Enough literary navel-gazing for the moment. Let’s play a game: one of the below headlines is real, the other satire. Let’s see if you can pick the real one. Option A : ” ‘Minotaurs The New Vampires’ Says Publishing Executive.” Option B: “Post Apocalyptic Vampire Thriller Imagines a Frighteningly Believable Future.”
Let’s pause for a moment here to take in the fact that these are both kind of amazing, not just because they’re mind-blowingly weird, but because just a decade ago, the New York Times Best Seller lists were rife with Tim LaHaye’s Christian end-timey novels. We may be staring down the literary barrel of minotaurs and vampires, but we’ve come a long way from repackaged dogma! (Yes, it’s a far cry from the 50s, when Hemmingway, Nabokov, Pasternak, and Steinbeck were topping the New York Times Best Seller lists, but I’ll take minotaurs over Tim LaHaye.)
So you want to know which is the real deal? If you went with Option B, you win! Option A, which is my personal preference, is, I’m sorry to say, a product of The Onion. Though I’m not so sure minotaurs couldn’t be a feasible sell. If you’ve read Mark Z. Danielewski’s brilliant House of Leaves, (which is, by the way, the only book that ever scared me so badly I needed to sleep with the lights on), you can see the minotaur potential.
Sure, mythical creatures may be fads. But fads do have the power to shake us up a bit, and to think about books and storytelling in new ways. So while I’m not a big vampire fan, just as I’m not a huge post-apocalypse or dystopia fan, I do think the fact that we as contemporary readers have the option to read the weird is really kind of wonderful.