I originally read this book about 1980 not long after its publication in 1976. On reading it again, I really didn't remember much from the first read. I read it originally because it was written by Colin Wilson. When I was in the military in the early 70s, one of my friends there was a Wilson fanatic and had to read everything ever written by him. Wilson is best known for his nonfiction works such as the "Outsider" and his existentialism philosophy. On my friends recommendation, I read several of his books but mostly his fiction such as this novel. According to Wilson's acknowledgements, "Space Vampires" originated in a discussion with A.E. van Vogt and his story "Asylum". This was another reason to read this novel.
On rereading this, I have to say that Wilson did pull you into this story. The novel starts out with the discovery of a space derelict containing the bodies of alien life forms. This initially reminded me of Clarke's "Rendezvous with Rama" - a super sci-fi novel. But then Wilson takes a twist when the bodies are transported to earth and found to be vampires, not in the usual sense, but beings able to suck the "lifeforce" from other beings. The novel goes on for an entire section discussing vampirism in general and how other creatures such as a moray eel also have vampire traits. Overall, I would give this one a mild recommendation but I think some of Wilson's other work is much superior.
Probably Wilson's Best Sci-Fi, March 17, 2002
Reviewer: Bruce Rux (Aurora, CO)
Nine years after first attempting a Lovecraftian sci-fi novel in The Mind Parasites, Wilson made another stab at essentially the same plot, and wrote it much better, as The Space Vampires (Lifeforce). The major difference between the two - aside from a noticeably more mature approach in The Space Vampires - is the addition of plentiful story-required sex.
Wilson's plots never move briskly, but they often make up for it by being intellectually engaging. The Space Vampires is a quick and interesting read, contrasting extraterrestrial criminals with the more common garden variety found on Earth. Discussions abound on predation, and the precise nature of sex in general.
Filmed as Lifeforce in '85, the movie retained the basics of the plot, but went inexplicably overboard in directions Wilson wisely avoided. It is still a watchable movie, but not as good as Wilson's original novel.
Not a novelization of the movie, the book came first, January 10, 2000
Reviewer: Nevada Hamaker (Bellevue, WA USA)
It was originally titled The Space Vampires. The copy I read had a picture of a seductive woman on the cover with fangs and a trickle of blood. I put off reading it for a while because I thought it would be cheesy.
However I was pleasantly surprised. While the movie wasn't bad, and was visually stimulating (especially the female "vampire), the book is much better. It contained more detail and contained many significant plot threads that were omitted from the film. If you have a chance to read this book, do so. I also enjoyed The Mind Parasites, also by Colin Wilson.
Was offered as a movie titled "Lifeforce" also, Book originally was called "The Space Vampires". Good read..........