If you get the above reference, congratulations! You just won one free copy of the Internet.
If you didn’t get it, it’s a reference to one of my favorite books, Vampire$, by John Steakley. The reference itself is actually Steakley’s internal reference to his other book, Armor. Both of them are easy to find on Amazon and I regularly see them in used book stores, as well.
The cover art for Vampire$ dropped the dollar sign, but trust me, it was part of the original title.
I was introduced to Steakley by two friends over the space of many years. A buddy loaned me Armor when I was in college and another buddy introduced me to Vampire$ when I got my first real job after college. He wrote some books that were enormously fun to read and after I went through the first two I eagerly awaited the next one.
Turns out, John Steakley ever only wrote Armor and Vampire$, and neither caught the attention of the world like they should have. Vampire$ got enough steam that John Carpenter turned it into a movie with James Woods (who looked nothing like Jack Crow, but handled the part well enough). The studio pulled a whack of the budget during filming and the movie was hamstrung by that fact. Vampires (it didn’t use the $ from the book) pretty much fell flat.
During all of this, Steakley never wrote another novel, but he apparently spent years working on a sequel to Armor. It used to be available on the Internet, but I haven’t looked lately and it may not still be out there. While he was working on the sequel, he opened a car dealership. When I heard that, my head nearly exploded. Not that there’s anything wrong with running a car dealership, but this was John Steakley I was hearing about! He wrote two of my favorite books. He was important! He’s was not supposed to sell cars, he was supposed to write more awesome books.
Oh, well. So it goes and so it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut would say.
I can’t really blame him. Everyone needs to eat and selling books usually isn’t the easiest way to make that happen, which is why I still have a full-time job.
Recently, I was looking around to see if he ever finished Armor 2 only to find John Steakley had died in 2010.
Go read his books, they’re really cool. And, I think I’m going to name a main character Felix in some story in the future.