The Vampire Chronicles

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Name: The Vampire Chronicles
Abbreviation(s): TVL (The Vampire Lestat), IWTV (Interview with the Vampire)
Creator: Anne Rice
Date(s): 1976 – 2018
Medium: books, movies, TV show
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: wikipedia:The Vampire Chronicles
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Vampire Chronicles is a series of novels written by Anne Rice, and began with the 1976 book Interview With the Vampire, a romantically dramatic story as told by the vampire Louis to a young journalist. Subsequent novels are written from the point of view of Lestat and other vampire characters. Rice continued this series through 2003, therefore claiming that she would never write about Lestat, but a few years later she returned with the books (Prince Lestat in 2014) and posteriorly conclude the series in 2018.

Interview with a Vampire was made into a film in 1994, with Lestat played by Tom Cruise and Louis by Brad Pitt. The film played up the slashy side of their relationship and the array of male eye candy (the film also starred Christian Slater & Antonio Banderas) certainly helped to popularise the series among fans. Currently in 2022 a television series based in Interview with a Vampire and directed by Bryan Fuller is in production for Paramount.

List of books in the series

The Vampire Chronicles

  • Interview with the Vampire (1976)
  • The Vampire Lestat (1985)
  • The Queen of the Damned (1988)
  • The Tale of the Body Thief (1992)
  • Memnoch the Devil (1995)
  • The Vampire Armand (1998)
  • Merrick (2000)
  • Blood and Gold (2001)
  • Blackwood Farm (2002)
  • Blood Canticle (2003)
  • Prince Lestat (2014)
  • Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis (2016)
  • Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat (2018)

New Tales of the Vampires

  • Pandora (1998)
  • Vittorio the Vampire (1999)

Lives of the Mayfair Witches

The Vampire Chronicles and Rice's Lives of the Mayfair Witches series have a few crossover novels, making Witches part of the Vampires universe.

  • The Witching Hour (1990)
  • Lasher (1993)
  • Taltos (1994)
  • Merrick (2000)
  • Blackwood Farm (2002)
  • Blood Canticle (2003)

The Leonard Nimoy Connection

In June 1983, Leonard Nimoy commented upon this book, and his interest in being cast in the role of Lestat in the film:

[Interviewer]: Q. About a year ago I heard that you were interested in doing the part of a vampire. Can you tell me about that?

[Nimoy]: A. Oh, well, yes. There was a book, a very interesting book, called "Interview With a Vampire" which I read some time ago, I think it was four or five years ago. And it was, to me, a unique approach to the vampire idea. The story is told from the vampire's point of view, about what it's like to be a vampire. What your life is all about and what it means to live all these hundreds of years; is that a good thing or a terrible thing? And the need for Human blood, which vampire's do have. I found it a fascinating study and at that time there was a producer at Paramount who had the rights to the book and I inquired about what was being done about it. And what happened, unfortunately, was... the project never got to the point of being made into a film. I interested in playing the role, but the picture never happened. [1]

Online Fandom

While Vampire Chronicles fandom flourished online in the 1990s, it is often better remembered for the events that followed Anne Rice's 2000 statement that she disapproves of fanfiction. (Anne had made a similar statement in 1995 which had little impact on fan activity.) The subsequent threats of litigation and cease & desist letters forced many spec (fanfic) writers to go into hiding, on private mailing lists and locked archives and communities.

The Vampire Chronicles is still held up as a cautionary tale. Whether fans are baffled by disclaimers or suggest fanfiction authors should be paid for their work, they are often told old war stories featuring Anne Rice's lawyers.[2][3]

Fandom

Some fans point to a perfect storm, occurring in the mid-90s, which allowed Vampire Chronicles fandom to grow in new online communities. It was a time when "the Eternal September coincided neatly with the adaptation of IWTV, the Memnoch the Spec movement, and the subsequent waves of fixit fic that arose post-Memnoch."[4] (Within VC fandom, fanfiction is often called spec) Others believe the surge in VC fan activity may have been later than the eternal summer of 1993.

