“He knocked on the metal door with FANGTASIA stencilled on it. We were in a service and delivery alley behind all the stores in the little strip mall. There were several other cars parked back there, Eric’s sporty red convertible among them. All the vehicles were high priced. You won’t find a vampire in a Ford Fiesta.”
Charlaine Harris Dead Until Dark (2001)
When I heard Alan Ball, the Oscar winning screenwriter of American Beauty and Emmy winning creator of HBO’s Six Feet Under (both favorites of this writer) was working on a new series I had to tune in. Turns out Ball’s latest series, True Blood, is based on a series of novels by Charlaine Harris.
When I told my niece I was an avid fan of the series she offered to lend me her collection of Harris penned novels.
The author, who lives “in a small town in southern Arkansas with her family”, imagines a world in which vampires have “come out of the coffin” and been declared legal. Although they still suffer from afflictions common to their kind (spontaneously combusting if they are exposed to direct sunlight, for example) they no longer have to drink human blood to survive thanks to a new Japanese synthetic product called True Blood (Ball holds up a bottle in the photo above)
Harris describes the ramifications of her fantastic world in such a matter of fact tone it makes the whole weirdly improbable premise seem somehow possible.
Of course, Ball and his writing staff have taken significant liberties with Harris’ text in telling the story of Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress in a small Lousiana town (played in the series by Anna Paquin) and her adventures with the undead during the course of five seasons.
However, my niece assures me the subsequent books in the series are all true to the, uh, spirit of the original novel. (And she oughta know. In addition to watching all the episodes in the series so far she has eight of Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels.)