Wanted Undead or Alive: Vampire Hunters And Other Kick-Ass Enemies of Evil

Wanted Undead or Alive: Vampire Hunters And Other Kick-Ass Enemies of Evil

by Jonathan Maberry, Janice Gable Bashman
     
 

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Discover the nature of Evil. . . and how to kick its butt!

These days you can't swing an undead lycanthrope without hitting a Minion of Evil. They're everywhere--TV, film, the basement. . .right behind you! It's never been more important to know what you can do to keep them at bay. Garlic? silver bullets? holy water? torch-wielding mob?

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Overview

Discover the nature of Evil. . . and how to kick its butt!

These days you can't swing an undead lycanthrope without hitting a Minion of Evil. They're everywhere--TV, film, the basement. . .right behind you! It's never been more important to know what you can do to keep them at bay. Garlic? silver bullets? holy water? torch-wielding mob?

From today's foremost experts on nightmares-come-to-life, this indispensible guide identifies and describes mankind's enemies--supernatural beasts, ghosts, vampires, serial killers, etc.--and unearths effective time-proven responses to each horrific threat.

   • Separate fact from fiction, the deadly from the merely creepy.
   • Learn when to stand your ground and when to run screaming for your life.
   • Determine which monster-specific heroes to call and their likelihood of success.
   • Consider your own potential as a Champion for Good, Conqueror of the Damned.

Whether we're talking ancient vampire hunters or modern-day FBI profilers, it's good to know someone's got your back in the eternal struggle between Good and Evil. And this book, with over fifty illustrations, as well as commentary from luminaries like filmmaker John Carpenter, author Peter Straub, and the legendary Stan Lee, provides all the information and reassurance you need to sleep soundly at night. Just not too soundly.

With 8 pages of color art

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Maberry (Marvel Zombies Return) and thriller writer Bashman's closeup look at the inevitable battle between good and evil spans decades upon decades of rich monster history, beginning with the definition of evil itself. Illustrations and interviews with top publishing, film, and comic industry names, such as Stan Lee, Jason Aaron, John Carpenter, add depth and intellect to a gripping and informative work. Lists of top villains and horror genre movies serve as appendixes and added entertainment value. Encyclopedic chapter insets offer bits and pieces of information and history on subjects ranging from the "Necronomicon" (the Lovecraftian "ancient and evil book of sorcery") to ghosts and the definition of fear: "In modern speech the word ‘fear' refers to emotions; but in Old English ‘faer' refers to the specific ‘peril or danger' and not the emotional reaction." With its presentation of the story of evil through straight history, factual tidbits, and pop culture, this book is the horror genre fan's best friend. No stone is left unturned in Maberry and Bashman's fantastic and inventive approach to the world's oldest war. 8 pages of color and 40 b&w images. (Oct.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780806534336
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
09/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
386,115
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE

VAMPIRE HUNTERS AND OTHER KICK-ASS ENEMIES OF EVIL
By JONATHAN MABERRY JANICE GABLE BASHMAN

CITADEL PRESS BOOKS

Copyright © 2010 Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8065-2821-2


Chapter One

THE ROOTS OF GOOD VS. EVIL

Paul Gustave Doré, Lucifer, King of Hell

The name "devil" derives from the Greek word diabolos, which means "slanderer" or "accuser." As a concept, the devil symbolizes all of the baser, negative emotions and desires such as temptation, evil, greed, and hatred, and is antithetical to the higher virtues. Most cultures have some kind of devil figure, a diametric opposite of the God/creator force.

Evil 101

So ... what exactly is evil?

In simplest terms, evil is a label given to anything that is deliberately immoral, cruel, harmful, or unjust. Evil is different from "bad," and that difference is entirely built upon intent. Easy examples: Losing control of a car and running over a puppy is bad. Deliberately chasing it up onto the lawn and running it over is evil.

Most evil, however, is conditional on a point of view and situational variables. Take the puppy example. If the puppy is rabid and is about to bite a toddler in a sandbox, then driving a car over it is a good act, even a heroic one. But by this same example, is the puppy now evil for wanting to bite the kid? From one point of view it was deliberately intending to bite the toddler; from another it can easily be argued that the dog was not capable of normal behavior because of the active symptoms of a disease known to create erratic behavior.

