Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.
People’ve been asking me to have a go at this for a while, and what do you know, it turns out to be exactly the same type of excrement as Jim Butcher! Misogyny? Check. Wish-fulfillment bullshit? Oh yes. Juvenile Gary Stu material, aka Rothfuss? You fucking bet.
Jeff Winston was 43 and trapped in a tepid marriage and a dead-end job, waiting for that time when he could be truly happy, when he died.
And when he woke and he was 18 again, with all his memories of the next 25 years intact. He could live his life again, avoiding the mistakes, making money from his knowledge of the future, seeking happiness.
Until he dies at 43 and wakes up back in college again…
This book was published in 1987, and yea, there shalt be many cries of “BUT ‘TWAS A PRODUCT OF ITS TIME” since 1987 was–like–the fucking Middle Ages, man. It’s steeped to the eyeballs in what I’ll charitably call the American Dream, a heaping shitload of sexism that makes Philip K Dick look vaguely evolved, and an easy rival to both Jonathan Lethem and Jim Butcher when it comes to unrelenting misogyny. For fuck’s sake, the story begins with Our Hero–middle-class white dude experiencing a midlife crisis–being nagged by his disillusioned wife. Then he dies.
Unfortunately, that’s not the last we see of Jeff Winston.
Icky, rapey situations follow after the cut. No, the text of course doesn’t question or challenge them in any way. What did you expect? This is Planet Gor. I must say, by the way, that whoever designed these covers must’ve really Not Given a Shit. Just look at them: not a single shit is given. Less tacky than these, sure, but damn that’s a lot of ketchup spillage.
I hope everyone likes my take on one of the From Dead to Worse covers!
Spoilers: it’s still full of disgusting misogyny and racism. Hope you weren’t expecting anything else. Poor Johanna Parker, whoever she is: imagine having your voice associated with bigoted dreck. I find it telling that on this cover art they appear to have used a mannequin that’s made of some kind of fabric. Unintended implication: white people don’t look quite human.
Last time I forgot to include this little gem:
The chauffeur shook my hand gently, as if he didn’t want to break my bones, and then he nodded to Amelia. “Miss Amelia,” he said, and Amelia looked angry, as if she was going to tell him to cut the “Miss,” but then she reconsidered.
Tyrese Marley was a very, very light-skinned African-American. He was far from black; his skin was more the color of old ivory. His eyes were bright hazel. Though his hair was black, it wasn’t curly, and it had a red cast. Marley was a man you’d always look at twice.
We have a black character, and what is he? A white man’s chauffeur. He is a good-looking black man too, but a light-skinned one. “Red cast” on his straight hair. “Bright hazel” eyes. “Old ivory” is unhelpfully inexact, but aged ivory tends to be yellow. In short, the only way for a black man to be attractive to Sookie (and presumably to Charlaine Harris) is that he must be “far from black.” Marley takes care to be careful about shaking a white woman’s hand, “as if he didn’t want to break [her] bones.” A physically imposing black man who must take caution not to threaten a white woman. In the US south. Hmmmm.
Let’s start off with this: while it’s possible to like things that are problematic, I genuinely don’t understand what there is to like about these books. Is it the shitty writing? Is it the misogyny? Is it the jingoism? Is it the rampant, raging, explicit and relentless racism?
I’m not talking about the show, which I understand is slightly less racist than the books. This isn’t some “reading too much into it” thing; this isn’t even social justice crusading stuff. The racism in these books is absolutely obvious, undeniable, and constant. There is nothing redeeming in these books. There’s nothing good about them. All they do is confirm that barely-literate fiction that affirms and endorses popular bigotries will enjoy great popularity and commercial success. Well done, America.
Trigger warning: rape and rape apologia.
RAPE TRIGGER WARNING
I come bearing a gift.
By which I mean bearing a curse. What’s this curse? Over 3,000 words of rapefare from that most favored of punching bags, R. Scott Bakker. Specifically it’s from his non-fantasy thing–I’m not sure what genre it falls into other than “mumbo-jumbo”–Neuropath. Now, by and by I’ve come to view Bakker as rather harmless if socially incompetent; his boon companion Peter Watts is a far more loathsome piece of shit (although anecdotes have it that Watts is, in real life, quite socially incompetent as well and that translates to a certain kind of schoolboy pettiness. Now imagine if he, Watts and Pat have a drink together at a con–but never mind, that’s a vile image: so much smug idiocy concentrated in one place!).
Then someone told me about the rapefare in Neuropath.
Here follows a close reading and dissection of about 3,000 words (more than 10 pages in paper!) of rapefare. I was warned it would be disgusting, but after a while I found it merely hilarious. There’s a weird, off-putting tone to this as of a schoolboy dipping a stick into his own fresh excrement, then running at people to wave said stick in their faces. This isn’t edgy, haunting, horrifying. It’s very simply disgusting in the same childish, mindless way and suggests that Bakker perhaps needs to be house-broken. If Chris Priest believes Charles Stross to be an incontinent puppy, then one can only imagine Bakker as a piglet suffering from explosive diarrhea. It rolls around in–well, you know. Obeying its natural instincts, as it were.