THE SCIENCE OF VAMPIRES

Katherine M. Ramsland, Author . Berkley Boulevard $12.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-18616-9

Biographer of Anne Rice and Dean Koontz, Ramsland (The Forensic Science of CSI) ranges over everything from quantum mechanics to feng shui in explaining the evolution of "a mostly fictional creature." Because every vampire television series, novel and role-playing game has created variations on exactly what a vampire is, Ramsland admittedly runs into some difficulty applying science to these "shapeshifters," making for some slippery discussions. For example, Ramsland reviews crime scene procedures or ponders such questions as whether vampires have a full range of bodily fluids with equal earnestness. In her quest for real-life vampires, she studies blood-drinking club goers who identify with the mysterious monsters but are not actual murderers, but also relates tales about serial killers such as Ted Bundy because they exhibit vampiric traits such as remorselessness and lust for destruction. The discussion of contemporary vampirism and its relationship to "goth" and bondage subcultures is informative, though the explanation of "psychic vampires" (those who manipulate others and feed off of their mental anguish) is less so. While this is not a scholarly book aimed at the scientific community, and it may not surprise Dracula devotees, it serves as a useful compendium of folklore and popular culture for those with a casual interest in vampires, a group whose membership regularly rises during the Halloween season. (Sept. 24)

Reviewed on: 09/09/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
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