Contributor Fleetwood Robbins is an editor, writer, and sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast.
Okay, here’s the question: Vampire, shifter, or fairy? I
heard it most recently posed to members of the True Blood cast during HBO’s
live-from-the-set broadcast that preceded the current season’s premiere. The
actor who plays Sheriff Andy Bellefleur answered that he’d like to be a shifter
so that he could change into money. Let’s just hope he was answering in character, because I’m not sure he
really thought that one through. He
didn’t specify the currency or even how much money he’d want to be. Who could
guarantee someone wouldn’t use him to make change?
Anyway, it brought to mind the question John
Hodgman asked of people for an episode of This American Life: If you could
choose one superpower, flight or invisibility, which would it be? Hodgman found
that the choice people made said a lot about who they were as a person, the
basic assumption being that a person who chooses flight chooses heroism. The
person who chooses invisibility chooses villainy. This is a prime example of
reduction; there is a lot of discussion that leads him to this conclusion.
Please listen to Act
One of the show if you’ve never heard it.
I propose we do the same for the True Blood question, but
we’ll have to lay down guidelines that differ from Hodgman’s criteria. First,
you’re joining a society. You will not be alone in the world. Thousands of
others will be just like you and you’ll be able to band together with them. Second,
you will have the same powers and restrictions as the character’s on True
Blood. What does it say about you?
Vampire: You’re the original live undead. You’re an immortal with superhuman sensory
perception, strength, and speed. You drink blood to stay alive, blister in the
sun (to put it mildly), and can “glamour” humans to do your bidding. Pro:You can do anything you want. Con: Bob Denver
will offer an extra-poignant listening experience. Celebrity representative:
Shifter: You have the ability to change into any animal you
choose, whether octopus,
chicken, or cow. But you can’t change your appearance to look like another
human unless you’re willing to kill another human (in which case I’d direct you
to vampires). You can run as a cheetah, fly as a bird, and swim as a fish, all
while retaining your human consciousness (but not your clothes!). Pro: No
experience of the world would be closed to you. You are one with the animal
kingdom. Con: Every time you change, you enter into the food chain. The sparrow
must be eternally wary of the sparrow hawk. Celebrity representative: Charlize
Fairy: You are a native of another dimension, but you can
travel freely to the prime material plane of humanity. You have telepathy,
photokinesis, and shapeshifting at your disposal. You are super strong, extremely
long-lived, and capricious. You appear beautiful to humans, but it’s an
illusion. In the realm of Faerie, you’re ugly and savage by human standards.
Pro: You’ll be ever youthful. Con: Vampires really want to suck your blood.
Celebrity representative: Miley Cyrus.
Of course, we have Charlaine Harris and her Sookie
Stackhouse novels to thank for this nascent meme. Her Southern Vampire
Mysteries series is, on the outside chance you were unaware, the basis for True
Blood. Think of this question as a fandom drinking game: Vampire, shifter, or
fairy? Which are you and why? Bottoms up until you satisfy the Vampire
Authority with an answer.