Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Resistance Was Futile

Okay, okay, I give up. Everyone else has already read them, I’m way behind the cutting edge on this. (In fact, I think they've now become un-cool.) But lately I did at last succumb to the genre-novel pleasures of the early Laurel K. Hamilton “Anita Blake” books.

Notice I said the early ones. Because I’ve now read all of them, and my verdict is that the later ones? Are not so good. I think after book seven, Laurel’s agent came to her and said “Laurel, honey? Put in a lot more sex. Actually – put in a lot more kinky sex. We’ll make more money.” And Laurel did, and I’m sure they have made more money, but the books are not nearly as entertaining anymore.

You’d think I’d like kinky sex in novels, wouldn’t you? But you know, when you are kinky, it’s hard not to be really picky about the details. For me, it’s kinda like watching porn – since I’m a part of the sex industry, I cannot suspend my disbelief enough to not notice the shadow of the boom mike in the money shot. I don’t know if Ms Hamilton is a member of the BDSM community or not, but the way she writes about it – well, it just doesn’t feel like something she knows intimately. Maybe she does, and she’s just distancing herself from it a bit to keep from alienating the more squeamish readers. But it sure doesn’t get me wet. I usually find myself skimming quickly through the long (way too long) sex scenes, because they don’t ring any bells in my head.

Then there's the character herself. In the beginning, Anita Blake, as a zombie-raiser and vampire hunter, was a charming twist on the Dashiel Hammett hard-boiled detective type. She was tough, she got pissed easily and mouthed off to people a lot, and if they fucked with her, she killed them. Whoo-hoo, big fun.

Then she started fucking the vampires, and werewolves, too. Which is fine with me, but she’s so damn angsty about it that she comes across as whiny. I mean, a little angst about sleeping with monsters for one book, maybe two – okay, fine, it’s a growth opportunity. But my personal stance is: you can complain about something once or twice, and I’ll give you sympathy. After that, I’m going to ask you what you’re doing to change the situation, and if your answer is “nothing”, then I’m pretty much out of sympathy for you. This applies to fictional characters as well as real life. So Anita, face it: you’re kinky. And since you have practically a whole stable of male lovers, you’re poly, too. And you really need to get over all the whinging about it, because I’m tired of listening to it. It’s a good thing you’re not bi, because I’m sure we’d never hear the end of that.

All that aside: yes, they’re fun to read, and I’ve turned Roman onto them too. I’ve been so busy lately that light stuff I can pick up and put down has been just the thing. Ms. Blake has got two more Anita books coming out in 2006, and I’m still game to give her a chance on them. Better late than never.

No comments: