And the companion
Those of My Blood





A Vampire Romance  

Jacqueline Lichtenberg



Susan Sizemore

Way back sometime in the 70s, Jacqueline Lichtenberg introduced me
to a new way of thinking about vampirism with her (and Jean Lorrah’s)
Sime~Gen books. I believe they were published by DAW, as I seem to remember they had the distinctive yellow spine that DAW used at the time. That was a very exciting time in science fiction, as it was the beginning of the era where SF wasn’t just a boy’s playground.

Now, I grew up reading science fiction, but it wasn’t something girls were supposed to do. I was one of the few, the proud, the geeky who watched Star Trek, read science fiction magazines, comic books and novels, and dated and mated the male geeks who outnumbered us by so very many. I loved it all – but except for Wonder Woman (whose boobs got bigger and brain got smaller to the point that girl readers gave up on her in the mid-sixties) there was something important missing from the SF I loved. It was a woman’s touch. I grew up on Blish, Asimov, Heinlein, Clark, all the big boys. Boys.

Heck, I didn’t know Andre Norton was a woman for years, but I found that I enjoyed Norton more than I did some of the hard SF writers that also filled my bookshelves.  I do remember discovering Anne McCaffrey, and learning from her writing that science fiction could be about people as much as it could be about speculative ideas and technology.  That there could be romance as well as action in all those weird, wonderful worlds.  I wanted more of that! At the time it didn’t occur to me that I could write that kind of story myself.  Well, okay, I wrote Star Trek stories for myself when I was in high school, and they had a girl in them.  She got to have adventures, save the day, and get the guy.  Even before fanzines came along I was one of those people
who wrote stories about Lt.  Marysue (actually, mine was named Ruth) saving the Enterprise and winning the hand of the fair Mr. Spock. When I did discover the organized world of fan fiction and zines years later, Jacqueline Lichtenberg was already there.  Her Kraith universe was one of the best of the series produced by fan writers.  It was fresh, original, full of great concepts and characters.  I wasn’t surprised at all when she went on to write brilliant original fiction.  She was one of the first of us to emerge from media fandom into worlds of her own creation. And she got paid for it! Whoa! And they were real find-them-at-the-bookstore, check-them-out-from-the-library books! It was nearly two decades before the itch to write “real” books myself caught hold of me. I n that time Jacqueline Lichtenberg was out there influencing the world of SF/F.

This brings me back to the 70s.  It was an amazing time for women writers and women readers of science fiction and fantasy. Feminism, and women writers, redefined what SF/F could and should be. There was Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover redefining space opera and sexuality, Mary Stewart’s reimagining of Arthurian fiction, Suzy McKee Charnas’s feminist dystopias.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro overtly introduced the idea of vampires as romantic heroes. The first epic fantasy by a woman I can remember reading was Joy Chant’s Red Moon, Black Mountain, and Morgan Llewellyn gave us Lion of Ireland.  The themes that are commonplace now, were new innovations back then.  And the authors were women!
When Sime~Gen came along during that heady era, Lichtenberg introduced an entirely new concept of vampirism.  The vampire not only as “other”, but also as literally alien.  The vampire story as science fiction instead of gothic horror.  She introduced the idea of vampires who fed on energy as well as blood, the vampire as symbiote as well as, or instead of, parasite.  She put her vampires into science fiction settings, gave them a complex culture and, most importantly, used the Sime~Gen universe to explore the human emotional condition.
Emotions, relationships and love are themes that belong in science fiction and fantasy as much as they belong in any genre of fiction, and have always been part of Lichtenberg’s work. When she introduced another type of vampire alien, the luren, in Those of my Blood she continued to explore human emotions and needs within a science fiction setting.  In Dreamspy she expands upon this universe with an exciting tale of intrigue, and cultural and emotional clashes within two warring space empires, where the very fabric of the universe is at risk and forbidden love might be the only solution.  It is very much a story about love, about trust – in oneself and one’s friends.  Dreamspy is a great book, but you’re supposed to read it and find that out for yourself.

When I asked what I should write about in this introduction, it was suggested that I “read the book with an eye to how its content relates to the rest of the SF/F vampire-romance field and the direction the field is going in.”

Okay, here’s my response.

“Jacqueline Lichtenberg doesn’t follow trends.  Her work is always completely original, and frequently seminal.”

Or to put it the way I really talk, “Skip what I’m saying, and just read
the book.”

But, even more important than Dreamspy being a great vampire book, it’s a great science fiction book about telepaths.  In fact, for me, the best part of the book is the amazing way Lichtenberg shows how a true telepathic mind might work.  She brilliantly defines how cultures that use telepathy deal with people who can read minds (or influence emotions in the case of the luren), on legal, moral, ethical, and practical levels.

Turn the page.  Enjoy the book.

Susan Sizemore is the author of the popular Laws of the Blood series from Ace Science Fiction. She has won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award and has been nominated for two Romantic Times awards.

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copyright © 2002 by Jacqueline Lichtenberg.  All rights reserved. 

Those of My Blood copyright © 1988 by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Dreamspy copyright © 1989 by Jacqueline Lichtenberg