What’s better than books to start your week?

Via PodBlack Cat: Skeptical Books for Children-Part Five: Science Fiction
Their question was a two-parter and I have a few more recommendations for them at the end of this post, relating to other elements of reading and skepticism, which you might like to check out too.

“What’s the consensus on the intersection of science fiction and skepticism/science? What’s the research on the impact of science fiction films and biotechology?”

We also shouldn’t forget that it’s not JUST science concepts that are being taught through science fiction. Ethics, diplomacy, history, conflict resolution – I am reminded of Star Trek: Next Generation, with its exploration of cultural relativism, duty vs motive, a great many philosophical concepts that were even drawn upon for a high-school course in my state.

Read More here

From Mike Duran at Novel Journey: Tracey Bateman on “Christian Vampire Fiction”
An award-winning author with close to one million books in print, Tracey Bateman is no stranger to readers of Christian fiction. But her latest novel, Thirsty, traverses new, rather controversial, territory. As part of the CBA’s growing collection of vampire lore, Thirsty joins the ranks with Eric Wilson’s Jerusalem’s Undead Trilogy and John Olson’s Shade blending vampire mythology with Christian themes.

Mike: Can you walk us through the conceptualization and selling of this project? Where did the idea originate? Was it initially met with skepticism or enthusiasm? And is it true that the publisher asked you to tone down your vampires and requested no scenes of blood-sucking?

Tracey: I didn’t pitch a vampire story. Not that I wouldn’t have if I’d thought I could get away with it but honestly it never occurred to me that such a beautiful opportunity would present itself. I had books to write but was coming to the end of a contract, and got a call from an editor who wanted to do a vampire story. So she asked me to propose something.

Read the full interview here

By Misha Davenport at the Chicago Sun Times: VAMPIRE CHICago

When Neill sat down to write her first novel in the series, Some Girls Bite, she was looking for the ideal big city in which to set her tale. New York and New Orleans have been the settings for numerous vampire tales. Her memories of Chicago came back to her and she realized after doing a bit of research that the Windy City had never been prominently featured in any vampire book.

“Chicago is a city of contrasts,” Neill says. “You have the beauty of buildings of glass and light downtown, and a lake stretching out in front of you as far as you can look, but then there is also this dangerous and depressing side courtesy of Capone and places like Cabrini-Green.

“Add in a rich history and the various cultural aspects and it is easy to see why vampires would want to live there.”

Neill’s Friday Night Bites centers on deadly raves, where vampires are feeding off humans without authorization and thus threatening a fragile alliance between vampires and humans.

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By Richard Rayner at The Los Angeles Times: ‘The Vampire Archives’, edited by Otto Penzler
In “The Vampire Archives: The Most Complete Volume of Vampire Tales Ever Published,” editor Otto Penzler assembles 80-plus stories that offer a survey of the genre from the early 1800s to the present day. Byron wrote a vampire poem, as did Samuel Taylor Coleridge (the wonderfully erotic and spooky “Christabel”), likewise John Keats, whose “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” Penzler includes.

“The Vampire Archives” runs to 1,000-plus pages and features a multitude of styles and tones: Poe’s Gothic, the sly elegance of E.F. Benson, the purple-hued terror of Lovecraft and Clark Ashton-Smith, the tough-guy smarts of Dan Simmons. We see too how the vampire-as-metaphor has evolved, encompassing not only erotic anxiety but fear of disease transmitted through blood — which drives Richard Matheson’s landmark “I Am Legend.” By the time of Stephen King’s “Popsy,” published in the late 1980s, the vampire has become protective and paternal, another indication of who we are and what we need.

Read More here

When kids first start reading Sci Fi, especially if they aren’t sure about it or are reading it for a class, it’s really important that they have a place to discuss it. Sci Fi books tend to be multi-layered and you’ll notice something new every time you read them. Great article. And I had never heard of Christian Vampire Fiction before, but now, with Twilight, I can see where they’re coming from. A thousand page anthology of vampires? That’s something I have to have, even though I’d never thought of Le Belle Dame sans Merci as a vampire story before but now that they’ve pointed it out I’ll have to go read it again…

What got you into Sci Fi? Would you be interested in a Christian Vampire novel?