwells within us all. At its simplest, a vampire is a reanimated, soulless, dead human who must drink the blood of others to remain "alive". But the simplest answer hardly scratches the surface of what a vampire actually is.'

Taylor explores his nocturnal subject in four main sections: Vampires: Body and Soul; The Origins of Vampires; The Evolution of Vampires; and Vampires and Popular Culture. For those interested in pursuing the subject further, he ends with a Glossary, Bibliography, suggestions for Further Reading, and Other Resources. The volume is well illustrated (mainly in color) with photographs, and movie and TV series stills (for example from Twilight and Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Why do vampires fascinate us? According to Taylor, it's the appeal of the 'forbidden and the tragic', of the outcast, the ultimate predator. He distinguishes between mindless revenant and true vampire. He addresses aspects of vampire lifestyle; their relationships to humans; the issue of the soul; related conditions such as porphyria and Renfield Syndrome; their origins in world mythology; the evolution of the legend; and vampires in popular culture - role-playing games, television, literature, and movies.

Taylor's introduction informs us that Vampires 'is an attempt to explore the subject of vampirism, showing how it originated, what it has meant to us in centuries past, and what it has come to mean to us in the modern world.' His book does a fine job of presenting these dark creatures of the night.

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