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Liquid Diet

Novel by William Tedford 1992.

After 'Salem's Lot and Interview with the Vampire and the rest, everyone and his dog wanted to write about vampires. Most rewrote the vampire novel into a modern day setting: bringing the whole shebang up to date was the watchword of the myriad writers of the '80s and into the '90s, where TV took note with Forever Knight, The Kindred, and most successful of all, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Tedford is merely one of the crowd, but his modern day retelling of the myth is somewhat different from the rest.

Melissa French is a strange young girl. She acts normally enough most of the time, but doesn't eat and drinks only milk. She's also becoming obsessed with the strange behaviour of a local boy, Troy Davidson. For his own part Troy seems to be the cause of a number of local suspicious deaths. Dr Randolf Hansen is drafted in by the mysterious Dr Conrad Hofstader to investigate, which he is happy to do, even given that he realises that Hofstader has a hidden agenda.

Working vampires and humans into two separate species a la Fevre Dream is not new. Tedford, like George R R Martin postulates a scenario where no vampire can 'make' another by biting or any other means: instead the two species live alongside one another. Martin adds a positive relationship between the species, but Tedford goes further. He works on a symbiotic level, where vampires and humans need each other and cannot survive otherwise. None of which should spoil the intricate plot, which continues to surprise even when the reader thinks he has the storyline mapped out. All the way to the end, Tedford masterfully keeps us guessing. Another comparison with Martin: neither wrote another genre novel. Pity.

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