Thursday, February 05, 2009

Vampires & Other Scary Things

As mentioned, Lilly is winding her way through Twilight, the latest of the vampire genre to hit the big time with preadolescent girls. She says she wants to read the sequels, too. After the heroine of Twilight transforms herself into a vampire to be with her vampire love, and has his vampire children, they settle down to raise them, including home-schooling. Or rather, home night-schooling. Being immortal helps considerably in the prospect of paying off their mortgage; what's another 30 years? But the lovers get on each others' nerves a lot after about a century or so, and go their separate ways.

I suppose young girls have been drawn to vampire stories since Bram Stoker, though I don't have any evidence of that. I do remember girls in my elementary school who were smitten with Barnabas Collins. One even had a Dark Shadows lunch box featuring him. I think.

So far this year my reading has been horror of a different kind: sinking ship books. Make that torpedoed ship books. Around New Year's, I read a work on the Lusitania, and just yesterday, finished In Harm's Way, (Doug Stanton, 2001) a page-turner about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in the waning days of World War II.

The web site has some brief information for those unfamiliar with the horrific sinking: "At 12:14 a.m. on July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea and sank in 12 minutes. Of 1,196 men on board, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remainder, about 900 men, were left floating in shark-infested waters with no lifeboats and most with no food or water. The ship was never missed, and by the time the survivors were spotted by accident four days later only 316 men were still alive."

I'd heard of the story before, but only in passing. I also saw the ship's memorial one morning in Indianapolis a few years ago. I'd been at a conference downtown, and after it wrapped up I took a stroll along the Canal Walk before leaving town. This is what I saw.


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