Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guest Post: Lili St. Crow - Werewolves vs. Vampires

Lili St. Crow is the author of Strange Angels. She lives in Vancouver, Washington with her husband, three children, and a houseful of cats. Betrayals, the 2nd book in the Strange Angels Series is in stores today.

Vampires and Werewolves are among the most popular mythical beings of supernatural fiction amongst readers today. I'm thrilled that Lili will be sharing with us her thoughts on why these creatures are so fascinating.

How about you, which is your Favorite?

Werewolves vs. Vampires

There are millions of age-old questions. Peanut butter or jelly? Sandals or sneakers? Chicken or dumpling?

But the real question is, vampire or werewolf?

Both sides have passionate advocates and detractors. Both have things to recommend them.

I, for one, am perennially undecided.

Vampires are fascinating. They're a blank screen that deep cultural anxieties about sex, death, female sexuality, and parasitism play on over and over. The vampire is a shapeshifter. One moment he's a rotting corpse, the fear of contagion and being buried alive. The next he's a creepy-hot, razor-licking romantic antihero. He can be a Malkavian or a sparkling teenage dream. The vampire is most interesting not for what he says, but for what he says about us.

Female vampires have moved from being automatons under the sway of a princely master to interesting meditations in their own right. Wilhelmina Murray was passive British womanhood at risk of "foreign" contamination; the female vampires of today are more likely to be struggling with issues of sex and power as active agents.

And werewolves? Primal beast and thinking man in the same body? The tension between animal instinct and rationality makes for interesting and attractive characters. A werewolf can be a Noble Savage or a man not responsible for his beastly behavior, both things Western storytellers love. The lure of the werewolf is the chain it takes off our instincts. Animals don't doubt themselves, and a werewolf doubts him or herself only when they're not in the grip of the beast—and free of responsibility.

This is why I can't decide between werewolves and vampires. Two great tastes, not necessarily great together, but both, well, great.

I'm a little tired of pretty vampires—this is why I created scurf in Jill Kismet's world—but I can see the attraction. A tall, dark, rich (because all vampires invest, of course) immortal? Whether hero or villain, he's hitting all the right buttons. With all the benefits of vampirism (like superstrength and superspeed, not to mention becoming incredibly attractive) it's amazing so many vampire characters are so angsty. Then again, they are drinking blood. They are essentially parasites, and there's not a good way to prettify that dynamic. If there's a drawback to vampires, it's the angst—or the psychotic jerkwad factor, if we're talking about vampire villains.

As for werewolves, well, we've always suspected human beings are beasts at heart. Human history is full of humans doing things to each other animals would never dream of, things more "beastly" than the feathered and furred. Civilization and cooperation are the way we've survived, but they also require a lot of delayed gratification and compromise. Who hasn't seen the lure of turning into a huge hairy beast and running amok during, say, a boring business meeting? Who hasn't had nasty, ugly thoughts and fantasies? The werewolf is a safe place to repose all those things, because we are ultimately in control of any fantasy he stars in.

After all, we can turn off the television or leave the theater, close the book or turn off the radio at any time. These fantasies are dependent on us not just for blood or meat, but for existence itself.

To be honest, the werewolf has his own share of angst or jerkwad. But we forgive him like we forgive the vampire. After all, without us, they don't exist. Our blood, our breath, our stories give them life.

I think the ongoing fascination with werewolves and vampires comes from two things: the fact that they are both shapechangers, ready to serve our storytelling or anxious needs in a heartbeat; and from our need to make the world behave in a coherent fashion. The human brain is great at finding patterns and attributing causes to events, even if those patterns and causes aren't accurate. Senseless violence or disasters, or even plain bad luck, are all very difficult to find explanations for or healing from. With a myth of supernatural creatures bound by certain rules, we can take control of scary things. Draw their fangs, as it were.

Werewolves and vampires are both repositories of fantasies and anxieties we rarely speak aloud. Sometimes they work together, sometimes they cross-pollinate, sometimes they are depicted as enemies. In the end, though, they're our extraordinarily faithful servants.

