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Westerfeld, Scott. Peeps.

WESTERFELD, Scott. Peeps. Penguin, Razorbill. 320p. c2005. 1-59514-031-X. $16.99. S*

One pictures a high school science teacher looking out at a bored class and thinking, "Hmm ... how can I make the theory of evolution interesting? I know. I'll write a novel about vampires!" This author, however, has a long list of SF novels behind him and found his author calling in infancy, so the potential use of this book to teach Darwinian theory is perhaps a happy coincidence. "Peeps" is short for parasite positive, the "preferred" term for modern vampires because, yes, vampirism is the result of parasitic infection, with which the world abounds (as Westerfeld happily details in quirky but factual even-numbered chapters). The super powers (strength, the ability to leap tall buildings--but no flying, come on!--the uncanny sense of smell, the desire to eat meat, the horniness, the hatred of mirror reflections) are only resulting symptoms. Nineteen-year old Cal arrives in New York City to attend college, but is seduced by too many Bahamalama Dingdongs into sex with a black-haired stranger and becomes a carrier of the parasite, making him the perfect vampire hunter because, like Typhoid Mary, his condition is rare.

It may be hard to imagine from this plot summary how the novel demonstrates the theory of evolution, but it does, and entertainingly. Even non-vampire fans will like this one. Readers know they are not in standard vampire country when Cal makes his first capture by pasting pictures of Elvis on every door and window to prevent escape. Myrna Marler, Assoc. Prof. of English, BYU, Provo, UT

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

*--The asterisk highlights exceptional books.
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Author:Marler, Myrna
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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