Vampires – Abilities and Limitations

A vampire‘s physical and mental abilities far exceed those of a human being.

They’re capable of reciting the Russian alphabet backwards and picking up Anita Blake’s enormous butt.

Vampires can run in excess of a hundred miles per hour.

And yet nobody ever notices the fucking Doppler effect they would produce.

They are able to lift objects hundreds of times their own weight.

Yawn. This is all so incredibly generic – I mean, ALL vampires in fiction have superhuman abilities. It’s not how many Superman qualities you cram into your story – it’s about how you handle it. I mean, Dracula has a pretty limited roster of superpowers, and a much longer list of vulnerabilities. Yet he’s incredibly badass and scary even today, and he spends most of the story OUTWITTING the good guys.

Why? Because Dracula is AWESOME. The SparkleMormons are not.

Their senses are similarly boosted, giving them the ability to see, hear, and smell things imperceptible to humans.

Again, incredibly generic.

But now it’s time for the least logical aspect of the story, and one of the least successful ripoffs coughannericecough in history: Their skin is harder than granite, rendering their bodies nearly indestructible.

That is so many flavors of STUPID.

  1. Uh, there are a lot of things that are harder than granite. Diamonds, for one.
  2. Granite is not “nearly indestructible” – does Smeyer think it naturally forms countertops?
  3. Wait, I bet she does. After all, this is the woman who thinks babies generate placentas and semen (just the liquid) is what impregnates women instead of sperm.
  4. Did I mention that she ripped off the “rocklike skin” from Anne Rice, and I refuse to believe otherwise no matter how many times she squeals that she avoids Rice’s movies like the plague because EEEEEEK THEY’RE R-RATED?
  5. Also, here’s the fun detail about hard skin: it would break. Instantly. Have you ever had skin that was SLIGHTLY more inflexible than usual? Yeah, it cracks.
  6. And do you know why? When things move, they either need to have flexibility, or they need to have some kind of GAP that allows movement. Someone who is rock-hard from head to toe WILL NOT HAVE THAT.
  7. Also, skin is thin. You know what happens to thin, hard things? They are BRITTLE. Their hardness doesn’t make them STRONGER, it makes them WEAKER. Think of a slab of fruit leather and a similarly-sized piece of hard chocolate. Which one is less likely to snap if you bend it?

I’m sure that Smeyer means that all their flesh – their skin, their muscles and their tendons/ligaments – are all supposed to be rock hard too. But here’s another shocking fact: all those things have to stretch and contract in order for a person to move. And rock hard things are partly rock hard because THEY DON’T DO THAT. That’s why marble statues can’t be rearranged with your hands!

And you don’t need to be particularly knowledgeable to know this. I just said it off the top of my head. Which I guess means Stephenie Meyer just FAILS AT LIFE.

Their minds work many times faster than humans‘ are capable of,

… and yet we never see any evidence of this. If anything, becoming a sparklepire seems to make you STUPIDER. I mean, they need a high-school dropout with no special intellectual powers to tell them that mutant vampire fetii MIGHT NEED BLOOD.

Vampires do not age from the moment their transformation is complete.

Unless you’re a creepy Alia-esque hellchild. In that case, you grow six times as fast as usual.

“For he IS the sparkly douchebag!”

This is a conditional form of immortality, as they can be permanently destroyed by fire.

… well, there’s only one thing to do, then.

However, their speed and strength make it necessary to incapacitate them before burning them.

Fortunately, they are easily incapacitated by large quantities of angst, Mary Sues and terrible writing.

Only another supernatural creature has the ability to incapacitate a vampire, by tearing her limbs from her body (thus vampires are in no danger from human beings). A vampire who is incapacitated but left unburned has the ability to reconstitute herself.

  1. Why “her” and “herself”? It’s weirdly specific.
  2. So vampires can grow back their body parts?! WHY THE HELL didn’t we see that instead of Bawla’s boring-ass life?
  3. This contains one of the biggest sins a vampire author can possibly commit: making the vampires pretty much invulnerable to human beings. This usually happens when an author wants to Suefy the vampires and make them so awesome that no measly lowly human could possibly hurt them. After all, how could something as LAME as a human ever hurt a “perfect” vampire?
  4. But this usually just highlights how bad the author is. For one thing, it totally saps away the tension.
  5. For another, making humans totally and completely ineffectual to them REMOVES ANY NEED FOR SECRECY. Why are they keeping themselves hidden if humans can’t possibly kill them? IT MAKES NO SENSE.
  6. Also, I’m pretty sure humans could find some creative ways to kill sparklepires. Let’s start with bombs and flamethrowers…
  7. It also breaks a cardinal rule of the fantasy/horror world: every superhuman/supernatural creature must have a weakness.

