Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Brain Hurt. Elvis Undead.

Well, I finished a rather enjoyable firstSookie Stackhouse novel (Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris). The absolute strength is the author's grasp and portrayal of rural Southern culture--warts and all, without stereotype, but rather as people often are. (and it took me back to my childhood near Shreveport, Louisiana). Reading it in print really reminds me just how cracked we all are. :) Sookie's grandmother's could have been my great-grandmother, and the same could be said about her house.

There were times it seemed a little forced, like a pale attempt at being the next Laurell K. Hamilton. (Yes I must have a vampire and a shape-changer after my booty, but my vamp is a regular gentleman from the Civil War who who just wants a normal life and my shapechanger can be anything he wants, but prefers collie, but let's rationalise around the whole dead part. Oh, and Elvis likes to be called Bubba and has a fondness for cats. For breakfast.)

Both have an incredible amount of humour and great characterisation (although Hamilton wins in the latter). Harris' strength is really how well she portrays her town of Bon Temps. I'm just into the series of course. A lot of the structure regarding vampire powers and culture that underlies Hamilton's books is missing, but then that's something that developed over time, and I'm sure it will in Harris' as well. Hamilton's biggest flaw is that in her attempt to show Anita Blake's development into a supernatural whoopass, they get more and more violent and sexual to the point of gratuity, eclipsing Anita's character, the very strength of the series. So, I'm interested to see how Harris' development will go.

For the record, I also love Tanya Huff's Vicky Nelson series. Again, the strength is in the characterisation and setting.

I have a story I've been working out for some time in a similar vein set here in Lexington, with a different concept but hopefully I'll do as well in terms of building the scenery and players. One of these days you might just see it. :)

Okay, I have an hour and a half before I pick someone up and don't want to fall asleep. I have a splitting headache because I have forgotten to take my medicine several days in a row, so I'm off to do that and sink into the second in the series Living Dead in Dallas.

No comments: