Steven-Elliot Altman is a bestselling author, graphic novelist, ADDY Award-winning advertising executive, television writer-producer, and most recently a successful videogame developer, having served as the Games Director at Acclaim Games, and having won multiple awards for the games he has penned which include such titles as: 9Dragons, which boasts 15 million registered players; Pearl's Peril, which boasts 90 million players; Ancient Aliens: The Game and Project Blue Book: The Game which Steve wrote, produced and narrative designed for The History Channel, based on two of their hit television series, and his latest game is Terminator: Dark Fate, based on the feature film.

Steve's novels include Captain America Is Dead, Zen in the Art of Slaying Vampires, Batman: Fear Itself, The Killswitch Review, The Irregulars and Deprivers. He's also the editor of the critically-acclaimed anthology The Touch, and a contributor to Shadows Over Baker Street, a Hugo Award Winning anthology of Sherlock Holmes Stories. Steve's also a proud member of the Horror Writers Association, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, the Canadian Writer's Guild and the current Vice-Chairman of the steering committee of the Writers Guild of America's Videogame Division.

Steve has done panels on writing books and games at the comic conventions every year since 2000; from San Diego Comic-Con, WonderCon, BayCon, Dragon Con, Westercon, and Salt Lake Comic Con on the literary front; to E3, Slush (Finland), Pocket Gamer Connects (UK), Columbia 3.0 (Columbia), Gamescom (Germany), and GDC San Francisco on the gaming front. He has served as a Finalist Judge for the WGA Videogame Awards since 2009, and more recently as a Finalist Judge for the CDC's Game On Challenge.

When Steve's not writing he is often playing social games with strange and wondrous people on and off of airplanes between Florida, New York and Berlin.

Zen in the Art of Slaying Vampires by Steven-Elliot Altman

How to control the bloodlust?

How to find inner peace as the living dead?

The Way of the Wooden Stake.

One man rises in a SoHo alleyway to find his lover dead and his own body terribly transformed…

He strains to overcome his murderous instincts through zen meditation and blood deprivation.

He is reclaimed by The Ministry, an underground society waging war with the undead.

Again and again he will find his will tested, and his thirst tempted, by the killers who demand his allegiance … and the zen masters who will burn him down at his first missed step…

He must walk a tightrope between the living and the dead ... to master himself and his hunger. And the way of the wooden stake...

The 25th Anniversary Revised Author Edition of LA Times bestselling author Steven-Elliot Altman's controversial Zen in the Art of Slaying Vampires. Foreword by New York Times bestseller Nancy Holder, author of Angel, Smallville, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels.



  • "Better in conception than most vampire stories; predominantly due to the rising suspense that follows the narrator's transformation… The piquancy of the conclusion, however, is what rates it a superior work."

    – Catherine B. Krusberg, Vampires in Print
  • "Altman practices zen philosophy and considered it necessary to combat the darker nature of some of these vampire kids, through a novel that goes out of its way not to glorify the villainy of vampirism."

    – Juan Carlos Perez, The Miami Herald
  • "I've got all the vampire books. My favorite one is Zen in the Art of Slaying Vampires. It's a spiritual journey about facing the vampire within us. To deny the dark does nothing but give it more power. To embrace it and acknowledge it and see its purpose is what makes you whole."

    – Actress Sheryl Lee, (Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks) on her role in John Carpenter’s Vampires
  • "I liked the pathos of the lead characters and the way it's wrapped in a world of mythology."

    – Russell Mulcahy, director of Highlander and Resident Evil: Extinction



Chapter 1

Why Zen?

Mankind has been slaying these abominations, these blasphemous transformations of his kin, since time immemorial, so why now do we turn toward Zen, the Eastern Way, as our modern method of slaying the undead? We turn to Zen because the act of slaying a killer, however justifiable in the case of any particular vampire, should still be viewed as a decimation of life, and is therefore detrimental to the spiritual growth of the slayer himself.

Time was when vampires had little to fear but the occasional enlightened soul who could muster a torch-wielding mob to their tombs before sunset. Modern society has learned the signs indicating the vampire's presence: puncture wounds on a corpse, an inexplicable amount of blood loss, a culprit riddled with bullets who can rise and flee police.

Unfortunately, the vampire has been glamorized by novels and the film industry to the point where communal awareness is insufficient defense. The death toll continues rising, the causes too often recorded as natural. Yet many still resist believing vampires truly exist, even when faced with insurmountable evidence. They risk becoming prey.

The Way of Zen requires that seekers overhaul their lives to achieve self-awareness. He who would master the Way of Zen in the Art of Slaying Vampires faces these trials as well, with the added assurance of continuous mortal jeopardy.

Why then, should anyone attempt to master this Art?

First, any Art within the realm of man's imagination is in itself of divine origin and therefore worth mastering.

Second, without Masters of the Art to stop vampires from transforming the general public, humankind could become the minority in this struggle, with little more freedom than sheep in a slaughterhouse.

The essence of the situation is, of course, blood. Being a vampire, being human, life and death, health and weakness—all depend on the ebb and flow of blood, the River of Life. Blood contains both physical and metaphysical, natural and supernatural properties. Blood type is determined genetically and spiritually at conception through the merging lifeforces of the parents. The blood in your veins is being purified and reproduced at all times, carrying within it your lifeforce and the potential to spread itself.

A vampire is basically a parasite, capable of extracting and transforming human lifeforce into vampiric lifeforce by sucking out the human's blood then forcing—or in some cases allowing—the human to ingest some of the blood back.

Human females menstruate in lunar cycles as affirmation of their ability to create life. Vampire females no longer possess this capability. This seemingly obvious difference is important. Vampires can only reproduce through premeditated murder.

But have you considered what is happening metaphysically during this transformation?

The human is in the course of natural spiritual development, incurring and paying off karmic debts and lessons among fellow travelers, when suddenly the course is violently disrupted by a form of psychic rape, contaminating the human's lifeforce like a virus. If you're lucky, they just kill you and leave your body to rot. If not, you awake to intense psychic distress and physical pain, with a hunger that can only be quenched by the blood of another human being.

I myself made no conscious decision to slay vampires, although a Master once told me, moments after we met, he divined that my entire life had been preparing me for this vocation. The seven piles of ash surrounding him at that meeting attested to his own mastery of the Art. I never laid eyes on him again, and I'm still not sure if I believe what he said.

I was subsequently chosen by the Masters to write this introductory work, though I haven't gone through the training I'm about to relate. I don't hunt as the Masters hunt, nor slay as the Masters slay. I arrived at my present level of expertise as the result of an obscene accident.

I suffer from a rather rare, perhaps singular affliction, and my methodology differs from that of any other vampire slayer. It is through this affliction, for reasons unknown to me, that the Masters wish you, the Aspirant, to be introduced to the Art of Slaying Vampires.