Image from Steve Bowers

An object of erotic horror fiction since Industrial Age Old Earth, the first vampire clades came about when gothic romanticists set up their own gengineered and tweaked subculture during the Interplanetary Age. As part of their mythos about avoiding natural sunlight, they chose to get as far from the sun as possible, and set up small habitats and colonies around Neptune and in the Kuiper belt. In this way they escaped the Technocalypse, and in the subsequent centuries further evolved their own cultures and subculture (with each hab is a separate "clan") - keeping sacred the memory and myth of the 19th century c.e. Count Vlad, the 20th/21st century c.e. Blessed Lestat, and other figures who came to be considered real historical personalities

The Vampire clans had no desire to join the new Federation, and as even the haloists and hiders considered them strange, they had little to do with the rest of civilization. They have good relations with the Backgrounders, being attracted to their cyborg "cold adaptations", which were compatible with their own aesthetic of the cold and the grave (this latter referring to the pre-medical nanotech period when humans were mortal and would be interred in the ground following death). The Backgrounders for their part tend to be simply amused by these funny little tweaks and either humour them or use them to further their own goals

Among the diverse clades and clans, there are some vampires who go for backgrounderization and cryocyborgization, but others would see that as a sell-out, because by becoming cyborg they lose their inhumanity

Among the many well known tribes that have developed and cladized over the millennia are the vlads, wampyres, bloodborgs (vampire cyborgs), Children of Lestat, House of Lamia, Tan'gg DruU, the Convocation, and many others.

It is not uncommon for there to be long-running feuds between the clans.

Most raid hu settlements, usually haloists but sometimes inner system worlds, to seek new victims (although they also have their bionano blood replicators it is considered contemptible to rely on them too much. If you can't kill a real hu you are not considered a true Child of the Undead). Some clades kill their victims, others retain them as erotic slaves, and others again inject into them the vampire nano, thus making the victim emself a vampire (until they can get the nano flushed out, but the clever vampire clades use a type of nano that is very difficult to remove without killing the victim).

A few vampire groups claim or pretend to be involved with groups like the Shadow Federation, usually because they like the name. It is not known what Shadow Federation powers themselves think of this.

In addition to neogenic and symbiotic-bionano virus clades, there are also high tech nano-based vampires that use massively-parallel bio-nanocomputers in the bloodstream and achieve data transfer via blood-cell memory. In some parts of the Durath Orwoods they are so common that if they tried some kind of wireless transfer they'd irradiate their hosts. It would be pointless for such creatures to attack others, but that hasn't stopped rumors of the "bloodsucking fiends".

In the Current Era vampires and vampire colonies, are fairly rare, but still well entrenched throughout the galaxy. While thinking of themselves as hunters they more often find themselves the hunted. In isolated or frontier worlds they are hunted ruthlessly, while in the more hi tech systems if they are caught they get their biochemistry redone to convert back into normal hu, as well as extensive behavioural and memetic re-engineering. But even though there are not many (compared to other clades), they are tenacious, and survivors, and live off their reputation and notoriety. There is no shortage of unhappy near-baseline children wanting to join their ranks, but very few survive to their 100th birthday (usually the newest are sent on suicide missions to prove themselves. Only those that make it are truly accepted).

But there are also more easy-going vampire clades who happily accept newcomers. On Fornius Tup'arrah, for example, the vampires follow a strict code of behaviour known as Gor'dan Thi'tsu, which prevents them from taking unwilling 'victims'. Such 'domesticated vampire clans are despised by the old guard, who like to preserve their outlaw status.

In the Current Era there are perhaps a billion vampires of all types and tech levels, in more than a hundred thousand houses and clades throughout the galaxy.

Fiction featuring Vampires

From The Shadows

Anjel grabbed both of his hands and looked into his eyes; in the darkness her expression was unreadable, but her voice was breathless and impassioned. "Jonafan Chan, we have known one another for most of our short lives, and our families betrothed us to one another when we were barely in our teens; but this is the first time I've been sure that you really cared for me." She pulled him towards her, through the sensuous warm mud, by his wrists, and they embraced.

Chan buried his face in her hair, which was barely stirring in the gentle breeze. He tentatively kissed her neck - she cried out in some sort of ecstasy. In the dim light that came down the tube from the distant lighted segments of this vast habitat he could just make out a distinctive pair of scars on her throat- so like the scars carried by all the other victims. He pushed her away, and caught a glint from her teeth as she closed her mouth...

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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev (with additions by Pran Mukherjee)
Initially published on 16 August 2003.