Literature: Bloodsucking Fiends
aka: Bite Me
A trilogy written by Christopher Moore about vampires and romance... And no, it's nothing like Twilight. Although they are described as love stories, romance actually plays a surprisingly small role in these books. For the most part the genre fluctuates among comedy, drama, supernatural and suspense, with Moore's typical emphasis on comedy.The first book, Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, is about 26-year-old Jody, living in modern-day San Francisco with her shallow and weak-willed boyfriend. The last nail is driven into the coffin of her crumbling relationship when she wakes up under a city dumpster with a horrible burn on her hand and a huge wad of cash stuffed in her shirt. She finds out that she's been unwittingly turned into a vampire.Unable to do anything during the day, Jody enlists the help of Tommy, a 19-year-old who had just moved to San Francisco in hope of finding inspiration to help him kick-start his writing career. He works the night shift at a supermarket along with a crew of other young men aptly named "The Animals". The two move in together and start up a relationship. Jody's maker stalks her from place to place and leaves her "presents" (dead bodies) that make her into a prime suspect of an ongoing murder investigation.The first sequel, You Suck: A Love Story, is about Jody and Tommy for some reason staying in San Francisco, despite the fact that it defies all common sense. Jody ends up turning Tommy into a vampire. This means that she has to find a new day person and she ends up recruiting the teenage goth girl, Abby Normal.Bite Me: A Love Story, the third book, is about a wave of vampirism striking San Francisco. The main character of this book is Abby from You Suck.
These books provide examples of:
- And I Must Scream: In the books, the characters most often neutralize vampires by encasing them in bronze. This doesn't kill them. It just leaves them trapped inside unable to do anything until the bronze wears away and they can turn themselves into mist and escape.
- Attempted Rape: A gang tries to rape Jody when she's in a laundromat on the seedy side of town. It doesn't end well for them.
- Aura Vision: Vampires see the auras or "heat signatures" around people and can tell how healthy someone is and when the terminally ill are on their last legs.
- Batman Gambit: Jody's gambit to get the old vampire to train her. It all hinges on the vampire wanting to take her in, in the first place.
- Bittersweet Ending: The third book (Bite Me) ends with the vampire hordes destroyed, Abby and Tommy saved from their eventual deaths as third-generation vampires, and the three vampire lords dead... but Tommy can't handle being a vampire, and Jody doesn't want to return to being human, and so Jody leaves him, presumably forever.
- Blood Lust: Surprisingly averted. Jody's greatest laments about being a vampire, other than not being able to function during the day and not being able to lose that last five pounds, are that she can't have coffee and french fries anymore.
- Boy Meets Ghoul
- Citizenship Marriage: Tommy is being courted by five illegal Chinese immigrants for this very reason.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Abby Normal, The Emperor and all the Animals to some degree.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: The, admittedly kooky, Emperor goes around the city warning the citizens about vampires, and absolutely no one believes him.
- Cool Boat: The old vampire's home.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Jody beats the everloving crap out of a gang that intended to rape her and shouts "Forty-fucking-Niners!" at them as she walks out the door, presumably in response to the Oakland Raiders paraphernalia the gang is wearing.
- Cursed with Awesome: Subverted. Jody loves being a vampire because it means that she can enjoy eternal life and feel completely safe walking down dark streets at night. Tommy, on the other hand, would rather be human because he is only 19 when he's turned and being male, doesn't have any issues with the latter.
- Dead Man's Chest: Jody and Tommy end up buying a big freezer to store the dead man left just outside their apartment.
- Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Tommy contemplates about whether or not he should have sex with Jody while she's passed out during the day. Later it turns out that he actually did.
- Easily Forgiven: Tommy, for all the things he's pulled on Jody while she was unconscious, which includes dressing her up as a cheerleader and having sex with her, rubbing her with garlic and putting her in the freezer.
- Emergency Transformation: Simon is dying of AIDS and threatens Jody at gunpoint to get her to turn him and save his life. The only problem is that at this point of story she doesn't know how.
- Face-Heel Turn: Jody, in the first book. It's a ploy.
- Fake Defector: Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story has Jody pretending to switch sides to get the upper hand on the old vampire.
- Fingore: The old vampire slips two of his fingers inside Jody's mouth and she bites them off and eats them.
- Flaw Exploitation: By his very nature the old vampire is lonely and bored. Jody exploits that for all it's worth in order to learn more about vampires and their powers.
- Friendly Neighbourhood Vampires: Vampires don't need to drink blood in lethal amounts, and they can drink it from animals as well. Even the old vampire tends to feed off people who are near death... even though he kept them in a cage on his yacht.
- Genre Blindness: Despite reading a bunch of vampire lore, neither Tommy nor Jody figure out that to make a new vampire, a human must be bitten and then fed vampire blood.
- Admittedly that's a common way, but it's hardly the only way in fiction. Some versions have anyone killed by a vampire come back, at least one vampire story has anyone a vampire even drinks from come back after death (and the longer they lived after the bite, the longer it takes), some versions require the vampire to sleep with the victim... and so on.
