Sunday, August 9, 2009

Vampiric Superpowers

In Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, sexy-but-abstinent teen vampire Edward explains to horny-and-hapless Bella that some vampires have fancy superpowers. Edward reads minds. Fellow vampire Alice can see the future. Edward goes on to discuss the abilities that his vampire family's other members bring to their condition (ch. 14):
Carlisle brought his compassion. Esme brought her ability to love passionately. Emmett brought his strength, Rosalie her...tenacity.
...Jasper is very interesting....[H]e is able to manipulate the emotions of those around him..."

Come on, Edward! Are you being polite, or just obtuse? Mind-reading, precognition, direct control over others' feelings--those are superpowers. "Compassion" is an emotion, "tenacity" a character trait. "Passionate love," well...does that mean Esme is preternaturally good in bed?

Though Edward won't say it, it's obvious that some vampires get superpowers, and others get shit. How much would it suck to suffer through the three days of gut-wrenching pain that it takes to be a vampire and then to have a scene like the following play out:
Deinolithos (me): Ouch! Wow, now I'm a vampire.
Carlisle: How do you feel?
DL: Really, really insecure.
C: Aha, a neurosis of superhuman intensity! Your vampiric power!
DL: This is lame.
C: ---
DL: No response?
C: I'm directing my super-compassion at you.
I'm getting sick of fantasy worlds in which everyone attains their abilities by birth and/or happy accident.

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