I’m giving up on Game of Thrones. At least for now. The book just bores the hell out of me. It’s like a great Tolkien fantasy – only, instead of old fantasy, you have underage sex. All over the place. If I want fictional sex that’s going to turn me on while making me uncomfortable, I’ll leave that to Clive Barker’s “Imajica”. Sure, it was a dude that magically turned into a chick to get it on with another dude, but it beats Pears Anthony’s magically transformed girl-horse that’s in heat, so this other guy casts a magical spell on his junk to ride her like he’s an actual stallion. But at least everyone was legal.
Outside of Oklahoma, anyway.
This isn’t the first book series I’m throwing in the towel on. But, that’s not the interesting part. I like writing – well, I like talking about my thoughts and the stories I hear. I enjoy doing a fine piece of fiction, and particularly enjoy the pieces that I’ve written. I just am not what you would consider a ‘reader’. Hypocritical, maybe, but brutally honest. The last book I read cover to cover was likely James SA Corey’s “Leviathan Wakes.” Speaking of which, a sequel is due out soon… best get cracking on re-reading…
There’s one I read regularly: “Transmetropolitan.” I have yearly readings of the entire body of work, and would say that is the largest contributing factor to the method in which I do (or do not) organize my thoughts well.
Spider Jerusalem taught me a good deal about life. One, was organizing my thoughts in webs, frequently shooting along unrelated strands just to bounce back again. A conversation about pants becomes a party from last summer in underwear, becomes a reflection on the air pressure at elevations over 8,000 feet. There’s a connection there, but I think unless you can see how my brain moves along it, you’re lost.
I have also learned better and more accurate means by which to articulate my severe discontent with oxygen breathing bags of human flesh, as well as the childish delight I feel from my love with others. I feel less constriction about my own social bounds, and am always willing to allow my mind to adapt to any situation. I feel as comfortable surrounded by stranger, as I do in my own house in sleeping pants and a torn shirt.
I also love his use of bowel disruptors, but I digest…
He’s not a hero of fiction. If anything, he’s the asshole curb-stomping you while you’re down in the gutter. I can actually connect to this guy emotionally, as he is the mouthpiece of my own lofty goals in life. Ironically, it’s that type of character I feel so much literature is lacking. There’s always this absolutely right character and this absolutely wrong character. Always makes for a better read, I suppose, but I don’t buy it. Life has lots of little greys, and I get tired of books that always drag your face through who is good and who’s not.
Let me use this example by Louis C.K. to help illustrate the problem with fictional notions we’ve had hammered over heads for years:
“Let me tell you something. And this is important because some day one of your friends is gonna get divorced. It’s gonna happen. And they’re gonna tell you, don’t go “Oh I’m sorry!” that’s a stupid thing to say. It really is. First of all, you’re making them feel bad for being really happy, which isn’t fair. And second, let me explain something to you. Divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce. It’s really that simple. That’s never happened – THAT would be sad. If two people were married and they were really happy and they just had a great thing, and then they got divorced, that would be really sad. But that has happened zero times. Literally zero. Ray Charles has killed more jews than happy marriages have ended in divorce. So if your friend got divorced, it means things were bad and now they’re – I mean, they’re better. They’re not good. Life is shit wall to wall. But they’re better, so you should be happy.”
For years, this narrow stream of entertainment has filled the vast ocean of widely distributed content. This wouldn’t be such a contemptable occurance, if so much of it hadn’t been pressed simply to capitalize on the niche of a select few good products. Vampire romances?- teen rated and mass produced. Social commentary and commercial satire with zombies?- PG-13 movie option, with a comic to follow the upcoming clothing line. Deep space horror?- video game rights, sneakers, manga adaptations. Small town girl, big city boy fall in love on the subway?- lunchbox coming soon.
It’s easy to play to these concepts. Lead people on with boy meets girl, girl loves boy, new love interest, girl ends up loving the first love. There’s your fucking lazy ass story. Oh wait- let’s have something peppered in: chinese fast food cooking contest. There. And the other guy makes Australian pancakes with vegemite or some shit, and has a great accent. There’s surfing involved, and a sideplot about an aging Yakuza father whose death would allow her to be fully vested in the Australian. We’ll add in two enigmatic and diametrically opposed friends, and a pet that meets a tragic demise.
I just wrote the synopsis for five books published by major houses last year. Well, that was fiction, too, but that’s the point: What is it about the same old story that has any person reading it? Then you have the wildcards- the ones that set you up to think that’s going to happen, and instead you have President Snows and Voldemorts: stories where the sideplots are the main story.
That’s why I like “Leviathan Wakes” – why I like most of what I read – it assumes nothing about the reader, and does what it wants. It doesn’t really have a style, save the one in which it has to be written. I speak on the part of conjecture, but the best stories in life were the ones that went against the popular notions. As time progressed, though, they were loved, they were modified, they were adapted, they were condensed, and they were sweetened. The tit of tinned milk has fed fantasy minds for decades, and I’m just tired of it.
The best stories are the ones that live like life – unpredictable, bold, and yet small enough to fit inside your pocket as much as your soul.