The sound you hear is a big ol' can of worms being opened up.

This argument can be extended in a lot of directions. If we replace the puppy and toddler with a man and a woman, then if the man stabs the woman to death is he evil? If he deliberately wishes to degrade and harm the woman, we'd all pretty much agree that, yeah, he's evil. But what if the killer is a psychotic driven to violence by a brain tumor or an imbalance of brain chemistry? The evil label is hard to pin to that because "choice" seems to have been edited out of the equation, or at the very least the power of personal choice has been severely weakened.

This is why most states will incarcerate and treat a homicidal maniac rather than execute him. Then you have the question of nature versus nurture. Is a person who commits evil disposed to do so because of the way he's organically wired? Or does it require one or more negative influences to shove a person toward the dark side? Case studies of many violent and degraded serial murderers reveal that they were the victims of abusive childhoods. Is that enough? If we're asked to accept a bad childhood as the gun from which the evil adult "bullet" is fired, then why aren't all abused people evil? Or ... even most of them? Why don't all people with chemical imbalances or brain tumors turn to mass murder?

The nature versus nurture argument, particularly as it relates to evil, seems to be lacking a crucial third component: choice. Choice is a central component to the unique makeup of the human mind. Even a person who feels a powerful call from his or her internal darkness can make a choice whether to answer or ignore.

And it is choice, you see, that gives us an understanding of evil. Without choice evil does not exist because evil itself is a choice. Evil isn't the action, it's the intention behind the action.

Under The Influence

In many cultures evil is something a person does only when under the influence of a negative spiritual force such as the devil or a possessing demon. This extends into most forms of supernatural belief. It's easier to understand-and even accept-the reality of an otherwise ordinary person doing an evil act if we accept that a demonic force drove him to it. Especially if he was driven to it against his will, which makes the comforting argument that the natural inclination of people is to resist or oppose evil rather than perpetrate it.

This logic can be broadened to accept that all harmful acts occur because an evil force makes it so. Evil is seen in disease and storms and catastrophes of all kinds, and for many people this is a strangely comforting thing.

We can see it in the rationalization for infant mortality before sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was understood. Many of the world's vampiric beliefs are built around the unexpected death of a child-a child who dies in the night with no visible marks, no preexisting health conditions, no other logical reason. For the parents of such a child, especially those in preindustrial cultures hundreds of years ago, the need to have an answer to this inexplicable tragedy was of first importance. The unexplained is unbearable; it erodes confidence and faith and sanity, particularly when it involves so significant a loss as the death of someone so innocent. There must be a reason.

So what was it?

In the absence of a physical cause-bite or disease or a bad fall-the grieving parents looked elsewhere for an answer. Simple folk could simply not accept that God had killed their young and sinless child. So ... if not natural causes and not God, then there must be some unnatural cause that is antithetical to the loving and benign nature of God. In order to restore some semblance of balance, of justice to their world, they had to accept the possibility that there was something out there that wanted to do harm to their child, which had in fact done harm.

Hence the birth of malevolent and predatory monsters.

If they could accept that some kind of monster came under cover of darkness to do deliberate harm to the child, then this-however horrific and tragic-made a kind of sense. There are enough parallels in nature to give it sense: animals hunting and killing one another. The leap from the knowledge of animal predators to a belief in supernatural predators is not that big.

Such beliefs even persist into modern days. After 9/11 some televangelists declared that it was God's punishment on gays that led the al Qaeda to commit their terrorist acts.

Yes, take a moment here to admire the scope of that stupidity.

Which brings up another twist on the good and evil thing. For some individuals, the supernatural intrusion is on the part of a holy entity-God, an angel, etc.-against one or more humans who have embraced evil. This thinking has been the basis for every "holy war" in history in that one or both sides feel that they have been empowered and mandated by the Eternal to go lay a smack-down on the [fill in the blank-infidel, unholy, heretical, whatever].

