Things went great tonight on KKLA's Frank Pastore Show! Thanks for having me, Frank.
For those of you interested in the Twilight series, here's my review:
Have you heard all the press for the new movie Twilight? Do you have a teenager fascinated by vampires? Stephenie Meyer's books about the secret world of teenage vampires have been very successful, and now have a following of at least 12 million worldwide--and that's before the movie's release (she gained this fan base in three short years). Meyer was recently chosen by Entertainment Weekly as one of their Entertainers of the Year.
I've read all of her books and this is my assessment:
1. They differ from the historical vampire genre in that Meyer's main characters have renounced humans as "prey". They are not vegetarians, though. They hunt large animals. This is good as far as the monster aspect of vampirism goes, but a vampire is still a vampire.
2. There is some violence, although it occurs only a few times in books of 500+ pages. The last book, however, is quite graphic.
3. There is no sexual content in the first three books, other than innuendo (which is mild by today's standards). The fourth book does include quite a bit of sexual content, although the protagonists are married (and the young girl is now 18). This content is far less graphic than the average historical romance novel.
4. There are no occult tools, ceremonies or spells other than Meyer's somewhat torturous explanations as to how the supernatural power of shape-shifting can be passed down through generations. When Meyer starts getting into the werewolf theme, she loses focus and wanders into some Native American mysticism (although this is limited in scope and detail).
Meyer also bestows various supernatural powers on her vampires that read more like something from Superman than anything occult-related (although they could be construed as Psi powers).
This series is unique in its lack of emphasis on the occult, which leads me to wonder about the author's beliefs--she graduated from Brigham Young University. However, it is still based upon what has historically been an evil, soulless creature, and Meyer does not explain what makes her vampires any different in this regard.
In fact, Edward, the main character, talks occasionally about not having a soul and uses this as an argument to persuade Bella (the other main character) not to become a vampire. What Meyer never addresses is how her vampires can be kind and compassionate--valuing human life--and yet have no souls. The teenage Bella also dismisses eternal damnation like she would dismiss a visit to the dentist (not a good precedent).
Interest in Vampirism is taking off once again, and unfortunately, this movie will probably add to its popularity. So far, it's been wildly successful. Look for the sequel New Moon in 2010.