Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Fall in love with the Prince and you might be salvaged from perdition


Since I have read all the volumes of The Vampire Chronicles from the very start a long, long time ago, plus all the book about the witches and the one volume in which witches and vampires cross, plus the more recent volumes on werewolves without forgetting the volumes on Jesus Christ and the volumes on the angels who can travel in time to solve dramas and prevent crimes. In short we have read it all, including the various erotic novels under various pen names.

We also know that the cinema has not followed because Anne Rice, when she sold the adaptation rights of the very first trilogy was not careful enough not to sell the character Lestat and by doing that mistake all the volumes have been blocked for the cinema by someone who bought the exclusive right to use Lestat. That opened the gates to other approaches, particularly on television, approaches that are narrow-minded and exclusively centered on the blood thirst and the blood hunt. But Anne Rice came back to Lestat de Lioncourt and made him the Prince by his acceptation to host the spirit Amel so far only hosted by one of the two red-haired witches Maharet and Mekare, after he was ousted from Akasha, the Queen of the Damned, when she is executed by the other vampires led by Lestat because she had the project of enslaving g the human species and making them the blood-providing chattel vampires need to survive, in Akasha’s vision.

But Anne Rice does not want to lock the vampires up in their own tribe. From the very start they were one tribe among others with the Talamasca that studied all paranormal groups. The others were ghosts of various types, werewolves in the distance, witches of course and humans (who are just as much paranormal as any other group). In one volume the witches and the vampires cross but that had no real future. In this volume Anne Rice makes the newly reorganized or rather the presently reorganizing vampire tribe into some kind of democratic kingdom based on the authority of the Prince, Lestat himself, who was elected by the community, and of Marius who uses his Roman origin and culture to bring some legal thinking and organization to this community, even speaking of a constitution.

That’s where we had stopped in the previous volume, Prince Lestat, but in this volume we start with a rather long chapter about some rogue but very ancient and very powerful vampires that live in Budapest and detain a non-human and non-vampire individual, have detained him for many years. He is a strange character. Very emotional and of a different species since he can be drained of all his blood and yet he won’t die, he will regenerate. He can even be brutalized in any way: his body will regenerate too. He is thus a permanent blood source and a toy you can break in all possible ways since he will be whole again some short time later. That’s the starting point. I do not intend to tell or follow the story. I am going to make a few remarks that will be more general.

This being is Derek and he is an artificial being, a Replimoid, devised by an extra-terrestrial species evolved from birds, along with three others and that had been sent to Earth by these extra-terrestrials to punish a certain Amel they had sent there before, destroy the civilization he had built (the city and civilization of Atalantaya, in our mythical culture Atlantis) along with the whole mammalian species that had evolved on earth as the dominant species. These extra-terrestrials are called the Parents and they want to bring Earth back to the beginning so that the mammals would not evolve as the dominant species, leaving free evolutionary scope to birds, reptiles and even insects.

This avian superior species is controlling the world, the universe, maybe the cosmos. They have super powers and super intelligence. They have developed a very advanced civilization that enables them to conceive, design and build these Replimoids that/who are their soldiers against Amel. But Amel is not a Replimoid per se because he is in fact a human who was abducted by the Parents and turned into what he is, a super brain that has imagination and science at the tip of his fingers and was sent back on Earth to destroy once again the mammalian species, as if it were an obsession on the parents’ side. He did not fulfill the Parents’ plan but his own which implies bringing his knowledge and know-how to these humans to make them evolve. He defends the mammalian concept of “fairness” and tries to build a model society that would attract all humans and make them change from some kind of bloody and barbaric monsters to some sweet, soft and cultivated genus. So he builds Atalantaya and is extremely successful, though the Wilderness remains the barbaric Wilderness, and yet the Replimoids started their journey there in the Wilderness and had some very good experience.

His main contribution to the humans, to Earth and to the universe is a new substance known as luracastria. It is some kind of metal or plastic or some other man-made synthetic substance that is in fact a living geological substance. It is more or less explained that the Replimoids are made with this substance and that Amel was turned into what he has become by being injected with this substance. Amel’s objective is to pacify the human species. But that does not satisfy the Parents who have had many mini-cameras installed on Earth to observe the human beings’ behavior and then to constantly broadcast the scenes of violence, suffering, cruelty, bloodletting and other sacrifices and tortures on vast TV walls because they nurture their own existence with such gross films. Amel was not sent to destroy the human species but to guarantee it would remain violent, cruel and barbaric. He does the reverse.

The four next Replimoids, one female Kapetria, and three males, Garekyn, Derek and Welf, are sent to attract Amel outside the protective dome he has built over Atalantaya in order to capture him and thus destroy his project that aims at bringing peace to Earth. The Parents want to keep their brutal entertainment. But the Replimoids are fascinated by what they see, including among the “savages” that live in the Wilderness outside Atalantaya, but particularly by what Amel has achieved.

The Parents and their star Bravenna have the last word since the star explodes, falls on Earth and destroy Atalantaya and brings a very dark period in which the light of the sun hardly reaches the Earth that is condemned to get into the last Ice Age. This is of course a myth trying to explain the “flood” and the “sinking of Atlantis” as the result of some cataclysmic event that triggered the last or latest ice age. This is of course illogical since the Ice Age brought the level of oceans down 120 meters (one hundred and twenty meters. The flood, if flood there was came only after the Ice Age, hence when the temperature went back up (maybe after the cataclysmic darkness comes to an end, though we know so little about these climactic elements, apart from the level of the sea). The truth here does not matter because it is a nice story. Amel’s body is destroyed? His soul survives and becomes errant. It will be in contact with Mekare and Maharet in ancient Egypt and it will plunge into Akasha, thus creating the first vampire.

