"Explorations" of Bree's Novella

A discussion of the novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

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Re: Discrepancies

Postby December » Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:09 am

This flammability business must be post-Ec, yes? I have NO recollection of hearing about it. Stephenie did say in one of the Personal Correspondences that a bomb would be hot enough to burn a vampire (if you could catch one), but at that stage in her thinking there's no mention of their being highly flammable in the right circumstances. Certainly the implication is that you wouldn't get very far with a cigarette lighter.

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Q: Is it possible that a human could kill a vampire?

A: Er, not really. A big enough bomb would probably be hot enough to burn a vampire, but the vampire would have to agree to hold still and let it hit him.

(PC #6)

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Re: Discrepancies

Postby andypalmer » Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:27 am

I will just note that Stephenie is not one of us XY types and, by her own admission, not a fan of the horror and hardcore action genres, so her mind is not going to conjure the same scenarios as those of us who watch the Underworld trilogy and such :D
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby December » Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:10 pm

Er, yeah. I think you're right on several counts here.
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby dandyvampgirl_13 » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:56 pm

Well, that's one of the advantages of humanity- our numbers. We're pretty much limitless. Nothing could ever kill us all, there will always be one more group of humans hiding out somewhere. Vampires couldn't possibly kill us all. We're resourceful, tenacious, and adaptable. Vampires are like the rocks they are apparently made of- they can't adapt as well as people do. (Edward said that, if I'm ever bothered enough to find the quote I'll post it.) We invented the atomic bomb within a very short time to end a war- wars cause a sort of intellectual explosion fueled by the need to protect your home. Vampires are certainly a worthy enough enemy to cause another such explosion.

Sonic weapons are a good idea, actually. You'd need to be able to hold a vampire captive to study them though, to study the effects. That might be slightly more impossible.

And David? Vampires are fast, but not invulnerable. Just wait till I invent a photon gun or something. Even Edward can't outrun the speed of light!
Course, photons can't really hurt people, since they have neglible mass. Vampires can't outrun a speeding neutron, can they?
Anyways, vampires also have their limits in ingenuity. They may be able to concentrate on more than one thing at once, but they can't forsee everything. Humans would score a hit eventually. And we would win. That's the inevitablity of fate- we (the good guys) will always win. They can't stop our creativity. We will come up with something they can't stop, and they'll be screwed.
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby December » Fri Jun 11, 2010 6:03 pm

I guess my initial question is answered though: for most of you this easy flammability seemed in keeping with what you'd understood before reading Bree's book.

Am I the only one who finds this discordant with what Stephenie seems to have originally imagined ? (If PC #6, which dates back to the time around NM, is anything to go by...)

And if so...does it improve or disimprove the story, to make her vampires more vulnerable in this way (to us and to each other)?
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby vampbball » Sat Jun 12, 2010 1:01 am

December wrote:Thank you, Rings! I guess my initial question is answered though: for most of you this easy flammability seemed in keeping with what you'd understood before reading Bree's book.

Am I the only one who finds this discordant with what Stephenie seems to have originally imagined ? (If PC #6, which dates back to the time around NM, is anything to go by...)

And if so...does it improve or disimprove the story, to make her vampires more vulnerable in this way (to us and to each other)?

Are we're talking about Diego's torture, or also about burning up vampires after they've already been dismembered? I think we already knew they were flammable by how quickly the fire caught when burning a dismembered vampire. As to fire causing pain (wasn't that implied when Riley described Diego's torture?), that is new, but I suppose it makes sense if they're flammable. I agree that the PC gives a different impression regarding the difficulty of killing a vampire. So I'm not sure whether they're suddenly more vulnerable, or whether I just never connected the dots earlier. If you can burn a dismembered vampire, why not use fire against an intact vampire? Burning them for torture must have always been an option for other vampires - weird!
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby December » Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:32 am

I'd agree...once you've got the idea of vampire body parts going up in smoke in a Funeral Pyre of No Return, the flammability of vampires is a natural implication. But I guess I'm thinking that implicit is imaginatively very different from explicit. I, for one, never thought the implication through. For me, the image of a smoldering pile of broken statuary had the effect of emphasizing how scarily invulnerable and adamantine these monstrous beings are: IT'S NOT EVEN ENOUGH TO SMASH THEM TO PIECES -- YOU HAVE TO BURN THE BITS TOO BEFORE THEY'RE REALLY DEAD. Exactly the opposite of suggesting (as Openhome observes) that if vampires are as flammable as all that, they've got a weakness after all.

Do you see what I'm getting at? Sure one follows logically from the other, but actually emphasizing this vulnerability -- incorporating it into your story rather than leaving it an unexamined implication -- changes the impression you give your reader of just how perfectly invulnerable your vampires are.

