Bill Hughes
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‘Legally recognised undead’
Essence, difference and assimilation in Daniel Waters’s Generation Dead
in Open Graves, Open Minds
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Vampire fiction is enormously popular because of how easily it dramatises contemporary concerns with the politics of difference, in a new demonstration of the adaptability of the Undead as political metaphor. The fascination with the zombie may well be due to the need to fill a monstrous gap left by the assimilation of the vampire into human society. Daniel Waters's significant gesture is to choose zombies as the subject of a teen romance and thriller rather than the over-fashionable vampires. Yet one of the most dialectically subtle of recent presentations of legally undead would-be citizens is to be found in Waters's Generation Dead novel for young adults, and its sequels, Kiss of Life and Passing Strange. The destabilising of life/death is part of the critique of essences which makes Generation Dead a sympathetic, but critical, view on identity politics.

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Open Graves, Open Minds

Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day

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