For example:

 Supernatural Creature Exploitable Weakness
Werewolf Silver
Faerie Iron, holy items, 4 leaf clover, certain woods and herbs
 Vampire Holy items, garlic, holy water, stake, daylight
 Superman Kryptonite

Now, these are subject to some differences (except maybe the last one) – people diddle around frequently with what vampires are actually affected by, but they’re always affected by at least a couple things. They need to have SOME quality that makes them defeatable for the ordinary person. They need to somehow be ENDANGERED so the whole story doesn’t lapse into an illogical MESS.

Even Anne Rice’s vampires, who were total Sues AND the protagonists of her series, had at least one of those classic weaknesses like daylight and being “dead” during the day. Smeyer’s vampires? Well, they can be burned if some other supernatural creature can attack them long enough to DISMEMBER THEM, but otherwise nothing will kill them. They don’t really have any weaknesses unique to vampires.

One facet of the absence of aging is that vampires do not develop emotionally or mentally past the age at which they are transformed.

… which, while admittedly more accurate than Anne Rice or Laurell K. Hamilton’s vampires, still is shit.

Why? Because for some reason, a large number of the vampires we see ARE TEENAGERS. Why the fuck would you turn someone into a vampire, making sure that they will be whiny, emo, moody and bipolar FOR ALL ETERNITY? If nothing else, it would be really, REALLY annoying to have to put up with centuries of “NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME!”

And no, it’s not just because “oh, Edward, Rosalie and Emmett were all DYING!” Carlisle would have come across plenty of people in their twenties who were dying, but only chose to save the attractive teenagers. Because he’s a sick bastard.

Vampires do not have a circulatory system.

Yes, they do. It may not be functioning, but there’s no evidence that it ceases to exist. That’s like saying a person doesn’t have an appendix just because it doesn’t seem to have a function.

Also, Smeyer claims that all the vampires get vampire venom that performs the same functions as their original bodily fluids (and yes, I WILL rant about that). Does that include replacing blood?

Their bodies are harder than human bodies, but their cells are selectively porous.

… so just like human cells. Ever heard of “selectively permeable”?

They receive nutrition only from blood, which, once drunk, is absorbed throughout the body.

… teh biologies, they hurt. Should I even bother explaining how dumb this is? And how much fail it is? For one thing, with no circulatory system, HOW THE FUCK DOES THE BLOOD GET AROUND? Does it just sort of soak through all the cells?

Here’s a hint: don’t try to explain scientifically how your IMAGINARY SUPERNATURAL CREATURES WHO CAN’T POSSIBLY EXIST digest their food.

Blood satiates their thirst and makes them physically stronger, but it is not necessary for life.

Oh good. You can lock them in a cell forever and not feel guilty.

They are not able to digest solid food.

This pisses them off, since they can no longer eat chocolate.

If a vampire swallows a solid as a subterfuge, that substance will sit in his stomach until he forces it back out through his mouth.

Thank you. I wanted to think about the vampires puking up whatever they ate for lunch.

Considering that Smeyer just leaves out anything unsexy and unromantic from her vampires (like, what do they do if they smell period blood?), it’s weird that she doesn’t mind VOMITING.

Human blood is the most appealing to vampires—and hardest to resist.

The most alluring is Sue blood, because it randomly smells like flowers. Nobody can really explain why.

However, they can receive the same nutritional strength from animal blood.

Way to puss out, Smeyer. You could have embraced the moral ambiguity by NOT making them easily able to subsist on animal blood. But you chose to cop out because SparklyMormons must not do ANYTHING morally questionable.

Again, this is something that Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton actually addressed. Granted, LKH fucked it up by NEVER addressing the moral ambiguity of only being parasitic to humans, but Rice actually does a decent job of putting her protagonists in a no-win scenario. She didn’t puss out.

Vampires do not need to feed as often as humans do; drinking the blood of one human is enough to satiate a mature vampire for a week or two.

Which is still too frequently, since they need to KILL THEIR PREY or end up turning them into vampires. Even if you had a pretty small population of vampires – and there seem to be vampires EVERYWHERE in the Twilight universe – they would blast through the human population in no time. And they definitely wouldn’t be able to stay secret either, because their population would ALWAYS be growing and they would ALWAYS be killing at least two humans a MONTH.

This also raises the question: if they drink from an animal and don’t kill it, do you end up with vampire bears? Vampire elk? Vampire cows?

Well, Smeyer? I’m waiting for your hokey and scientifically impossible explanation!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s