Tags: plot fail

kidding, Ryuuki

I.... just... cannot even... what?

Okay, so, obviously, I adore "Rurouni Kenshin." And I adore (good) RK fanfic. And I adore RK doujinshi, kind of as a subset of that. And the prospect of more actual RK manga-work (HOKKAIDO ARC! ACTUAL RELATIONSHIP RESOLUTION THAT DOES NOT ENTAIL "AND THEN FIVE YEARS LATER THEY ARE MARRIED AND HAVE A KID *ahem*) is thrilling beyond words, at least in theory....

But, seriously, Watsuki-sensei, I think I speak for many people when I say, what the actual ever-loving WHAT??!?!

(I mean, it's not impossible that it gets drastically less insane after the first chapter, but I am not holding my breath, here...)

(SERIOUSLY, WHAT?)
Medieval Lady

Blah, blah, metaphor, "I am in fact the monster," blah....

You know, hearing that "I Am Legend" was voted the Vampire Novel of the Century in the 2011 Bram Stoker Awards, and reading various columns on Tor.com about how brilliant and scary and inspirational the book is.... I was not expecting to be both completely bored and utterly annoyed.

I mean, I can see where it would have been revolutionary in the 1950s, in terms of the overall story and the excruciating detailed explanations of "Oh, it's a GERM and this is how it works, and after several years of working on the theory, this perfectly ordinary Caucasian male has figured it out!" And I can see where the ending would have been a real shock, in the days before, well, all the works inspired by "I Am Legend."

But I read it, and... okay, it's partly that I disliked the main character so intensely, because he's set in the 1970s, but he's so very much the product of 1950s male-authored sci-fi, the Last (White) Man Remaining after the Cold War-inspired apocalypse, living in a boarded-up house, trying to cope, probably going somewhat nuts along the way, etc. And that's personal, that's just not a type of character who I find engaging. Except that I also found the writing and the story to be excruciatingly boring-- there's amazingly little action, and very little "vampire" in what is supposed to be a vampire story, and the extended faux-science did nothing for me.

Yes, fine, his former friend and neighbor is the possible-leader of the local vampires, but doesn't show up in any significant way in either the past or present, and there are the ubiquitous tragic flashbacks to the tragic death of his wife and daughter (because two tragically dead females is way more tragical than a wife and son dying when the child doesn't get to actually do anything or be active in any way....). And there is an extended Tragical Last Dog, who is apparently there just to be additionally tragic.

The thing is.... okay, he is boring, and the plot is boring, and the main ideas are boring, and the gender roles are freaking infuriating. Because in the beginning there are apparently Sexy Naked Vampire Ladies trying to lure him outside (....), and he's constantly thinking about them (because he is a red-blooded American male), and then there is the Requisite Last Woman, who is part helpless and part femme fatale and naturally secretly a vampire spy. Add that to the Helpless Deceased Females, and.... yeah, not going to do anything for me.

So, I am in a bit of a quandry, because of course between "Best Vampire Novel of the 20th Century" AND numerous film versions inspired by it, AND inspiration for assorted zombie stories(which I can see much more than vampires, frankly), I feel like I should ask my vampire class students to, you know, read it. And it is definitely a different take on vampires and vampirism and so on, and I could tie the gender issues to gender roles and issues in the other stuff we are reading and watching...

.... but I can't help but feel that the students will respond to it by becoming pretty much zombified themselves.
Medieval Lady

I think the main problem here is the venue...

There's something really weird about reading a story where you know that it's supposed to have this whole "is the narrator reliable or not, is she being brought up by a crazy father who believes in aliens and who keeps them on the run from said aliens because he is crazy, are there really aliens," etc. vibe, but because it's published in a science fiction-oriented magazine, you know pretty much from the word "go" that yes, there will be aliens.

I mean, the gears were somehow really visible in the story-- all the moments where you (the reader) is supposed to say, "Gosh, that sounds like the narrator's mother was murdered by her dad, and she doesn't realize it because she believes his whole 'alien abduction' craziness," or whatever are really obvious "OOOO, MAYBE IT'S NOT REALLY ALIENS!" moments.... because it was in a science fiction magazine, and obviously a science fiction magazine is not going to go the "no aliens here!" route.

And, indeed, yes, totally aliens.... and not even a twist on what the heroine had been thinking the whole time, which was somehow especially odd. "All my life I believed that there were evil, abducting aliens out there, evilly abducting people!"... and then there totally were.

*sigh*

I mean, couldn't the Mysterious Evil Abductory Forces have turned out to be, I don't know, vampires?