Vampire science

Sometimes one does get a little tired of powerpoint presentations, but the subject matter can help overcome the tedium: here’s one on The Evolution of Vampires, Homo sapiens whedonum. It’s an interesting exercise in free-running BS, but still, there’s some surprisingly accurate general information about the principles of evolution embedded in all the silliness.

(via Jonathan Arnold)


  1. Ichthyic says

    Homo sapiens whedonum

    that’s an insult to all those that were born generations before teeny bopper “Joss”, those who actually KNEW how to write a good vampire story.

    I’m tired of the MTV generation taking over everything simply because they rewrite it with trashy teen plotlines.

  2. Dustin says

    I’m tired of the MTV generation taking over everything simply because they rewrite it with trashy teen plotlines.

    Hell yeah! Remember when video games were for nerds? When you got games like Ultima 1-7? Back then, video games weren’t about repackaging the same title year after year after some demographically representative focus group (read: “abducted from the mall”) decided that they wanted another damn WWII title.

  3. says

    Icthyic, have you actually watched Buffy? Because speaking as a long-time vampire fan (yes, I have read Le Fanu, Stoker, etc.) I think it’s both smart and funny.

  4. says

    I tried to send this to you eons ago. Watts is a marine biologist by training, and no, he’s not part of the MTV generation. And the book this springs out of, Blindsight, is probably the most buzzed-about SF book of the year, deservedly so.


  5. says

    Out of curiosity…
    Where exactly did this guy get his information that people from “cannibal cultures” were resistant to prion diseases?

  6. Dustin says

    Joss Whedon is a talentless hack who repackages passe tripe in genre format. He should be covered with honey and thrown to the ants.

    Vampire ants. Vampire ants that have real life problems with their demographically representative twenty-something friends. In bikinis.

  7. archgoon says

    demographically representative twenty-something friends. In bikinis.

    We will take that as a no.

  8. G. Tingey says

    An acquaintance of mine who lives near here has done her PhD on vampires in literature and the kinema….
    She claims that “vampires” as we know of them did not originate until the wet summer of 1816, and there are no “literary” references before that date.
    It is, in other words, an 19th Cent. outgrowth of earlier “Gthick” literature.
    No connection at all with the old folk-legends, based on post-death changes to the body.

  9. Robert Haynes says

    You are of course entitled to your opinions Dustin. I will now state that I find them completely lacking in persuasive quality. I enjoy Joss’s creations, and hope that someday you can overcome your bitterness to find something you enjoy.

  10. Barry says

    I have read Blindsight and I have to say that Watts’ portrayal of the vampire is the most frightening I’ve ever read.

  11. MarkG says

    It’s off topic, but I thought your British readers would be interested in this programme tonight:

    The Trouble with Atheism (Channel 4, 8pm)

    As religious fundamentalism rises, is atheism the answer? Not according to journalist Rod Liddle, who argues that 21st-century atheism shares many characteristics with the fundamental belief systems it opposes.

    I can already feel my blood beginning to boil.

  12. NelC says

    Dustin, I know I’m responding to unreasoning prejudice here, so this is unlikely to make any difference, but I can only recall seeing a bikini in one episode of Angel and never in Buffy. Are you mistaking either for 90120 or Orange County or something?

  13. Joshua says

    Well, it didn’t take long for this to disintegrate into complete stupidity.

    Sorry, but Whedon is God. There probably is valid criticism to be made about his work, Buffy in particular since it was some of his earlier stuff, but Dustin is not making any of it.

    Honestly, what the Hell? Did Joss Whedon kill your puppy?

  14. Nix says

    FWIW, the nomenclatural debate was eventually resolved: they’re Homo sapiens vampiris.

    The book this is a teaser for, _Blindsight_, is truly excellent, and much less nasty and dark than the (also excellent) Rifters saga. Run, don’t walk, and buy a copy. If you can find one, that is: Tor did very silly things with distribution in the US, so only the Creative Commons copy is likely to be easily accessible.

    (Luckily the Forbidden Planet branch in London had lots of copies so I was able to get a real paper copy, utterly awful cover and all.)

  15. Nix says

    Regarding the accuracy thing, he *is* a working biologist. He’s only the third SF author I’ve ever seen to end a book with references (Bob `cardboard’ Forward and Mary Gentle being the other two), and he beats them on quantity: 133 references, most to papers in real journals (but some to popularizations and other such things: sorry, PZ, but Pinker gets a look in ;) ).

    Plus the book informed me of the existence of Cotard’s syndrome, which is so wonderfully peculiar that it’s worth the cost of the book on its own.

  16. says

    Peter Watts is great. His “newscrawl”, associated with the above PP presentation, is a fun read, if one’s sense of humor is very, very dark. This little presentation came out a couple of years ago; as a working biologist myself, I found the references to real components of evolutionary theory highly amusing – and fairly accurate.

    It’s true he is a working biologist – he’s currently doing a post-doc at the university of Toronto, according to the website. Check out the “Backlist” section on the site; he’s posted almost everything he’s ever written in PDF format. I highly recommend his short stories – some are quite short, and won’t dispose of more time than the average coffee break.

  17. Berlzebub says

    Honestly, Buffy and Angel were okay, but I loved Firefly and Serenity. It was for a more mature audience.

  18. stogoe says

    Whedon is awesome because he’s not averse to deflating his own cliches. I found teh Whedonlove at the exact moment I saw Buffy season 6’s “Once More with Feeling”.

  19. says

    I never really got into Buffy, and didn’t watch Angel, but I loved the few episodes of Firefly I’ve seen. My favorite line, ever: “What’d y’all order a dead guy for?”