There is enough evidence to support the contention that many organized religions have fostered beliefs in evil. It's good church politics and it's a great sales tool. Depending on your own personal beliefs it may even be true.

The belief in supernatural evil has flickered a bit in modern scientific times, as seen in the case of SIDS. Nowadays we know that SIDS exists, even if we don't understand everything about it. Because we know that SIDS exists there seems little to support the old belief that an invisible vampire is the cause of these tragedies. Similarly, an understanding of catalepsy, catatonia, porphyry, rabies, and other medical disorders can account for many of the incidents of the dead rising, erratic behavior, skin pallor, and other symptoms that are commonly attached to monsters like vampires and werewolves.

The Philosophy of Evil

Western philosophers have tended toward a different view of evil, seeing it as an expression of base human emotions such as greed, anger, frustration, resentment, envy, or lust. In Plato's Dialogues, Socrates (c.469-399 B.C.) observed, "From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate."

The great philosopher also said, "The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance." This view that evil was an expression of human ignorance is easy to understand when we view human behavior. Humans tend to fear what they don't understand, and fear of a thing very often leads to violence toward that thing.

Socrates also viewed retribution as a source of evil, as he eloquently stated: "One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an injustice; and it is not right to return an injury, or to do evil to any man, however much we have suffered from him."

This philosophic view of evil is more centered on human weakness and failure than on any supernatural force or deliberate maliciousness.

Sociologically speaking, evil is a useful way for science to quantify aberrant behavior. The more comfortable word among sociologists and psychologists, however, is "sociopath." This is a person who demonstrates extreme self- serving behavior, an apparent lack of a conscience, and a marked inability to empathize with others. Sociopaths generally feel no remorse for harming other people and seldom demonstrate any restraint in doing so. Though many do possess enough control to be careful when avoiding implication, as seen in the actions of so many serial killers.

However, sociopathic personality disorder-previously called psychopathic mental disorder-as a label or explanation is frequently called into criticism by the general public, law enforcement, and the clergy because it "appears" to be offered as an excuse (though not a justification) for very bad behavior. Some researchers even hold that this label holds no more real weight than the label of "evil"; and again here we cross over into the question of whether the sociopath is a product of nature or nurture, or whether his actions are motivated purely by choice. This debate has been raging since the early days of Freud and Jung and there's no light at the end of that philosophical tunnel.

And this ties to a viewpoint presented by the Dutch philosopher Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677), who said, "So everyone, by the highest right of Nature, judges what is good and what is evil, considers his own advantage according to his own temperament ..." A view that suggests that the difference between good and evil is merely one of personal inclinations.

Choice.

Devilish Duality

Most cultures in which a belief or understanding of evil can be found view it as one-half of a philosophic whole; the other being good. This duality-the eternal struggle of good versus evil-takes many forms.

It's fair to say that evil cannot exist without good. If nothing else, it's a form of measurement. You can't have up without down, hot without cold. One state is defined by the distance from its opposite. A Catholic view holds that God cannot exist without the devil, that they are inseparable. And although this doesn't actually square with scripture, it's both a compelling argument to reinforce faith and a simple explanation for the way in which the universe works.

A more new age viewpoint is that the universe is composed of positive and negative energy, always in motion and always seeking balance. This view of an energetic relationship between the extremes is an attempt to excise human emotions and personification from the natural order. This philosophy isn't new, of course, but it serves as the secular name for the concept of yin and yang.

This belief is known as "moral dualism," and the key concept is that there is a constant and eternal struggle between opposite forces. Call them good and evil, light and dark, benevolent and malignant, or order and chaos.

WWJD?

Clerics, philosophers, cops, and judges have wondered whether good and evil are defined by cultural customs and laws or by our shared humanity. An argument can be made that virtually all cultures view murder, rape, child molestation, and torture as evil.

Except when they're not. Or, at least, except when they are permitted or sanctioned.

Murder is considered evil because it isn't permitted by law. The law defines it, not the act. A person killing another person is not always evil. We know that from every war ever fought. We know it from self- defense. We know it from state-sanctioned executions. We even know it from euthanasia. So ... it's not the killing that defines it as evil, but the transgression of a law written by humans.

