enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: Ryk E. Spoor, Digital Knight

I read this book about 3-Nov-2003. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2003. This note was last modified Friday, 07-Nov-2003 16:05:19 PST.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


A first novel, which I'm reading largely because I know the author through rec.arts.sf.written (he posts as Sea Wasp). Vampire background, but at least so far not too horror-flavored (and remember I'm rather alergic to horror).

We've already dealt with vampires in mirrors, SLR cameras, and film. In this universe, they don't show up in the viewfinder (except to another vampire) and they don't show up on film. We haven't learned about video cameras yet. (No explanation of the mechanism for not apperaring in mirrors, or on film, has been made; I'm sticking to my belief that it's the silver involved in old-style mirrors and all film that's relevant. Why they don't appear in modern aluminized front-surface mirrors is, er, left as an exercise for the reader.) Okay, there's an explanation of the mechanism later; "machine-made" things don't acknowledge him because life is of the essence, or some such. Sounds like he'd reflect in still water. Video cameras are explicitly mentioned, they don't see him.

The author clarifies a little in email:

Verne's reflection: Only the water in places such as his Temple—mystical places which are imbued with life themselves, or in a Greek Mythological type setting where every stream/pond/etc has its own spirit within—would show him. He will not be seen/reflected by anything that is purely "crude matter", as Yoda puts it. A machine which has gone beyond mere programming and become intelligent enough... that would be a more interesting question.

I'm also having trouble with the argument that only a vampire would have taken the picture not showing the vampire. (Two people handing something off, but one of them a vampire and so not showing.) I would have noticed the person missing from the frame and taken the picture to document it (unsatisfactorily, having only my memory that he'd ever been there). (In fact, in the book, the footprints of the vampire show clearly in the photo, so it's useful.)

On further consideration and prompted by an email from the author, I think I'm misreading this. In fact it's the lack of surprise that's symptomatic. That makes sense. An ordinary photographer would notice the figure missing from the viewfinder and think it very strange.

Then there's the 10mm semi-auto pistol jamming with a "clack" sound when the hero pulls the trigger (around page 122). As usual, firearms details in books aren't making sense. Semi-autos jam after the shot, when they're extracting and ejecting the spent casing and feeding and chambering the next round.

The reference to a "reloading kit", and the apparent treatment of it as a small box of stuff, is also slightly troubling. It's not exactly wrong, but it doesn't sound right. But the scene of the hero sitting there making up a series of special handloads of all the types that might, according to his research, harm a vampire, is very nice. (Silver and wood particularly). And the hero later makes good use of some spent fixer (loaded with dissolved silver), too.

The book seems to be a series of episodes. Some of them contain considerable explanation of what happened in previous episodes. I suspect that this started out as related short stories.

This is very much in the Laurel K. Hamilton area—spunky humans dealing with high-power supernatural elements in the modern world. Doesn't have the sexual overtones (he not only marries his girlfriend, he does it before they sleep together) though. Which is not my favorite view of the world, but this is done well enough that I enjoyed reading it anyway. The aura of perversity pervading most modern vampire stories is missing here—many people will find that a good thing.

[dd-b] [dd-b's books] [book log] [RSS] [sf] [mystery] [childhood] [nonfiction]
[dd-b] [site status] [pit]

David Dyer-Bennet