Which may well have been deliberate. In fact, I suspect it's the natural consequence of taking your heroine beyond the story of her human life and into the story of her post-human existence. Once vampire immortality isn't just something Edward's got and Bella hasn't (or the blissful happy ending which rings down the curtain on Bella's story) -- once, in effect, Stephenie is in the business of writing the part of BD which deals with Bella post-transformation...well, being a vampire can't go on being this unimaginable state of perfect omnipotence and security. The image of the vampire as all-powerful Guardian Angel (or Nemesis) has to give way to Vulnerable Superhero, now that Bella's one too. Otherwise there would be no dramatic tension and no story.

Now you could argue that this is precisely why the story of Twilight should have concluded with Bella's transformation. It's a matter of taste. But certainly it becomes a different story if it takes us on into that post-human future. Bella's transformation ceases to be important in itself -- the grand culmination of the emotional and spiritual journey she's been on since the day she met Edward -- and becomes merely the gateway to the next chapter of her adventures.

And what it means to be a vampire changes as well. In effect, she was right and Edward was wrong: it's no big deal, really -- the important things don't change. You go on loving and living (and in Bella's case even having children) -- and dying. Yes, I know: we've been aware since TW that vampires can get killed -- Bella is half crazy with fear for Edward's safety when James appears, and the newborn army is no trivial threat -- but again, it's a matter of emphasis. What the earlier story underscores is the contrast between human fragility and vampire invulnerability. Being a vampire is different. Life (and death) as you know it are over. ("So ready for this to be the end," Edward muses in TW, "though your life has barely started."). But now that we've looked closely, it looks more like a new version of the same.

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Re: Discrepancies

Postby Openhome » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:37 am

I can't agree more. It is a side argument, really, but those are the most fun of all. :lol:

From the Saga, we get the idea that vampires and wolves ONLY can destroy vampires. Other than that, they are utterly free from the fear of dying. In fact, the topic of souls and such is a hot button topic among the Cullen clan for this reason. They believe new existence may be eternal because their soul is gone (This isn't the point I am arguing, just an observation from the books, it is a point to a larger argument) or at least that this is their version of eternity because their soul is damned.

If they are now the fallible superhero with the possibility of death -- as so many newborns, Bree included, found was their destiny -- then this isn't so much a choice between perfect immortality and humanity for Bella. That is one of the things I got from the book. I write fanfiction, and the flammability thing (the destructibility of vampires) is something I wrote on in a part of one fic. It seemed logical to me, and I am glad that SM put that in the book. Even if it only conjures up more discussion, I am glad that the old way looking at SM's vampiric existence didn't hold up for me any longer. I kinda like the newer view. It makes the choice so much more profound. It also makes the books much more fun because the Cullens aren't immutable, and their existence is much more dangerous than I thought it was before.
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby December » Sat Jun 12, 2010 1:57 pm

Openhome wrote:It makes the choice so much more profound. It also makes the books much more fun because the Cullens aren't immutable, and their existence is much more dangerous than I thought it was before.

Intriguing. More fun, possibly (certainly more adventure-filled and uncertain). Definitely less like heaven on earth.* But for precisely this reason, I would myself have said that it makes the choice that much LESS profound. One reason why BD sort of rolled up the Choices thread as we knew it.

I'm curious now what about it strikes you as adding to the significance of Bella's transformation, not diminsihing it.

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*Or indeed, hell on earth, depending a) on your view of immortality (some people can't think of anything they'd hate more -- see Cats on Mars on the old Choices thread) or b) if you think true earthly immortality has to be counterbalanced by some compensatory suffering (like the penance of the vampire's eternal and unassuageable thirst, as Sparkling Diamond once suggested on the same thread). But either way, more like ordinary life as a different species than something with profound spiritual implications.
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby Seeker-Mar » Sat Jun 12, 2010 5:54 pm

We've know that vampires are flammable since Twilight. This issue doesn't seem like a discrepancy to me. Just a new perspective. I agree that before BT burning the pieces seemed like a way to make the vamps seem even more indistructable. That even their pieces needed to be buned.

However, this is the first time we've seen through the eyes of Human blood drinking vampires. They have opened a new world of vicious possibilities. I still think Victoria licked Diego's fingers one by one to coat them in venom and then burned them. This was only possible because she ripped off his legs first and had Riley hold him down.

Also if you think back to the nomads from Twilight they approached the Cullen's in the baseball field very respectably. This implies that they had fear of a Superior group and what they might be able to do to them. Again showing that even in Twilight vampires had weaknesses.

I also don't think this vulnerability makes vampires like a new version of humans. There is one big difference. Everything on this Earth will die. If you believe in souls then you believe that we are eternal and Christian's believe we will be given new perfect bodies in the afterlife. However, this first earthly body will perish.

Vampires have the ability, if uninterfered with, to keep their bodies forever. To never die. They may be killed by other vamps or wolves but they also might not. That is a big difference from humans and not more of the same.

Potentially a vampire with Fred's ability could live until the Sun goes nova and maybe longer if we find out how to live beyond our solar system.
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