- Genre Savvy: Tommy. After he finds out that Jody is a newly-turned vampire unfamiliar with her powers, he gets a bunch of vampire books, studies them and uses trial and error to figure out specific vampire strengths, abilities and weaknesses. In particular he's rather stuck on Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Due to the fact that vampires collapse wherever they happen to be and basically turn into corpses when the sun rises, being able to heal instantaneously is almost a necessity. Jody passes out in the shower and the hot water scalds her for the hours and hours she's in there. On top of that a good chunk of her hair gets sloughed off by the constant water pressure. Good Thing You Can Heal indeed.
- Healing Factor: A perk of vampirism.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Subverted with Rivera and Cavuto, as Cavuto actually is gay.
- Hooker Witha Heart Of Gold: Averted. Quite possibly the hooker is one of the most immoral characters.
- Horror Hunger: Generally averted. The only time vampires get really bloodthirsty is when they've just been grievously injured and need blood to heal.
- How Do I Shot Web?: Jody wakes up night under a dumpster with a badly-burned hand. It takes her a while to even realise she's become a vampire, and the rest of the book to figure out exactly what sorts of powers and limitations that comes with.
- I Do Not Drink Wine: If Vampires consume anything that is not blood, even water, they'll throw up. Subverted by the fact that this reaction can be thwarted by adding blood to the substance in question. Jody is overjoyed when she finds out she can still drink coffee.
- I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Inverted. Jody hates the bastard who turned her into a vampire, but generally enjoys being one. Her biggest qualms appear to be a) not being able to drink coffee and b) having it dawn on her that, thanks to immortality, she will never ever get to lose those last five pounds.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Abby. And in the first book, Tommy.
- I Love the Dead: The coroner. Jody coming back to life after being defrosted literally gives him a heart attack.
- Immortality Begins at Twenty: For Jody at least. Immortality begins at whatever age you are lucky/unlucky enough to be turned into a vampire.
- I Should Write a Book About This: Tommy, referring to the events of the trilogy.
- King of the Homeless: The Emperor of San Francisco.
- Kiss of the Vampire: Vampire bites aren't that painful and heal almost immediately. Being fed on repeatedly from a vampire can even make you stronger. If a vampire is careful, the person being bitten might not even notice that they're being bitten at all.
- Lemony Narrator
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Jody, already in a bad mood, gets hassled by a bum and screams at him in rage. Her scream makes the air vibrate and shatters the glass of a nearby window.
- Malignant Plot Tumor: The plot about The Animals going to Vegas and getting a blue hooker in You Suck.
- The Masquerade: A group of vampires actually comes for the old vampire of the first novel because his careless and destructive actions are threatening The Masquerade.
- The Men in Black: The group of vampires that show up at the end of You Suck to punish the old vampire for threatening The Masquerade.
- Mayfly-December Romance: Tommy and Jody discuss this in the context of their relationship. Tommy in particular seemed to be looking forward to being a lecherous old man with a smoking hot girlfriend.
- Mistaken for Gay: See Citizenship Marriage above. Yes, those are related.
- Mistaken for Murderer: Jody, initially.
- Mugging the Monster: When three guys try to rape Jody in a laundromat, they don't really realise what they're getting into...
- Mundane Utility:
- Upon concluding that Vampire saliva acts as a healing agent (primarily to keep those tell-tale neck wounds from being noticed), Tommy tries to convince Jody to fix his cuticles and get rid of a blister on his toe. Jody is not amused.
- After reading about Dracula turning into mist, Tommy tries to get Jody to do it so she can unclog the hair trap in their bathroom drain. He ends up buying a bottle of Drain-o.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Jody's reaction after she throws a pot at her boyfriend's head and drains his blood. She initially believes he might even be dead.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Tommy. His first words after learning his girlfriend was a vampire? "That is the most awesome thing I've ever heard. Let's have sex with our socks off." The sequel gives us Abby Normal, a Perky Goth who didn't just jump at the call to be a vampire's minion but hunted it down and demanded the job.
- No Body Left Behind: People turn to dust when they're drained to death by a vampire. This becomes a minor plot point, as it turns out that the bodies the old vampire is leaving Jody are clearly intentional.
- Nobody Poops: Lampshaded in You Suck, where one (very short) chapter is dedicated to the effects of vampirism on one's intestinal tract. In its entirety:"So that was it?"
"I feel like I should save them or something."
"Would you just flush and come out of there?"
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Emperor is clearly supposed to be Emperor Norton, the self-proclaimed Emperor of the United States.
- And Protector of Mexico!
- No Periods, Period: Justified, as being a vampire means that you no longer get one.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Close to the traditional Hollywood vampire, but with a few differences.
- They're completely dead from sunrise to sunset. That is, they pass out wherever they happened to be when the sun rose and remain inert corpses until it sets, even if they were in the shower, in the sunlight or right next to a furnace.
- Sunlight burns them badly. If a vampire has part of their body in the open when the sun rises, they will get burned and possibly burn up completely. In addition to the sun magically making vampires inert, ultraviolet light burns them regardless of source. Blacklights are weaponized.
- When they get turned into vampires, all the wounds and scars they had from life get healed. This includes things like bent toes from wearing shoes, tattoos going away and pushing out and healing the wounds from breast implants.
