Flyers! The wind turbines have broken down. Again! said Caleb.
Alicia tested the blade on her throwing knife, which she could throw faster and more accurately than any man on the Watch, because that was the kind of woman she was. A strong woman. A fearless woman. Honed and lithe and taut and brilliant at rescuing you from the vampire-infested Mall on horseback with her special riding skills when all seemed lost though God knows what they were doing going into that Mall in the first place something to do with a room full of dead children which some other character in the book had been perversely attracted to, what kind of weird reason was that? The kind of strong female character, in fact, whos absolutely de rigueur for you to create if you’re an English professor at Rice University in Texas who’s slumming it in genre fiction, yet at the same time not slumming it because look what you can do you can treat the reader to SO much detail about the world you’ve created that its like reading Dickens almost, no, like Dickens with icing and cherries and hundreds and thousands on top because not even Dickens would go into so much detail about what the characters looked like, what they had for breakfast, their back story, their emotional history, their favorite color, their favorite character on Sesame Street, plus of course its got vampires, proper vampires, not your pussy vampires like the ones in Twilight but ones with so many teeth they rip you to shreds like torn up bunnies and –
Lish, get your taut, firm, desirable, simmering, as-yet-unfulfilled love interest ass over here NOW. The lights are down. The virals are over the fence. They’re aiiieeeeee.
As some of you will have worked out, I spent my return flight from the US reading half way through Justin Cronin’s bestselling vampire novel The Passage. I like vampires. Indeed, as I told my audience when I spoke at the Heritage Foundation if they didn’t want to hear me talk about Climate Change I would have been quite happy talking on another of my favourite topics, viz, why vampires are the scariest horror creatures of all, especially the Master in Salem’s Lot. But though Cronin’s contribution to the genre has its superb moments, I think I may have spotted one or two flaws in it as the above excerpt intimates.
OK, so here, as I see it, is the fundamental problem. The vampires have taken over the Earth. (Something like 42 million of them in the US alone. Ri-g-h-t. So what are they feeding on once all the humans and farm animals and wild animals have been killed? Have they suddenly, like, taken up farming or something? Perhaps this question is answered later in the book. If it isn’t then I’m sorry but I count this a serious flaw in the books schemata. As indeed I would if it turns out the vampires HAVE taken up farming. Yeah right, how likely vampire behaviour would that be?). In the second part of the book we’re 90 years into the future after the vampire apocalypse, with a tiny colony of humans which have survived in their fenced settlement.
How have they survived in their fenced settlement? Why, because it is surrounded by bright lights which they turn on at night to scare off the vampires. How are these bright lights powered? Why, by wind turbines.
Look, I can just about buy the conceit that indestructible, multi-fanged, voracious leaping vampires have taken over the earth. (With those superpowers how could they not?) But what stretches the book’s credibility far, far, FAR beyond breaking point is the idea that a) those wind turbines would still be operable 90 years into the future (they last 20 to 25 years at most) and b) given that they operate intermittently and at roughly 25 per cent of capacity that they would be capable of giving the survivors colony round-the-clock electric power.
Heres the truth: wind farms do not save you from vampires (or anything else). If wind farms are really all that stands between the survival of the human species and bloody, fanged extinction then we’re doomed, I tell you, we’re doomed.
It has been brought to my attention by a very senior editor oh, all right: Damian that the Telegraph Blogs Stylebook insists that no mention of Wind Farms is permissible without a reference to Britain’s most distinguished Wind Farmer Extraordinaire, Sir Reginald Sheffield Bt. I apologise for having to rub salt into the wound of poor Sir Reginald who would no doubt prefer to be recognised as the father-in-law of the current British prime minister rather than just another of those rent-seeking landowners leeching off the back of the taxpayer by destroying the landscape with ugly, bird-chopping, heavily subsidised windtowers. But what can I do? Orders is orders.