Is it any wonder we have trouble choosing between them?


Thanks Lili!

For more information about Lili St. Crow and her books, please visit her website here.

31 comments :

  1. Interesting take on the either/or. I'm a werewolf person, myself...converted by the shapeshifters in Nalini Singh's novels. But I could be swayed, maybe, by a hot vampire...wait... ;)

    Nice post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know I like vampires best, but werewolves are creeping up on me. My best friend is a werewolf fanatic who has seen every werewolf movie ever made. I'm starting to get her hooked on werewolf novels as well. This is a great post! I enjoyed Strange Angels and I'm really looking forward to Betrayals.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post. I agree with her about why we are so fascinated, especially in stories.

    I am a vamp fan myself, although I have several favorite who are werewolves, so maybe I could be persuaded.

    Elie (Ellz Readz)

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is definitely hard to choose between them. I've always loved vampires, They were the first "creatures" to pop up in my reading but I have grown to love the werewolves as well. Super strength, speed, ability to burn calories super fast! What's not to love? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. vampire
    love werewolves too but vamps r my besty

    ReplyDelete
  6. Werewolves ftw!

    But do love those vamps.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Even though I love Jacob from Twilight, I'm a vampire person. Haha.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ooh, "Noble Savage" sealed the deal for me! Team werewolf, all the way. Though Lili did put up a good arguement for both sides, I love how she phrased the werewolves nature. Plus Graves is one f my favorites! I love this sereis!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great post. I like both Vamps and werewolves.I'll have one of each :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a fun and entertaining guest post! Lili Rocks. And you know me- I like 'em both. Can't resist a bad boy! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm totally with her. How can you choose between werewolves and vampires? It's just impossible. they both have so much good and so much bad.
    Great guest post!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think I like werewolf stories more at the moment but mainly because I'm kind of burned out on vampire stories. There are *so* many.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I agree about pretty vampires! Sometimes it's good, but there are SO many. In the 90's early 00's I would say that I was a vamp girl, but now I'm definitely a were girl! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've always leaned more towards werewolves but I do like vampires!

    I'll take both, thanks. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love this series. It takes a different approach than just vampire and werewolves. Awesome start to a wonderful series.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love both. Anything that Lili St. Crow writes will be an amazing tale.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm Team Edward, definately. So I prefer vamps, (:

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm more of a vampire fan. Only because I hate hair, it is my biggest pet peeve. So I don't think I could be around someone covered in it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think it's hard to choose between the two. I guess I sort of lean more towards vampires.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Vampires are cool but I love werewolves.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Team Jacob I like vamps better tho

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great post, although I have a thing for vampires :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I always say there is no way in heck I can find a puppy sexy. lol but a guy who chugs blood like beer? Yea thats gross too but hey no beastilogy right?

    ReplyDelete
  24. I've come to appreciate werewolves over the years, especially when they started being written as actual wolves and not wolfmen creatures but I'll always love the vamps more.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I LOVE both even though Vamps were my first love!! I fell in love with weres after reading Nalini Singh's and Patricia Briggs books. I really can't choose it just depends on my mood!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Great guest post! Werewolves vs. Vamps is a longstanding feud... :) Lili make some good points when it come to werewolves. There is a certain allure to the man w/a wild beast inside, but I think that I'm still a bit of a vampire fan. I think the only way to decide is to read more vamp and werewolf books... :)

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great post. And interesting question, although I am a vamp fan myself.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I love both, but I'm a vampire girl at heart. Probably since Interview With the Vampire found its way into my hands when I was thirteen, or maybe even before then. (I was abnormally obsessed with Love At First Bite even before I knew Anne Rice existed. Wait, did I just write that down for others to see?)

    Wonderful post!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I think werewolf vs. Vampire is a impossible question.
    They are both amazing and cannot beat eachother.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Terrific guest post. I'm like her and I really can't decide. Then again I think I probably lean a little bit more towards werwolves. XD

    ~Briana

    ReplyDelete

I want to hear from you, I promise I won't bite!