Sunday, January 3, 2010

THOSE OF MY BLOOD by Jacqueline Lichtenberg


I love ancient history and have always been fascinated by the idea of aliens visiting Earth thousands of years ago and, inadvertantly, kicking off some major mythology in the process.  You know, Stonehenge could be a landing platform or those gigantic rock pictures in South America could be signaling orbital spacecraft.  Maybe the Ancient Egyptians had help designing the Spinx and the Pyramids of Giza, you think?  Myth was how ancient people grappled with understanding the universe around them.  The griffin probably got its start when Ancient Greeks discovered the skeletons of protoceratops near gold deposits.  Take a look at griffin art and skeletal remains and you'll be amazed.
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And so I often have such oddities in my own Earth-based Science Fiction-flavored stories. 
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A couple years back I followed Linnea Sinclair around the blogosphere and discovered Jacqueline Lichtenberg.  She co-wrote STAR TREK LIVES! many moons ago and a bunch of other cool stuff.  I read a couple of her books before, DREAMSPY and HOUSE OF ZEOR.  You can find her books in good libraries and decent-sized used bookstores.  Her backlist is galactic.  She wrote Science Fiction Romance when it wasn't cool and so had to sneak it under radar.  Of course, I would never dream of doing the same thing for the Young Adult crowd!  Oh, no, never, I swear!
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That all brings me to the book, THOSE OF MY BLOOD.  I was in the process of writing a near-future Science Fiction-flavored story for young adults and, as usual, it features some mythological creatures which got their start from aliens.  So, I figured I'd better read Jacqueline's book.

THOSE OF MY BLOOD explains to us all that vampires got their start as aliens too.  See, they crash-landed here eons ago and had to make do because they couldn't contact their homeworld.  Over the centuries they seperated into two groups, the Residents who feel they belong here now and view humans as sentient beings worthy of respect, though a little dimwitted.  They developed alternative means of feeding which don't involve chomping on their buddies. 
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To the Tourists, we're nothing but a bunch of lollypops.
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The Residents think this is very bad.
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The Tourists think the Residents are misguided fools and they'll get over it once the other Lurens (that's their alien name) find them.
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The story starts with Titus the Hero getting ready for a trip to the Moon.  Seems a way has been found to contact the Luren homeworld and the unsuspecting humans have no idea the Tourists have plans.  Titus is a Resident.  He kicked the bucket in a carwreck some time before and was turned into a 'vampire' by Abbot who is now kind of a father to him.  Trouble is, Abbot is a Tourist.  Titus had a wife, Inea, when he was alive, but he heartbreakingly had to leave his life with her behind because, after all, he's dead, as far as she knows.  He meets Mirelle on the spaceship trip and thinks she's probably just yummy.  So does Dear Old Dad and he has no reservations about a little nibble. 
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To tell you the truth, I didn't find the individual characters that interesting.  It's a 'cup of tea' thing.  However, I was captured by their interaction.  It's all very primal.  The Hero must deal with his Bad Dad.  The Hero misses his wife, but must move on, likes the girl but doesn't want to hurt her because she's human and he's a Blood-Sucking Dead Guy.  (Twi-(cough)light(cough)about a(cough) decade or so early))  But, don't get excited, Mirelle's no Bella and this is regular grown-up stuff.
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Titus thinks he can handle the mission.  Go to the Moon, stop the bad guys (unfortunately his own kind) from contacting the homeworld, because all his nasty cousins would come and throw humanity on the ol' barbecue.  Once they're underway, however, he discovers his supply of cloned and powdered blood is gone.  And he's getting hungry.  Then, dear ol' dad, you know, Abbott, uses his telepathic powers to mark and control Mirelle as his food source.  Seems Abbott wants to teach his boy a lesson or two on how to be a good little vampire.
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Then, Titus' wife shows up.
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Protecting a girl whom you're kinda interested in is one thing.  Guarding your mate is another thing altogether.  It's primal.  But, how does he fight his 'father' whom he's supposed to have some kind of loyalty to and whose a lot better at the vampire thing than him?  He could use his own telepathic powers and such to mark Inea and make her understand and believe and all that, but that would go against his Resident ethics.
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So, onto the Moon they go, grappling for the right parts, finding a supposedly dead Luren, and fighting over whether humans are partners or just a major food group.
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Check out THOSE OF MY BLOOD.  Definitely not your standard issue Blood-Sucking Dead Guys.
http://www.jacquelinelichtenberg.com/
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P.S. The cover art for my copy of this book has a girl with long hair.  I like it better, but I like long hair.

5 comments:

Jacqueline Lichtenberg said...

Kimber An:

Thank you for the nice rundown of the first 4 chapters of THOSE OF MY BLOOD. You selected out the right bits that are the functional parts of the story.

Also thank you for the TWILIGHT comment. That was interesting!

I thought it fascinating that you chose to stop summarizing at Chapter Four and just hinted at what comes next -- not even mentioning the companion volume of this story, DREAMSPY, or even much about the "setting." (Thank you for the link to the display page for those novels though).

Chapter Four is the real start of this story. The previous material is there because my Agent wanted this novel to sell to a broader readership, long before there was any readership at all for Vampire Romance.

The publicists actually liked DREAMSPY much better.

The idea was that THOSE OF MY BLOOD and DREAMSPY would attract the attention of the real audience for Sime~Gen (people who would never, ever, read Science Fiction).

In the end, though, the publicists just didn't know how to find that readership. Today it's a huge and growing readership.

As for "setting" -- I'll be posting an exploration of how to integrate Theme and Setting in my blog post at http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com for 1/12/2010

Jacqueline Lichtenberg
http://jacquelinelichtenberg.com

Kimber An said...

It's just my usual style, summarize to a point and then go vague for not wanting to give away too much. It can be hard to figure out exactly when to stop summarizing and go vague. I've had authors complain about me going too far when I thought I didn't go far enough to hook the reader. I can see how the style of putting a novel together for an audience back when this novel was first published as opposed to now can affect that.

I'm looking forward to your post on Theme and Setting!

Kimber An said...

P.S. In fact, reading this book did make me want to read DREAMSPY again and I think it's because of the characters. I'm very character-driven. I read DREAMSPY fast and a long time ago, but the heroine stuck with me. I kept wanting THOSE OF MY BLOOD only from Inea's point of view. After I met her, I wanted to put her back on page one and follow her, learning everything from her position of supposed weakness and lack of knowledge. I kept flipping the story away from Titus and back into Inea, in my head, back and forth.

If memory serves, DREAMSPY fills that reader-need.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg said...

Remember, in House of Zeor, how the most interesting character is Klyd, but the viewpoint is only through Hugh's eyes?

Inea is interesting because of how she's seen, not really because of how she sees herself.

If you have a tale to tell about a very interesting character, tell it from an external point of view to get a perspective on that character's inner self that's better than the character can can see himself.

Oh, and I mentioned this blog and this review on
http://trekbbs.com/showthread.php?p=3744192&posted=1#post3744192

Which is a Star Trek forum and a thread on AVATAR where someone mentioned me.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg
http://jacquelinelichtenberg.com

Kimber An said...

Hmm, I'll have to consider that when critiques come in on my own stories because sometimes a critter will latch onto one of my secondary characters and I'll go, "Huh?"

My husband and I are really looking forward to watching AVATAR.