- Vampires can see heat and auras, which tells them how close a person is to death. Their saliva can instantly close wounds, and if a vampire drains a person completely, the victim turns into dust.
- Anything that has ingested vampire blood and dies while it is in their system comes back as a vampire. Including animals. Since many animals instinctively fight by biting their enemies, this could be a problem.
- The further a vampire is from the original vampire, the quicker they have a breakdown, either mental or physical. Elijah, the antagonist of the first book, is the oldest vampire encountered in the series. Some that he sired lived for centuries, but one fourth-generation vampire ( Blue the hooker) apparently died after about a month.
- Parodies of Fire: A rare literary example. During the turkey-bowling event at Tom's night job, one of the bowlers imagines the theme to Chariots of Fire playing as he lines up his shot.
- Phantasy Spelling: Vampire is normally spelled with an "i" but when the narration switches to Abby she spells it "Vampyre".
- Raising the Steaks: Vampires can feed on animals, although they generally prefer humans. Anything that has ingested vampire blood and dies while it is in their system comes back as a vampire. Many animals instinctively fight by biting their enemies. At one point a vampire makes a vampire cat in a careless moment, and after a couple weeks there are packs (clouds) of vampire strays roaming the streets at night.
- Really 700 Years Old: Subverted. After discovering Jody is a vampire, Tommy immediately assumes that it means she's also hundreds of years old. Jody is then forced to spend the next ten minutes explaining that she's a newly-turned vampire. Twenty-six — physically and chronologically.
- Abby comes to the same conclusion in You Suck. As he finds it amusing, Tommy doesn't tell her the truth for some time.
- The Renfield: Tommy accuses Jody of making him this. He cites things like the fact that he sleeps most of the day, and how she drinks his blood and gets him to run errands for her. In reality he just works at a supermarket during the graveyard shift so he has to sleep most of the day, he lets her drink his blood and Jody was going to pay him to run errands for her during the day anyway.
- Jody also worries that she's done this to him at one point, and tests it by asking him to jump off a roof. He refuses.
- Retail Therapy: Tommy has a bunch of friends over during the day and they do things like look in the freezer with the dead body and touch Jody while she's sleeping. When Jody finds out she's understandably upset and deals with this by going shopping and getting a makeover.
- Romantic Vampire Girl: Jody
- San Francisco: The setting of all three books. Even when it gets implausible and dangerous.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The fate of the old vampire at the end of the first novel. It doesn't last, of course.
- Shout-Out: The title of the third novel, Bite Me is a reference to Christopher Moore's other novel, Fluke where a whale has "Bite Me" tattooed to its fins.
- Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: At the end of You Suck, Jody and Tommy find out that there's a cure for vampirism. Tommy is more than willing to take it, but Jody enjoys being a vampire. The only time she feels safe walking on the street at night is when she's a vampire.
- Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Not to say that the book is entirely lacking in seriousness, but given the author, this book is quite far down on the Silly side of the scale.
- Straight Gay: Nick Cavuto.
- Super Senses: Another perk of vampirism.
- Super Smoke: One of the abilities of vampires.
- Stuffed Into The Freezer: How Tommy and Jody hide one of the corpses that the old vampire leaves behind. Later on Tommy literally does this to Jody while she's asleep.
- Super Strength: Yet another perk of being a vampire.
- Undeath Always Ends: By the second book a scientist even invents a cure for vampirism.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods
- The Verse: All of Christopher Moore's novels, including this one, take place in the same universe.
- Waking Up at the Morgue: After being defrosted, Jody wakes up at the morgue with the coroner licking the inside of her thigh.
- Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere: Jody and later, Tommy,usually keep themselves under control in public, but after an intense bout of healing they can get rather hungry.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Jody's reaction to Tommy putting her in the freezer.
- Wax Museum Morgue: Vampires are usually dealt with by electroplating them in bronze.
- Weakened by the Light: Almost to the point where it's Crippled By The Light. Vampires are completely unable to function in any way shape or form while the sun is up, and are therefore vulnerable to just about anything and everything during the daylight hours. The mere presence of the sun peeking over the horizon will cause a vampire anywhere (even completely locked away from the sunlight) to collapse in an immobile corpse-like state. Depending on the geographical location and time of year this means that vampires are useless sacks of meat just waiting to be killed for up to 24 consecutive hours a day. On top of that the sunlight also burns them, so tough luck if they get caught in an uncovered outdoor area at sunrise.
- What Are You in For?: When Tommy, is in jail he asks his cell mate what he's in for. The man replies 'copyright infringement', which he admits isn't really the sort of offense they put you in jail for. Ripping a lawyer's arms out of their sockets, however, is.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Played with. Tommy saturates himself with vampire literature and appears to be this initially when he asks Jody to turn into mist like Dracula, but it turns out that all she needed was a tutor. Other things he does get wrong, though. Jody can't fly or turn into a wolf, for instance. He also suspects himself of becoming The Renfield and lists a bunch of reasons attributable to other things. Abby also counts; she believes that vampires are all dark, brooding, serious and romantic, more along the lines of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles or Twilight than the vampires that show up in the book.