The Hunger – by Whitley Strieber

The Hunger, by Whitley Strieber (William Morrow, 1981):

Another alien vampire, quite different from Weyland in her orientation toward the human race. Unlike Charnas' vampire, who values his isolation and would not want to create his own rivals, Strieber's Miriam Blaylock craves human company. She considers human beings “pets” rather than livestock and futilely attempts to use her own blood to transform her victims into immortal companions.

All her experimental subjects eventually degenerate into a grotesque living death. She turns for help to Dr. Sarah Roberts, a sleep researcher who may have discovered the secret behind the aging process. Though a member of a separate species rather than a supernatural revenant, Miriam, like Saint-Germain, has the ability to manipulate a victim's mind and induce a powerful erotic response. Her telepathic talent doubtless accounts for her longing for a bond with her human donors.

Despite her numerous acts of violence, the reader empathizes with the loneliness she feels as the last of her kind and understands Sarah's fascination with her. Miriam's attempt to transform Sarah ends, naturally, in disaster, and the experience of loss makes her resolve never to try again. Thus Strieber uses the vampire-as-alien to achieve a fresh perspective on the traditional motif of the vampire's tragic isolation.


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