Tough Travelling“Tough Traveling” is a weekly Thursday feature created by Nathan at Review Barn where participants make a new list each week based on The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones. This hilarious little book cheerfully pokes fun at the most prevalent tropes in fantasy. All are welcome to take part, and there is a link up over at his site. Join in any time!

This week’s trope is VAMPIRES:

VAMPIRES are increasingly rare on the TOUR.  They have been attracted over tot he Horror Tour by offers of better pay.  Where they appear, you will find up to date Vampires wear expensive sunglasses and wish to drain you of energy rather than blood.

Vampires are much maligned these days, but I actually tend to like them – as long as they aren’t perfect! I’ve compiled a list of vamps with unusual abilities, genealogy, and weaknesses to add some freshness to the world of vampires. Go on…sink your teeth in.

Nice Girls Don't Have FangsMind Wiping – Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper 

Gabriel Nightingale, resident vampire of Halfmoon Hollow, can wipe people’s minds and implant fake memories (handy skill for a vamp). Unfortunately, it isn’t a foolproof system: he gets caught out when he makes a Doctor Who loving, football hating dude believe that he spent all day Sunday watching “the big game.” Yeah, he knew something wasn’t right…

Clean Sweep Aliens?! – Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews 

Not really an ability so much as a curiosity, but the vampires in Clean Sweep are not supernatural creatures at all: they’re an alien race. Aliens who drink blood and have super-strength, but aliens nonetheless! These vamps definitely retain the whole “smooth, suave perfection” trope.

The Reformed Vampire Support GroupDecomposing Weaklings – The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks 

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we have vampires who are anything but smooth: they’re undead and it shows, big time. Besides the whole decomp issue, vamps are physically weak and have been forced to reform to avoid being hunted down and staked. Not exactly having the time of their (after?)lives, these ones.

SoullessImpeccable Style – The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger 

If you’re thinking to yourself that having amazing fashion sense isn’t a special ability, you and me are gonna have a problem (kidding…kind of). In this steampunk comedy of manners/urban fantasy spectacular, vampires are the creme de la creme of London’s fashion elite. Lord Akeldama is a particularly well-known dandy whose additional ability is cutting down people with no style whatsoever.