Gothtopia was born as a Rocks Off staple when your humble narrator took it upon himself to seek out the ultimate vampire anthem after attending a book signing/Q&A by Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. Since then we have spent every season of True Blood exploring the fantastic songs that Alan Ball uses on the soundtrack.
Well, the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel has just been released, and a new season of True Blood is right around the corner. Since Gothtopia more or less owes its existence to the vampiric works of Harris, we thought it only appropriate we allow the Gothic Council to weigh in on the Southern Vampire Mysteries once and for all.
Lynda Rouner: The Southern Vampire was a favorite of mine years before True Blood premiered. I remember being really disappointed in 2007 when the Writers' Strike came, because the announcement about the TV series and pictures of the sets being built had been on Charlaine Harris' Web site for months.
What had also been on that website was the statement that, although the TV series would be based on the books, it would definitely be "its own entity." I thought that was a good idea because, although I love the books, print and television are two totally forms of media, and what is plausible for one is not true for the other.
Ultimately, I prefer the books to the show, but the show is still very good, and quite well written. There are, however, some things that I do prefer about the show. Tara is a much more interesting character in True Blood, as is Bill.
I also think the show is really helped by the fact that Alan Ball created the show after being a fan of the books. You can really tell this in how close some of the sets are to their descriptions in the books, particularly Sookie's house.
There is one thing that is really bad about the show, and that, of course is the absence of the vampire Elvis, Bubba. Alan Ball, if you're reading this, please bring Bubba to True Blood!
Sarah Hill: When are going to let go of the vampire crap already? I've never seen any sexy ghost novels. What the hell? I've never read about Yeti on Yeti action in books. Come on. You know you want to read about Yeti sex! All hairy and primal.
Lynda Rouner: I prefer to believe that Yetis just appear. By magic even.
Sarah Hill: Nope, they get down and dirty like the rest of us.
Sarah Fanning: I'm sure there is niche erotica with ghosts and yetis out there, but back to vampires.
I have always loved vampires - the dark, seductive ways of Dracula lured me in at a young age. I've read all of Anne Rice's books except the Jesus ones. I like the vampire books immensely, but her vampires, while elegant and sophisticated, are very cold and not that sexy.
Ms. Harris's vampires are a bit more believable. They still have a bit of humanity about them which make them more relatable. And they enjoy a debauched lifestyle and are dead sexy - the men and women.
Sarah Hill: I grew up reading Anne Rice's stuff and Bram Stoker's as well. Anything else seems like a preteen novel to me. These books are far from pre-teen. Twilight is pre-teen. I think you should both give one of the books a shot before dismissing and judging them so harshly.
Sarah Fanning: I have an English degree, which means I majored in reading. And I will read damn near anything - or at least give it a try. I too was skeptical about these books at first, but they were so playful, and engaging that I grew to love them for what they are: enjoyable mind candy, a good distraction from the daily drudgery and the bits of supernatural sex certainly help.
Sarah Hill: I did say "seems." The whole vampire character has been done to death, in my opinion. I mean, how many fucking vampire books and movies do we need? I've accepted the character is timeless and will never go away, but when you've been bombarded with sparkle this and True Blood that, it over-saturates the market.
I guess my complaint with vampire novels and movies should be with the creators of this stuff in the first place. It's like everyone saw vampires as a money-making scheme and jumped in at the same time.
Batty: I just wish modern day books wouldn't take the pretty out of things like vampires and ghosts. Call me old fashioned, but when I read about such things I want flickering candles, long hallways, swishing skirts, harpsichord, misty castles, and romance. Guess I just can't get into anything whose imagery doesn't appeal to my love of classic gothic romance.
My real problem I guess is when I read fantasy or horror books I don't want things relatable to my life. I want things far detached that take me to another time or place. I don't want my vampires to be facing today's issues or my issues, I want an escape.
Gothtopia: It is the decision of the Council then that despite some bright spots in the modern media, vampires are to be put on notice until a regulatory means can be found to limit poor product. Despite divided opinions, the work of Charlaine Harris shall continue to have official Gothic Council sanction.