You can't talk about vampires without tapping into the "living or dead" debate. There are a lot of people who prefer their vampires pulseless and wearing eau de earth. While others prefer a heartbeat, the chance at reproduction that the first vampire generations lacked.
For me, it depends. I love vampires. I love new ideas. If an author has a new idea, like when J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood's introduced me to living vampires, their storytelling skills either make it or break it for me. While I would have thought dead would remain my preference, I love the idea of living vampires. I think it rolls into a debate I'm saving for next week--born vs. made.
On the other hand, I started Jeanine Frost's Night Huntress series a few weeks ago. While I don't care for the heroine, the hero sold the first two books to me. He's a smart ass, and even though I never watched Buffy (yeah, I hear the startled gasps from here), I have to think his character was based on Spike. He has wavy, bleach blonde hair and a British accent. That's about all I picked up on Spike via commercials and reruns. His wicked sense of humor, though, kept me turning the pages. He's a vampire of the grave persuasion. After reading several newer series that embrace the living vamp, it was nice to revisit the dead. He doesn't have to breathe, has no heartbeat, can be killed by stake--even if it must be silver-tipped. That series is proof there's comfort in the familiar.
I sometimes think having supernatural creatures, like vampires and werewolves, able to change their lovers into what they are is too convenient. But if you're born that way, and the only way into the club is through the birth canal (did I really just type that?) then it makes each decision that much harder.
There is not easy way out. One bite won't cure all. If you're dead, you stay dead. No amount of blood-chugging will save you. I like that. Real life's hard. In fiction, I enjoy a character who makes the hard choices. They feel more real for doing it.
So how about y'all? Living or dead?
Which appeals to you more?