Liquid Dreams of Vampires

Rating: 
3
Liquid Dreams of Vampires
Review by The Mad Bibliographer, submitted on 21-Oct-1998

A version of this review appears in The Vampire's Crypt 15 (Spring 1997). The Vampire's Crypt web site is: http://members.aol.com/MLCVamp/vampcrpt.htm

In LIQUID DREAMS OF VAMPIRES (Llewellyn, 1996; ISBN 1-56718-571- 1; $14.95/$20.50), Martin V. Riccardo (what does that middle initial stand for, anyway?) has written an intriguing book on vampire-inspired dreams and fantasies. In the course of a six- year research project, Riccardo compiled accounts of daydreams, nightmares, fantasies, and dreams about vampires. Riccardo has been known to vampire fans since the mid-1970s, when he edited the now-defunct JOURNAL OF VAMPIRISM. As director of the information center Vampire Studies, he remains widely known and trusted throughout vampire fandom--a very helpful factor in obtaining in-depth responses on a topic that the world at large doesn't always view sympathetically.

Dreams and fantasies that respondents have shared reflect not only an amazing variety of perceptions but surprisingly intimate revelations in narrative form. Contributions range from Leah's dream of vampires as the most beautiful creatures on earth, with snow-colored skin, eyes deep blue or black, and the voices of angels, to Lyza's detailed, erotic dream of a vampire who comes to her when he needs blood and gives INCREDIBLE (emphasis Lyza's) sexual pleasure in return. Besides relaying these accounts, Riccardo (a behavioral hypnotist) uses them to give insight into such phenomena as erotic dreams and our culture's increasingly romantic perspective on vampires.

But Riccardo shows vampires' more sinister side as well, in nightmares of vampires who pursue dreamers through houses or classrooms or city streets, and in the vampire dogs a waking life "paper pusher" dreams of destroying with pencil-like stakes. And while LIQUID DREAMS focuses on the intangible, it doesn't stop there. The chapter "Dream into Reality" includes not only stories of people who wake from dreams of vampires to find marks on their necks or blood on the pillow, but bizarre waking encounters with seemingly tangible vampiric beings who had appeared in dreams. "Blood Drinkers and Mortal Vampires" gives matter-of-fact accounts of real-life blood drinkers--what they do, how they started drinking blood, its effect on them, their feelings about blood drinking. In the final chapter, "Encounters with Real Vampires," several contributors relate their experiences with beings who performed seemingly impossible feats or exercised inexplicable and often frightening mind control over others.

LIQUID DREAMS OF VAMPIRES is an extraordinarily vivid book, made so not only by first-person accounts of dreams, fantasies, and experiences, but by Riccardo's lucid and well-informed commentary that touches on such related topics as AIDS, child abuse, lesbianism, dominant/submissive sexual practices, sexuality in DRACULA, oral sadism, hypnosis, and sleep paralysis/mara attacks. Perhaps most impressive is that while Riccardo provides insightful commentary on many of the dreams, fantasies, and experiences he has received, he does not attempt to pass judgment on the thoughts or actions of his book's numerous contributors. Although he sometimes suggests interpretations and possible explanations for experiences that don't conform to "standard" parameters of reality, he does not pretend to offer a definitive, scoffing "truth" to explain away even the strangest close encounters as error or ignorance.

"It is in the dream," says Riccardo, "that the vampire has its most natural home." LIQUID DREAMS OF VAMPIRES gives us a multifaceted and often in-depth look at the vampire in its native habitat. Riccardo's book serves as an introduction to this growing aspect of popular culture, offering insights for both serious researchers and curious laymen. To vampire fanciers of whatever stripe, it offers assurance not only that they are not alone but that there are perspectives other than the trivializing and demonizing approaches found all too often in the media. More importantly, it gives those approaches a well- organized, non-sensational but interesting presentation accessible to both longtime fans and newcomers to the vampire realm.

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From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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