The Replimoids want to recuperate Amel; to liberate him from Lestat and instate him in a Replimoid body. That intention could mean war between the vampires and the Replimoids. In the meantime, and by accident the Replimoids discover that any part of their body when cut off will evolve in a few hours into a full Replimoid that will be slightly more advanced than the Replimoid they come from. This reproduction by scissiparity, so to say, or self-restoring and self-developing amputation, is another danger that could menace the vampires. But Lestat decides to trust the Replimoids and to trust Amel in him and thus to let Kapetria release Amel from his body and invest him into a Replimoid body.

But what is the meaning of this book?

Atalantaya is a utopia of the future world that is being produced by humanity. Luracastria is also a utopia about a universal substance, material or chemical that could produce with no work at all absolutely anything and make humanity, not so much idle and lazy, but highly creative: too bad of the proponents of the Singularity of Ray Kurzweil. The two metaphors are thus emphasizing this idea that the future is brilliant provided we respect basic principles like the freedom of repression and the freedom of imagination and inspiration. But peace is the very first condition that must be fulfilled. Lestat imposes peace between the vampires and the Replimoids. On this basis something brilliant becomes possible.

Anne Rice rejects the theory of the plot from some Extra-terrestrials who try to control the universe with their blood lust, maintaining the universe in barbarism and barbarity to just satisfy their perverse desires. So humanity is by definition and by default good, fair and generous. This is of course some simpleminded optimism. Humanity is both sublimely good and perversely bad. There is no escape from this duality. Along that line Anne Rice forgets her Catholicism and the Catholic Church’s cult of the crucifixion which is in no way an act of liberation but an extreme act against the peaceful and friendly side of humanity by making them cultivate the adoration of suffering and blood: this is my blood and this is my flesh, hence the symbolical practice of blood drinking, or vampirism, and cannibalism.

“The major religion of the Western world taught that suffering is good and suffering has value! . . . People speaking of ‘offering up their suffering’ to a God who valued it. . . A God who sent himself in human form to the planet to die a horrific death through crucifixion to appease himself with His Own Incarnate suffering. . . The God Incarnate religion that holds that God Himself works through pain and suffering to ‘redeem’ His creatures from His own wrath. . . The concept of eternal damnation. . . A place of eternal unspeakable conscious agony for all human beings who are not redeemed through acceptance of the horrific execution of this God Himself as His Own Son in the flesh. . . To consecrate the suffering of God Incarnate on His fabled cross as an act of love!” (page 305)

And Anne Rice even generalizes this first discourse into what follows:

“What the Maker has always wanted – penance, and self-abnegation, and self-denial. . . The inherent value of denying oneself, starving oneself, disciplining oneself. . . Someday the Maker will bring him and the offspring of his pride and greed to ruin!” (p.312-313)

And the accusation against the Parents can then follow:

“A way to harvest souls. . . Use those souls as a concentrated form of energy, a concentrated expression of energy, enhanced and deepened and perfected by suffering so that those souls are like ripe and perfect fruit to the Bravennians and maybe even to others in the “Realm of Worlds’? . . . Suffering itself helps to generate the soul. . . the energy given off by suffering. . . some other intangible ingredient, perhaps such as an overview, an attitude, a perspective on life, that too might help the formation of a soul.” (p. 316)

When you know the concept of “soul” is central in the Christian religion, this accusation is extremely serious. The only religion that does not refer and even rejects this concept of “soul” or the approaching concept of “self” is Buddhism for which due to the constant changing of every single thing and being, no one can state a person of any sort has a self of any permanence or stability, hence the concept of soul is rejected as vain and unrealistic. But Anne Rice seems to target the Christian religion as the main religion of the West whereas some older religious traditions in full swing today, like Islam (emerging from the Zealots of Judaism), Judaism itself, Hinduism and of course the Tibetan branch of Buddhism state exactly the same thing with Hinduism casting this suffering in their caste system that makes suffering part of the very divine definition of the majority of the people, and first of all the Dalits who are not even seen as human: up to very recently it was not a crime to beat, violate, manhandle or impose whatever torturing or violence to the Dalits, the Untouchables, who could be deprived of food, water and even life by any member of the other castes. And even if today it seems to have been promoted to the status of crime, such behavior goes still unpunished, particularly if the victims are Dalit women, thus bearing two inferior statuses.

Of course that would completely erase the plot from some superior power, extra-terrestrial or not, except God himself, the Maker himself. You should just read the Book of the Dead of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition to see how far suffering can be pushed as a normal state of affairs for any human being, for the immense majority of them with an extremely small minority that can be redeemed through nirvana.

But, beyond this rather shallow plot theory attached to a Maker or a God that is definitely Christian, the most important force of this book is the belief that Love is the fundamental force that will bring about some evolution towards a better future. And it is clear that love has nothing to do with satisfying some hormonal drive. Love is the only possibility for any being to respect and appreciate any other being. The book is founded on the love between Lestat and his own son in the Blood, Louis, and with even more intensity between Lestat and Amel, as long as Amel is inside Lestat, and then between Lestat the Vampire and Amel the Replimoid as soon as Amel is outside Lestat. But let’s listen to Lestat final words (the only first person speaking in the book because all other characters including Amel are third person:

“To love any one person or thing truly is the beginning of the wisdom to love all things. This has to be so. It has to be. I believe it and I don’t really believe anything else.” (p. 440)

So, rush to that book and read it compulsively with the widest empathy possible and accept to fall in love with the characters. It is your love that is going to give them live and force and virtue. And just wait till the next volume comes. Soon I hope.


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