THE SPACE VAMPIRES
By COLIN WILSON
(Random House; 1976)
This interesting sci fi-tinged take on vampirism was made into the crappy movie
LIFEFORCE. Donít let that put you off, though, as the book is a careful and
methodical intellectual thriller--though maybe a bit too methodical.
Colin Wilson is an insanely prolific English writer and philosopher
(of sorts), having churned out several dozen books on various subjects,
including biographies on Rasputin and Aleister Crowley, a study of A VOYAGE TO
ARCTURAS author David Lindsay, the classic nonfiction survey THE OUTSIDER, and a
few H.P. Lovecraft-inspired horror/sci fi novels.
THE SPACE VAMPIRES was
the third of those novels (following THE MIND PARASITES and THE PHILOSOPHERíS
STONE), and furthers the Lovecraft connection in its account of vampiric beings
from outer space who drain peoplesí life force--and who may or may not be our
The vamps first turn up in a deserted space craft hovering just
outside the Earthís orbit. A group of astronauts are sent to investigate, among
them the cool, rational Carlsen, who feels a strange compulsion upon entering
the craft. It seems he harbors dormant vampiric powers which rise to the
forefront once heís back on Earth.
The story at this point takes an intriguing turn. Among Colin
Wilsonís myriad publications are several books, fiction and non, on criminology,
and the present narrative comes to pivot on crime and psychosis. The vampiresí
behavior is directly linked to that of rapists and/or serial killers, with
Carlsen and his colleagues zipping around the UK in search of traces of the
vamps (who travel from body to body). We even learn of another race of
extraterrestrial beings hunting the space vampires, sort of like an
interplanetary police force.
Itís all a fair amount of fun, being fast moving and extremely well
imagined. I just wish the writing were a little more expressive. Wilson has
claimed heíll ďleave to other writers the challenge to make people feel
emotions,Ē but in a story dealing with the seduction of vampirism--complete with
several explicitly described sexual episodes--a more sensuous approach would
have benefited, more in line with INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE or Whitley Streiberís THE HUNGER, because as it is the book is much closer to A BRIEF
HISTORY OF TIME.