Vampires and Faeries

This week, I’ve been working on a couple of stories set in faerie realms. Now some might wonder why I’m discussing faeries on my vampire blog. After all, aren’t they innocent creatures like Disney’s Tinker Bell? Hardly! (And if you think Tinker Bell is really innocent, go back and watch Peter Pan!) Examining the classic faerie tales such as those compiled by the Grimm Brothers, you’ll find that many of the stories range from cautionary to downright frightening. In fact, I tend to think of the faerie stories I’ve written as being rather dark stories. Below are a couple of the anthologies that have featured my faerie stories. Clicking on the book covers will take you to pages with more information.

Human Tales
In All Their Glory


Human Tales features my story “The Griffin’s Tail” which is a steampunkish retelling of the Grimm fairy tale “The Griffin.” The idea behind this anthology is that if fairy tales are cautionary tales about the fae, then human tales must be cautionary tales for the fae. Because of this, not only do I retell the classic story, I tell it from the griffin’s point of view!

Bad-Ass Faeries: In All Their Glory is an anthology of stories with faeries either in the military or involved with the military. My story is “Amazons and Predators.” It imagines a tribe of faery warriors who were the models for the ancient stories of the Amazons. They had disappeared into the mountains of Afghanistan and get involved in the conflict between the United States and the Taliban.

In these two stories as well as the two stories I’ve been working on this week, the faeries have definitely been dangerous creatures. They have no problem with hurting humans if it serves their purpose. If anything, these fae see humans as those who serve and amuse them.

I was once on a panel at CopperCon in Phoenix, Arizona that asked the question “Are Faeries the New Vampires?” The panel’s purpose was to examine whether or not faeries were becoming more popular as characters in urban and paranormal fantasy than vampires. However, there was another interesting conclusion and that was that faeries are often scarier than vampires. The justification of this statement is that you know where you stand with vampires. You’re food. You don’t always know where you stand with the fae. You may be food, an item for their amusement or something even more sinister.

It seems like it would be fun for my vampires to match wits with some of my faery characters. I have come close, especially if you consider the most basic definition of a fairy, which is a spirit connected to nature. My story “Luftgeist” from the autumn 2011 issue of Hungur imagined Lord Draco pitted against a Luftgeist or an air spirit aboard the Hindenburg. Again, clicking the photo will take you to a place where you can purchase the issue.

Before closing, I’ll point out that I’m by no means the first author to think of pitting vampires against the fae. Laurell K. Hamilton does so in the novel Bloody Bones. Still, I’m hard pressed to think of many other examples.

So, what do you think? Are faeries scarier than vampires? Would you like to see more stories where the vampires encounter the fae? What other stories do you know where that’s happened? Any favorites?


4 thoughts on “Vampires and Faeries

  1. Fae originally were AS SCARY as vampires, but with more capabilities. They come in more variety than vamps and have more diverse powers; however, there’s quite a bit of overlap. Many fae have charm powers similar to a vampire’s, are man-eaters, shape-changers, etc. Only in Victorian times was the fae image softened into the pretty magic we now think of. So if fae are becoming “tougher” now, it’s really more of a return to their roots than a re-invention.

    • Thanks for dropping by, Deby. You’re absolutely right. In fact, going back to early folktales can be a great source of inspiration for modern stories of the fae. For that matter, there’s a lot of untapped potential with vampires as well going back to their folk roots.

  2. Interesting, though, how many people had a visceral, angry reaction when Stephanie Meyer had her vampires sparkle — a very fairy-like attribute. There was all sorts of criticism of her writing skills (some fair and some not), but the sparkle just seemed to hit a special nerve.

    • I haven’t read Twilight myself, but my sense is there are two things people who don’t like it are reacting to. The first is the Mary Jane-like heroine. The second is the idea that there are few consequences to being a vampire. I think the appeal of the vampire as a character is the sense that there is either tragedy or horror related to being such a creature. With that in the mind, I don’t think it’s the sparkling that annoys people per se. Sparkling is a stand-in for the vampire who is neither especially scary or tragic. Of course, I’d be interested in hearing thoughts from you or anyone else whose read Twilight to know if my impression is on target or if I’m way off.

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