Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Trash Fiction Roundup
Our Hero made his usual weekly pitstop to the used bookstore and picked up three charming pieces of trash. Personally, my greatest love is for trashy fiction, with the notable exception of "supernatural romance." I like my paperbacks to be brazen and cheap, with too much eyeliner and a gutter accent. Why? It lacks pretension; it is what it is, pure entertainment without the great groaning load of 'social commentary' that a heavyweight writer feels is necessary.
Anyway, my purchases this time were, in no particular order:
Shadowrun: 2XS by Nigel Findley - I was surprised by how readable this was; there is just too much peripheral gaming fiction that is just a chore to read, selling only by virtue of the game company logo on the front. Shadowrun is a setting that I'm admittedly in love with, the perfect high-contrast future for dystopian fantasies. The central premise is weak, and it falls into the trap of most Shadowrun novels in that the characters spend Nuyen like fucking candy, but overall I was surprised by how much I cared about the main character and enjoyed the rather drunken back-and-forth weaving between plots. My favorite Shadowrun novel is still Shadowboxer, but this one is a close second and that means it is well above the herd.
The Regulators by Richard Bachman - Desperation was a great story, but somehow I missed The Regulators and now having read them both I can say the Regulators is the better story. It suffers some in the characterization department because the action starts so soon, and Desperation definitely has a more interesting cast of protagonists...but The Regulators is both more far out and more fun, a rollicking mayhem ride through conceptual reality and ancient Lovecraftian evil. Also, the Regulators has a much better Tak.
Zero, by Eric Van Lustbader - Eric Van Lustbader has the dubious honor of being the only author I read that I am embarrassed to admit to. I'm about halfway through Zero now, and it is the typical garish Lustbader novel-cheap graphic sex interspersed with improbably zen violence. It would be easy for me to pick apart point by point, but why? No matter how much I make fun of it, I keep reading this guy's shit. The main protagonist is underwhelming, but the cool shit he does is fun enough that I can just shut down my brain and ride along going "WHEEEEEEE SLICE HIS HEAD OFF WHITE NINJA!" and it works out just fine.
Final Commentary: John Norman and Eric Van Lustbader both inspire me. Both are still actively publishing novels, and if the critics haven't lynched Lustbader and the feminists haven't lynched Norman, I figure I can drop Codex on the world with minimal fear of lynching. The continued existence of these two men proves that somewhere out there in the writing world, there is a place for a scumfuck like me.