The IWTV film came out almost exactly 1 month before the first Netscape Navigator was released. Legend has it that Eternal September started in ‘93 with AOL, but as I remember it, the internet was still pretty arcane and hard to use for most people until Netscape Navigator got going at the end of 1994. [...] So I think OP’s instincts are on target: fanworks inspired by the IWTV movie and Memnoch circa 1994-1995 probably flourished in Usenet groups and early web forums, which saw a lot of fan activity then.[4]

Vampire Chronicles fandom did indeed flourish on Usenet. Alt.books.anne-rice was a newsgroup with a large number of users. It was also associated with the award-winning VC Spec Archive, where much of the newsgroup's fanfiction was hosted. The Vampire Connection also had its origins on the newsgroup. Originally a space for fans to find contact details for spec writers; the early site may have resembled a fanlisting.[5] Later (possibly in 2000), following a domain change, the function of The Vampire Connection also changed. TVC was now "more like a search engine" for VC fansites.[6]

In 2000, the author of the Vampire Chronicles posted a message on her site, saying that she disapproves of all fanfiction based on her writings.[7][8] This day has been referred to as the Spec Writer Massacre. In the months and years that followed, Anne Rice threatened to sue authors writing VC spec and fanfiction archives hosting those stories. This led to much of the fandom going underground.

Many multifandom archives bowed to pressure from Anne Rice and deleted all VC fanfiction from their sites. This included Fanfiction.net and later AdultFanfiction. To this day, Vampire Chronicles fanfiction cannot be archived at FanFiction.Net. The category for works based on her book was removed from the website in 2000, following Anne Rice's comments. Archives removing VC fanfiction en masse resulted in some authors losing their only copy of their own fics.[9]

Despite everything, VC fans continued to write fiction about the vampires and world created in her books. Fans in the know shared those on private mailing lists and locked journals. Some believe that the fandom's use of the word spec to describe fanfiction stories, may have nominally protected some authors from Rice’s lawyers.[10] Croatoan Fanfic: Where has Anne Rice fanfiction gone? is a webpage created in 2000, which gives a sense of the precautions VC fanwriters were taking to avoid harassment by the author. It contained the following suggestions:

  1. Do not put the story up on a webpage. Share the story with others in e-mail, such as on a private mailing list.
  2. Do not attach your real name to the story. Use a pen name instead.
  3. Do not use the e-mail address provided by your ISP when sending out the story. Instead create an anonymous account for yourself with Hotmail, Yahoo or any other web-based provider and do not include your actual name and address when filling out the forms for that account.
  4. If you have to put the story up on a web page do not use the webpage that came with your ISP account. Get a webpage from a free server such as Geocities, NBCI or Angelfire.
  5. If you have put the story on a webpage do not link to the story from elsewhere on your website.
  6. If you have put the story on a webpage do not submit that webpage to any search engines, webrings, link exchanges or other public forum.
  7. Do not attach any personal information to the story, your email or your website in any way. This includes your real name, the name of your ISP, your home address, where you go to school/work or anything else that could be used to trace the story back to you. Likewise do not include any information about whether or not you are or were in the ARVLFC, as it is possible for them to trace your personal information through there as well.

While a quick web search shows that there are many fics publicly available, it is impossible to know how many fics were lost - either deleted by archives or authors fearing litigation or posted on now defunct mailing lists or locked archives. The Forbidden Archive was one locked archive, created by VC fans sometime in the 2000s, that may have been viewed as a possible safe haven for VC works and is still online today. One fan in 2016 pointed out that much of VC fan activity is limited to roleplay, fanart and cosplay; with fanfiction appearing to remain rare in the fandom.[11]

In 2017, it was announced that a new Interview with a Vampire series was in the works. Fannish reaction was mixed.[12][13]

Fan Comments

The Vampire Chronicles was a dangerous fandom to be in back in the day. Most of the works I read/saw were hidden away in the dark recesses of the internet and covered by disclaimers (a lot of them reading like thoroughly researched legal documents.)

