An appreciation of the author Colin Wilson (1931-2013) - philosopher, critic, novelist
Outline summary of Space Vampires 2
This sequel to The Space Vampires (1976) has yet to be published
The basic premise of this book is that when living creatures make love, their vital auras blend, and they exchange life-energy; when this happens, the lovemaking is deeply satisfying to both. This is lovemaking as it should be (if D H Lawrence had realised this, for example, his sexual philosophy would not be so muddled). Similarly, a mother exchanges life energy when she cuddles her baby - and most mothers are aware of this.
Many people are 'negative vampires' without being aware of it - half an hour with them leaves us feeling oddly exhausted. Others seem to revitalise us, and this is because, quite unconsciously, we take some of their vital energy and give them some of ours. They could be called 'positive vampires'.
Psychiatrist Richard Carlsen is shocked one day to discover that he is a 'vampire' - that is, that in the process of lovemaking he can take vital energy. He is aware that he has inherited this from his grandfather, the famous Captain Olof Carlsen of the 'Stranger incident' (this is described in The Space Vampires, but the second chapter of this book is also devoted to it, so there is no need to have read the earlier book).
While he is trying to learn more of his strange condition, he hears of a newly married Japanese woman who has attempted suicide because - she claims - she has become the victim of a vampire (Chapter 3).
He follows this male vampire - a music teacher - to the home of a famous inventor whom he knows slightly. He feels he should warn the inventor that his daughter's piano teacher is a vampire - and is shaken to discover that the inventor and his daughter Heidi are also 'vampires' (or, as they prefer to call it, diphyllis, from an ancient Greek word meaning 'possessing two natures').
His alarm quickly turns to relief, then to enthusiasm, when he learns that their vampirism is entirely benevolent. Heidi demonstrates; in the process of embracing him (fully dressed and standing upright) how energy passes in a circuit from her tongue into his body, then through his genitals into her body, so that there is not only an exchange of life-force, but even, to some extent, of personality; he now contains a little of her, and she of him.
A visit to a 'vampire' restaurant in New York (where the first third of the novel takes place) fills him with even deeper enthusiasm as he realises that vampirism is entirely benevolent, and that if human beings could learn to exchange life-force in this manner, most of our problems would disappear - wars, murders, suicides, mental illness... For nearly all negative human activities are due to the frustration of this vital flow between human beings. It seems clear to him that if everyone could be converted to 'vampirism', humanity would have made a major evolutionary leap. Subsequently, his ability to give vital energy enables him solve the problems of his Japanese patient.
A visit to Leavenworth prison in Kansas (where he is criminological adviser) reinforces this certainty. Dealing with sex criminals - rapists, necrophiles, even a pathological 'vampire' who drinks the blood of his victims - he realises that they are, so to speak, frustrated diphyllis, whose violence springs out of their instinctive craving to exchange vital energy, and their inability to do so. Carlsen realises that, even where sex criminals are concerned, his 'vampirism' endows him with remarkable healing powers.
It is at this point that Carlsen realises that everything is not as wonderful as he thought. As he tries to apply his new telepathic abilities to a serial killer of young girls, his own mind is 'possessed' by some unpleasant entity. Only by rushing back to the New York train - which floats in an electrical field which cannot be penetrated by negative vampirism - does he succeed in throwing it off.
Back in New York, the inventor Grondal now tells him the whole truth. 'Malevolent' vampires do still exist. They are known as the 'gruodis', and, like the 'space vampires' of the earlier novel, they can exchange bodies, and 'possess' human beings. By 'possessing' serial murderers, they have able to satisfy their taste for 'absorbing' life-force to the point of destroying their victims. The 'benevolent' vampires disapprove, but can do nothing about it - any more than vegetarians can do anything about meat eaters (however, Grondal is working on the problem...).
As a human who has only just become a vampire – a half-and-half, so to speak - Carlsen is in considerable danger, for his existence constitutes a threat to the gruodis. But when he falls into the hands of one of them, a vampire named Kreiski, he is saved by the fact that he is now discovered to be a vampire 'through and through'. And there is an overwhelming inhibition which prevents vampires from destroying fellow vampires.
What Kreiski now suggests is that if Carlsen is willing to remain open-minded and receptive, he, Kreiski, can undertake to convert Carlsen to the view that 'absorbing human beings is as acceptable as meat-eating'. To Carlsen, the notion sounds preposterous, since (surely?) nothing could reconcile him to murder. But Kreiski is not as naïve as he seems. For he recognises that most men, in their heart of hearts, accept that the ultimate attraction of sex is an element of 'the forbidden'.
As to Carlsen, he had in his early teens spent the most feverishly exciting and guilt-ridden summer of his life in a sexual involvement with a young female cousin. We might say that he is, in a sense, all ready to concede Kreiski's argument about 'the forbidden' and its crucial role in sex. And it is Kreiski's wife Farrah who brings about his acknowledgment that she understands male sexuality better than he does himself.
Oddly enough, the situation is saved – and the gruodis defeated - by an invention of the great 19th century scientist Nikola Tesla which, I argue in an appendix, should by no means be treated as fiction.