Angstalicious Vampire Love

Back when I was still in high school, a friend of mine found a piece of lined paper lying next to his desk. It looked like the discarded first page of a prospective short story written by one of our schoolmates. Here’s my attempt at reconstructing the first paragraph from memory:

“Don’t you understand? I’m half-demon! That means I can never love!” he said as he cut her head off.

Sound awesome? Well then you’re going to love post-Harry Potter YA fantasy, where the most popular series is apparently something called Twilight.

There’s been a lot of ink spilled over the series’ apparent sexist undertones (see above), but there’s something else I find really grating about the whole thing: Do we really need more fiction about mortal girls falling in love with vampires? We’re talking a subgenre that’s even more overexposed than “Humble farmboy goes on epic journey to defeat the evil empire” here. Another breathless series about hunky vampires and the Mary Sues that love them is the product of nothing less than total creative bankruptcy.

Teaching teenage girls that “a good heroine is uninteresting, chaste, and submissive” is bad. But so is teaching them that fiction has to be dull and formulaic, and is best used as a mind-numbing substitute for morphine. That’s not to hate on escapism – I think escapism is great. But a bare minimum, it needs some kind of imaginative spark to avoid sucking.

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