Many people kill. Some enjoy the hell out of it and are rewarded for it. A suicide bomber, though viewed as evil by the families of the survivors, is regarded as a great hero by the followers of his own ideology. A preacher presiding over the funerals of the victims of terrorism will shake his fist and speak of the evils of such actions; while on the other side of the world another cleric will praise God and speak of the heavenly reward for the killer. Same person. Is he evil or good?

A soldier who kills the enemy is a hero. A soldier who continues to kill the enemy after a cease- fire is announced is a murderer.

If someone kidnaps a random person, straps him to a chair, and inflicts torture on him, we view this as evil. Yet during times of conflict governments have given official approval for torture. It's interesting to note that torture isn't generally called that by the sanctioning government. Since we-and the general public-associate torture with evil, we don't want to regard ourselves as evil, and therefore we give it a more acceptable label. During the Bush administration torture was called "enhanced interrogation techniques." Has a much cleaner ring to it, though I doubt the subjects of the torture appreciated the difference.

And that raises a conundrum. Call it the Jack Bauer paradox, and unless you've been living in a cave you're probably aware that Jack Bauer is the lead character on the Fox television show 24. Jack is undoubtedly the hero, but he has done some questionable things during his race against the clock. The argument goes like this: We absolutely will not torture. Never, under any circumstances. Okay, fair enough. It's a view most sane and moral people would agree to without reservation. Except ... what if there was a nuclear bomb set to explode in the center of a densely populated city and one person, a terrorist, knew where it was. The clock is ticking and hundreds of thousands could die, but everyone could be saved if someone can get to the bomb in time. Every second matters. Would it be acceptable to torture the terrorist for the information so that all those lives could be spared?

Most people would pick up the pliers or wire the terrorist's testicles to a car battery if it meant saving all those lives. If anyone insists they wouldn't, put a polygraph cuff on them and tell them that their own family would die in the blast as well. Then ask if they wouldn't cross that line.

This is what philosophers have labeled an "acceptable evil" or a "necessary evil." Jack Bauer isn't a bad guy, but the scriptwriters keep putting him in positions where there are no other doors left open and only "hard choices" are left. So ... under those circumstances, what would Jack do?

What would you and I do? If it meant saving a hundred thousand orphans from being murdered, I think Mother Teresa would have gone medieval.

That's necessary evil. No one has yet been able to come up with anything approaching an answer to this conundrum.

Unnecessary Evil

Some evil acts can be labeled as temporary insanity or crimes of passion, and maybe they are. These labels cover everything from popping a cap in an unfaithful spouse to road rage.

Take that up a notch and you have multiple individuals committing antisocial or violent acts-mass hysteria, the mob mentality. Psychologists have made careers out of explaining and defending this kind of behavior. But when we turn the dial all the way up to ethnic genocide, can there possibly be an explanation or have we crossed the line from a momentary lapse of reason into true evil?

"Genocide" was coined by Raphael Lemkin during the Nuremberg Trials; it is the systematic and deliberate destruction of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. It's not a spur of the moment thing. It isn't the end result of a frustrating screaming match or a riot over a soccer game. It's cold and calculated. It's a choice, and that makes it evil. We've seen it happen. The Srebrenica Massacre of July 1995 resulted in the slaughter of an estimated eight thousand Bosniak men and boys, an atrocity carried out during the Bosnian War by units of the Army of Republika Srpska under the command of General Ratko Mladic'. A year earlier in Rwanda, a Hutu power group known as the Akazu perpetrated the mass murder of Tutsis and Hutu political moderates; and over the course of one hundred days they slaughtered an estimated eight hundred thousand people. Some estimates put the number higher, at a million victims, a number equal to 20 percent of the total Rwanda population.

These massacres were years in the making, as was the Nazi Final Solution and other campaigns of genocide. Not rash acts, but cold choices.

It makes you wonder why we look so hard for our evil to be of supernatural origin. We humans seem to be pretty talented at it without demonic help.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE by JONATHAN MABERRY JANICE GABLE BASHMAN Copyright © 2010 by Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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