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Anne Rice, VAMPIRE Queen, Dies @ 80

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Rice at the time of the publication of The Queen of the Damned (Image by Victoria Rouse/Knopf) Anne Rice, the prolific novelist whose queer-friendly Vampire Chronicles — kicked off by Interview with the Vampire in 1976 — helped propel her to household-name status, has died following a stroke.

She was 80. In the '80s, when I still read books, I was wandering around Meijer's Thrifty Acres, a large sort of pre-Target we had in Michigan, looking to spend my money on vinyl and paperbacks.

I had already, in my short life, consumed racy fare by Harold Robbins and (gasp!) V.C. Andrews, so maybe my softcare porn-dar was well-developed, because when I saw the cover for the paperback of Rice's Interview with the Vampire, by then an old book, I just

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