Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 541, October 18, 2009

"There is no genuinly forward-looking
science fiction left in mainstream America."

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A SF story I wish someone would write
by C. Florence

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Here is a science fiction short story that I wish somebody would write:

Anne meets Ayn
Libertarian Vampires Eat Politicians and Colonize Mars

Except it needs a deliberately opaque and unhelpful title, and cover art that doesn't give the plot away.

It starts off with a vampire stalking and eating a bigwig space agency politician in their office at night. Anne Rice style lighting and set dressing. Humans are pushovers to vampires in one on one attacks. Initially comes across as a standard vampire book. Non-vampire space enthusiast rocket nerd characters introduced in scenes interleaved with scenes of vampire attacks.

Reader sees the world start to react as space agency victims start to add up. All the Ayn Rand style ranty speeches about 'if liberty then prosperity' are missing. The vampires don't discuss their motivations, they just act. They act swiftly, surely, and paced faster than the reader is comfortable assimilating. There is often horror movie levels of blood and gore, and they may be manic during the attack, but the sense of a rabid animal that acts chaotically is missing. They're doing this with a goal in mind. Make the reader put the economic-political worldview and plot together for himself.

Drop hints that lead the reader to speculate about several major different conspiracy theories about who the vampires are and what they are up to. Are these Freemason vampires? Famous old magicians? Gray aliens? Escaped from a government lab supersoldiers? The elder God advance wave? By the end of the book, it is revealed that none of these are true. The origin of the vampires is left unexplained, but the vampires are working for themselves on their own agenda, which is off-planet colonization and expansion.

Some of the rocket nerds come to think of the vampires as allies and heros, rather than scary monsters to keep at arm's length. Major character girl rocket nerd hooks up with guy hero vampire. Sex ensues, but it's just a romance, she doesn't get eaten or converted; however readers fear otherwise from the first time the chemistry clicks. Vampires turn from scary unknown monsters to people in reader's mind, as one is getting known by human romantic interest. Maybe she gets small superhuman skill improvement as romantic keepsake from sex act, now sees in low light. Relationship is doomed as human can't keep up with superhuman, they separate wistfully.

About 1/2 way through the story, the increasing freedom snowballs and the plot turns into Kings of the High Frontier, with the vampires as test pilots and Martian colonists due to their greater resistance to damage and lowered life support requirements. Again, no ranty speeches about how the vampires planned and expected this, they're just cool. No ranty speeches from rocket builders, either, they're just rushing around building equipment as cracks in rocket suppression enforcement open. Nobody explains the prosperity, it just happens.

Spacecraft are all launched at night and don't have windows, which would let in deadly unfiltered sunlight. No EVAs because of sun. Tang made from blood. The retired refugee rocket designer mentor figure speaks with a Romanian accent instead of German. Maybe he launched tiny satellites from an upgraded artillery piece.

The biology of vampires is not mentioned. Instead of a magic FTL drive, there are magic superhumans. The skills revealed should be greater strength, damage resistance, healing, sharper senses, lack of need for oxygen and gravity. No mind reading, ESP, levitation, distance vision. Seductiveness because they're older, wiser, richer, more experienced, and they drug victims; but no telepathic mental clouding skills.


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