Literature / Lost Souls

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Death is easy...

For the MUD, see Lost Souls MUD

Lost Souls is a 1992 vampire novel by Poppy Z. Brite.

Fifteen years ago, a trio of vampires breezed into a New Orleans bar on the last night of Mardi Gras. Their leader, the charismatic and murderous Zilliah, seduced and abandoned a young girl named Jessy, leaving her pregnant with a vampire child who devoured her from the inside out. Now in the present day, the baby, who calls himself Nothing, lives in a boring middle-class town and hungers for things he can't explain. Running away one night, he finds himself in a van with a trio of mysterious strangers as they careen across the country in search of hot blood and cheap thrills. For the first time, Nothing feels he's found where he belongs...and he'll do anything to stay there.

Best friends Steve and Ghost make up Lost Souls?, a band maybe a little too talented for the tiny town of Missing Mile, North Carolina. Steve can't hide anything from Ghost—not his drinking problem, not his problems with his girlfriend Ann, not his self-destructive thoughts. Because Ghost can see the past. And the future. And Ghost has seen dark times coming.

When a van full of vampires stops in Missing Mile to take in a Lost Souls? show, it seems that the dark times have finally come. Steve must race to save Ann from the vampires, while Ghost hopes to save Nothing from himself.


Tropes used in this novel include:

  • Agent Peacock: Zillah.
  • The Alcoholic: Steve. It could be argued that a lot of the cast are this to some degree.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The two story-relevant female characters, Ann and Jessy, are both immediately attracted to and impregnated by Zillah.
  • Anonymous Killer Narrator
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: "Ghost" appears to be Ghost's real, legal name. (His famous spiritualist grandmother also had a cool name: Deliverance.)
  • The Big Easy: The book begins and ends in New Orleans.
  • Bishounen: The eternally young and preternaturally gorgeous Zillah. Ghost is also described as "lovely".
  • Creepy Twins: The unnamed vampire twins that killed Arkady and his brother.
  • Death by Childbirth: Any woman who becomes pregnant with a vampire child will die horribly trying to give birth to it.
  • Disposable Woman: The only significant females in the cast are Jessy, who dies early on, and Ann, who mainly exists to force Steve and Ghost to pursue the vampires to retrieve her.
  • Doorstop Baby: Christian literally leaves Nothing on a doorstop as an infant, complete with note.
  • The Empath: Ghost is this, among other things.
  • Emo Kid: Nothing. He gets better.
  • Everyone Is Bi: The entire cast, almost without exception.
  • Family of Choice: Zig-zagged. Nothing's family of choice includes his biological father, Zillah. He doesn't care for his adopted parents.
  • The Family That Slays Together: Zillah's coven, particularly when Nothing participates in the murder of his biological grandfather.
  • Fetus Terrible: Vampire fetuses are deadly to their mothers.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Zillah is a Biblical, female name used for a male vampire.
  • Incest Subtext: Arkady's recollection of his brother Ashley's beauty, and his description of their relationship, strongly imply that Arkady was sexually drawn to him and that the feeling might have been mutual. (Theirs is the only relationship in the novel where the incest stays subtextual.)
  • Jumped at the Call: Nothing is thrilled to be a vampire, and the only thing he's mournful about is his lack of fangs. Actually, most of the vampires are shown to enjoy their powers and near-immortality, or at least are reigned to it.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Christian reveals that Zillah is Nothing's biological father.
  • Karma Houdini: Steve never gets arrested for raping Ann. Also, Nothing never gets any kind of comeuppance for helping the trio kill Laine, despite the fact that he was supposedly his best friend. He never even seemed to feel sad.
  • Lecherous Licking: Arkady licks Ghost's eyelashes, much to his dismay.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Zillah was hanged back in the early 20th century, but survived thanks to his regenerative abilities.
  • May–December Romance: Zillah is decades older than Nothing.
  • Moral Dissonance: Steve's reaction to Ann's infidelity.
  • Mystical White Hair: Ghost.
  • Only One Name: In this novel and in the other subsequent short stories in which he appears, Ghost is never given a surname. Considering that all the other human characters have surnames, the omission is a little odd.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Notably, you're not turned into a vampire, you're born one. Vampires are a predatory subspecies of humanity that have been living alongside, breeding with, and preying upon humans for eons. In fact, the four main vampires in the book (Zillah, Molochai, Twig, and Nothing) have so much human ancestry that almost all the 'classic' vampire traits have been bred out of them. In one scene, a much younger vampire envies Christian, who is several hundred years old, because he has fangs.
  • Parental Incest: Jessy and her father. Zillah and Nothing.
  • Psychic Powers: Again, Ghost.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Steve and Ghost get theirs in a short story ("Stay Awake") set after the novel. They do kiss in the book, but their relationship is left ambiguous.
  • Sexual Extortion: Arkady tries to get Ghost to sleep with him to save Ann. Steve arrives in time to shut it down.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Ghost has only ever shown interest in Steve.
  • Southern Gothic: The book takes place in North Carolina and New Orleans. There's a lot of kudzu, moonlight, and whispering spirits.
  • Staking the Loved One: Subverted. The only staking is done by Ghost, as he takes out Zillah. And Zillah is stabbed through the head, not the heart.
  • Threeway Sex: Zillah, Twig, and Molochai engage in this regularly.
  • Twincest: The creepy twins are ultimately interested in sex only with one another, to the point that they've starred in porn together.
  • Vampires Are Rich: Subverted. The trio ride around in a van and are basically murderous, opportunistic hobos. Christian supports himself by bartending.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: These vampires fall on the gorier end of the scale; at one point, the trio reminisce about dismembering a woman in a bathtub.
  • Yaoi Guys: Zillah and Nothing, Nothing and Christian, Nothing and various others...

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