Friday, November 19, 2010


I was reading last month's Harpers today, because periodicals mailed in to Hong Kong go via some odd parallel dimension where two months' worth of some things gets queued up over the Pacific and then barfs itself into the magazine rack at the supermarket all at once, when I got to reading about a visit to the Balkans by Tea Obreht, and the legends of the vampires she encountered there.

Initially I was a little sceptical, because I didn't want to read more about vampires than I absolutely positively have to - because I'm not a teenage girl with black lipstick, vampires excite me not - but I got a page into it and then read the most fantastic sentence:
These manifestations are not to be confused with vampires that were never human in the first place, which may even assume a vegetal guise (among numerous indignities through history, the Roma suffered the obscure nuisance of vampire watermelons).
Vampire. Watermelons.

I was gobsmacked, and then I was speechless, and then I had to tell everyone about this, because if Ms Obreht can just toss off a mention of fruit-based vampires without having any need to follow it up, you know she's got so much more wonderful writing up her sleeve, just waiting to roll out. Although if The Tiger's Wife has a complete lack of bananas-that-happen-to-be-werewolves, or zombie pumpkins, or a squamous and rugose pineapple, then I for one will be quite disappointed.

(There are some other worrying consequences. If it did turn out that watermelons were in the service of the Lord of Darkness, then I will have to rejig my material about a half-man, half-watermelon superhero to adjust for this. And the incubus will cast a whole different shadow over my watermelon-childbirth material. And in either case, I might be starting to create a worry in some of my readers' minds that I have just a little bit too much about watermelons in my repertoire. Ahem.)


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