Twilight is trendy right now. Hating Twilight seems to be just as trendy as well. Generally it is hard not to think of people as existing in one camp or the other but personally I stand outside the dichotomy. I don’t hate Twilight. I don’t love it either but I don’t hate it. People find it strange when I say something like that because they know me. I make all the usual jokes about sparkly vampires. I like to talk about the differences between a sexual encounter in Twilight which ends with a joke about a ruined pillow and a sexual encounter in an Anita Blake novel by Laurell K. Hamilton which ends with shattered collar bones and brutal scars (both physical and emotional) which will be carried for life.

I poke fun at Bella who goes catatonic when “her man leaves her” and groan at the Twilight trailers for the movies. That goes double for the trailers for Breaking Dawn Part 1 and 2 because Twilight fans are fooling themselves when they say “I don’t know how they are going to handle that book in one movie. So much happens!” Trust me, the movie studio could have easily filmed that story in a single movie but then they wouldn’t be milking every penny out of the hordes of Twilight fans out there. They did each of the novels in the Lord of the Rings series as a single movie. I know they could have done the same with Breaking Dawn.

But I don’t hate Twilight. To be blunt, Twilight is a great gateway drug.

Vampires have been around for a very long time. Long before Bram Stoker gave Dracula to the world (in 1897 for the record) the creatures of the night we generalize as vampires had already been making appearances in cultures all over the world for thousands of years in various forms. Even if we limit ourselves to literature we are still talking about a century or two of exploring the dark world of the vampire. Compared to all that Twilight really is just a drop in the bucket so we need to start thinking long term about what we are going to do with all these new vampire fans after Bella has lost her appeal (even if she does smell SOOOOOO good).

However, Twilight is not the only vampire in town. In cinema the sparkly vampires are keeping company with the much darker “No God!” vampires in movies like 30 Days of Night and the frightening young vampire Eli in Let the Right One In. In literature authors like Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter), Charlaine Harris (The Southern Vampire Mysteries a.k.a. True Blood on HBO) and Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files) are all exploring the realms of vampires and other supernatural creatures. On television The Vampire Diaries (which began as a series of books for young adults back in 1991) is certainly tapping into the Twilight fan base but as the show continues to thrive it is growing beyond its humbler beginnings. White Wolf Games has been celebrating the essence of the vampire since 1991 and in celebration of twenty years in the World of Darkness they released the 20th Anniversary Edition of Vampire the Masquerade this fall. Inevitably some of those Twilight fans are going to look beyond Edward and ask themselves, “What else is out there?” We will be there waiting with open arms, ready to show them where to take the next great step in their journey.

Unfortunately, that will be a difficult bridge to cross if we burn it long before the Twilight fan base finds themselves ready to cross it.

There is no simpler way to put it. No one is asking you to love Twilight. I don’t love Twilight. However, we need to find a way to stop hating Twilight because sooner or later Twilight will be a thing of the past but our community will still exist. It will be a better place if we can find a way to ease these tensions and welcome all these new vampire lovers into the fold before it is too late. Our community can benefit in the long run. So because of that hope I have for the future of our community I don’t hate Twilight. I hope maybe some of you can find a way to stop hating Twilight too.