Rhea Myers

Werewolf Fiction. You're doing it wrong.

Werewolf fiction lacks the confidence of Vampire fiction. Vampire fiction is novel, reflexive, indexical, and complete. It is novel because vampirism is unprecendented in both the social and personal realities of its characters. It is reflexive because it is about the condition of vampirism qua vampirism as its subject. It is indexical because the condition of vampirism is used allegorically or metaphorically to animate contemporary concerns and to illustrate the human condition. And it is complete because no other themes or macguffins are used to make up for the perceived deficiencies of the form.

“Dracula” and “Interview With The Vampire” are the two high points of popular vampire fiction. The former takes the stuff of penny dreadfuls and distant folk superstition as the absent core of a clash between modernity and superstition that animates the hypocrisy and shear of Victorian society. The latter ironises the displaced catholic theatrics of an exhausted cinematic form into a tale of the betrayal of promise and an illustration of the price of the impossible that does not require its reader to have an immortal soul to lose in order for it to terrify them.

There is very little werewolf fiction that is novel, reflexive, indexical, and complete. I do not know why this is. Werewolfery can be an ironic symbol of many key elements of the human condition and of their postmodern situation. Take out the witches and faeries, the police procedural and the pack dynamics, the hunters and the soap opera and lycanthropy can be a prism rather than ballast.