A New Classic Novel

Posted: Sunday, 1 January, 2012 by nicolajones in Book Reviews, Editorials
Tags: , ,

In a time of utter popularity for the vampire in fiction and popular media comes a book dedicated to the lesser known relatives of the undead, the incubus.  The Demon Lover written by Juliet Dark is the story set in modern times, dealing with supernatural beings unlike those in other fantasy novels.  Juliet Dark is a pseudonym of bestselling author Carol Goodman, who is best known for being the author of Arcadia Falls.  The novel starts out with a passage said to be the unpublished manuscript of The Dark Stranger by Dahlia LaMotte, who is an important character in the story, although long since dead.  The story begins to unfold as Dr. Cailleach McFay interviews for a position as an assistant professor of English and Folklore at the small Fairwick College in upstate New York.  Callie as she is more commonly called is hesitant to take the position at the small school, as she wants to hold out to see if she got a job at NYU, and get an apartment with her longtime boyfriend Paul who is working on his Ph.D. in California.  The personal history of Callie, and the town and College history of Fairwick slowly unfold as we learn of Callie’s dreams of a fairy prince as a child after her parents’ deaths and the recent dreams of a phantom lover.  But is this lover who visits Callie every night just a dream?  Or is he the mysterious Demon Lover that Callie has based her career on studying.

The demon lover is the theme that takes up the first half of the novel, before we learn that the town hides its own secrets.  Which I do not wish to give away, as the book is a definite worthwhile read.  Let us instead consider the Incubus.  The Author tells the story of the Demon Lover, known in many cultures the world over.  He is the incubus, Lilu, El Trauco, the Alp, Popo Baua, the lidere and more important for the story, the Ganconer or Love Talker.

We hear the story of the Ganconer when Callie first sees a beautiful painted triptych called the Fairies Farewell.  The story is told to our heroine by the mysterious Soheila who notices Callie looking longingly at the face of a dark fae man in the painting, riding besides the Fairy Queen.  She tells Callie that the Fairy Queen abducted the Ganconer as a young man, and took him off the land of fairy, where he lost his human nature.  The tale claims that he seduces mortal women in an attempt to drink their essence and gain back his own humanity, but that he sucks his lovers dry before he can gain flesh.  However, later we here a version that says that he must make a woman love him to bring him back to his mortal self, but that he fails to make the women love him, and drains them dry after many nights of passion and days of obsessed creativity.

As the Graveyard Press caters to the gothic and occult community as well as the OVC, let us work with the assumption that the readers of this piece at least know someone who feeds on sexual energies.   The incubus and succubus are often lumped in with classical vampire myths; there are striking differences that are also ignored by modern living vampires.  To feed off of sexual energy, to create this frenzied need and then breathe in the life-force as the demonic incubi and succubae do is very different than the stories of reanimated corpses feasting on human blood.  The undead in myth are thoughtless bodies craving nothing but blood.  It wasn’t until modern times that the vampire became something of a sex object and a being with a will of its own.  Whereas the incubi and succubae are insubstantial unless in the act of love making.  And often times they are seeking to have a child by their mortal lover.  So why is it that the sexual vampires and psychic vampires do not identify with the incubi and succubae?  The beings of myth are handsome men and tantalizing women who are irresistible.  They come at night, and take only energy from their victims.  They do not bite or leave any marks behind.

Perhaps it is the popularity of Vampire fiction that leads to the label in the OVC.  Maybe Juliet Dark’s book will bring the Incubus in to modern consciousness the way that Bram Stoker’s Dracula first captured the minds of Victorian women with the dark seductive vampire lover.

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