And woe betide anyone who was into shipping anyone with ANYONE in that fandom. You were most at risk, it seemed, if your vision of the characters deviated from the creators ‘original intentions.’ (Hypocritical of a woman who made most of her living writing erotica.)

Imagine getting sued over a headcanon…

Put simply: we all lived in fear of her team of highly paid lawyers descending from the heavens and taking us to court over a slashfic less than 500 words long.[14]
I was one of the ones who got a love letter from Anne Rice’s lawyers. Bear in mind that up until that point her publisher had encouraged fanfic and worked with the archive keeper (one of my roommates at the time) to drum up publicity for upcoming books and so on.

[...] But where fanfic is concerned not only did we get nastygrams but one of my friends had Anne’s lawyer trying to fuck up her own privately owned business which had NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING ANNE RELATED. Said friend was a small business owner with health issues who wasn’t exactly rolling in money, so guess how well that went?

[...] Hence why those of us in the fandom at the time who still gave enough of a shit to want to keep writing fic DID keep writing fic, but shoved it so far underground and slapped it with so many disclaimers they could’ve outweighed the word count of War & Peace. It wasn’t just for the purpose of protecting fic but for trying to protect our personal lives as well.[15]
Casual annual reminder that when I was ten years old, Anne Rice wanted to sue me for writing Interview with a Vampire fanfiction and sharing it in Yahoo Groups[16]

Example Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Spec (Fanfiction)

Meta

Fanart

Vids

Communities, Webrings & Mailing Lists

Webrings

Mailing List

  • Anne Rice Character Slash "Anne Rice Character Slash". Archived from the original on 2003-10-27. Description"Take LeStat (The Vampire Chronicles) and the many other characters created by Anne Rice and slash them to the max. We're interested in the gooey sweet of smarm and beyond. All stories will eventually be posted to the WWOMB unless they include a Do Not Archive notation. I don't have the time or inclination to moderate this list for tender ears, so adults only, okay?"

Livejournal & Dreamwidth

Challenges

Archives & Fannish Links

References

  1. ^ comments at Star Trek Houston, excerpted in Renaissance: A Study of His Art #3
  2. ^ So I’m on AO3 ...(the forgotten history of disclaimers), a meta with many replies referencing Anne Rice fandom (2016)
  3. ^ What’s going on with all the “if you donate to AO3 you’re evil” posting on Tumblr?, a meta with many replies that menton Anne Rice as one reason why fanfiction should remain non profit. (2021)
  4. ^ a b hey vc fans Tumblr post by goth-mabel. Reblog by codenamecesare.
  5. ^ abar FAQ
  6. ^ TVC Home page, archive from Aug 26 2001.
  7. ^ IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM ANNE ON "FAN FICTION" on her official Message to Fans page, posted April 2000, accessed 2010-11-18
  8. ^ Where Has the Anne Rice Fanfiction Gone? Posted some time in 2000, accessed 2010-11-18
  9. ^ Help me find my fics! :( posted at vc-fanfiction LJ community, 2010.
  10. ^ A Fandom History Primer (Part II) by Linda H. Codega (2018)
  11. ^ [https://i-want-my-iwtv.tumblr.com/post/139861649469/what-they-say-im-fine-what-they-mean-why-is what they say: I'm fine. what they mean: Why is there so little Vampire Chronicles fan activity or content?] by i-want-my-iwtv 2016
  12. ^ It looks like Anne Rice is back. Has anyone warned the new kids? at /r/FanFiction, Aug 29 2021.
  13. ^ Do not trust Anne Rice, Tumblr post by rsasai
  14. ^ Tumblr reblog by demonicae (2016)
  15. ^ Tumblr reblog by teabq (2016)
  16. ^ Tweet by @blind_bombshell, July 11 2019