Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Whatever Happened?

I don't like strange.  I'm still listening to the 29 disk book on tape that scares the bejeesus out of me.  It is so well written, but the setting and the characters are strange.  Tonight, I had to turn it off in the car about a mile from home in an attempt at distracting myself and after listening to classical music for a bit, eerie classical music, I decided I'd have to get out of the car and go into the house anyway.  Okay, I admit - I'm afraid of the dark now that I've been listening to this audio book.  Is that lame or what?

The book is 'The Passage' by Justin Cronin.  I'm up to disk 23.  Did you remember that I said I was listening to it?  Well, I had mentioned that my goal for anything scary is to finish it quickly so I feel the resolution and that helps.  This is hard.  It's twenty-nine disks long!  Plus, there's another huge sequel in 'The Twelve' not to mention the third in the trilogy, 'The City of Mirrors,' that comes out in 2014!  Do I have to get through those too?  I think I may have to.  The characters are there, speaking in my imagination, just like ....

No!  I can't tell you the story!  I hate when people tell the whole story and why the heck should I bother after that?  So I'm not going to throw out any spoilers.  It's just that I like these characters, most of them, and the author, adept at manipulating characters, has me understanding, though not exactly liking, the seriously bad guy.  It's a real feat to give evil a sympathetic history. 

The other thing I like about Cronin's writing is that the other characters are drawn in my head, as if I could identify them in a lineup.  The problem with this kind of good writing is that when the movie comes out, I'm going to be annoyed at having to look at 'Amy' who is most definitely not the 'Amy' that I imagined.  Doesn't that just piss you off?  You know, I don't think I'll be able to go to this movie.  The director and screenwriters will amp up the suspense and gore and it'll be over the top for me, out of bounds.  The author, whether or not he intends this, has not creeped me beyond my tolerance.  Years ago, I had to stop reading Stephen King because he picked at every thread of fear in my closet.  I just had to stop, he was that good at making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.  At least in Cronin's story, there's some routine to battling these creatures. 

Do you want to know something really strange?  Over the weekend, I hung out at the campsite quite a bit where Nick and Mike were on a Boy Scout camp out.  No, that's not the strange thing.  The strange thing is that at camp, I wandered around after dark with my flash light off.  I didn't feel the need for it, really.  Shoot, this camp had too many lights as it was and you just didn't need one.  I felt no fear, looking out into the darkness.  It was soothing, especially since it was such a starry night.  Yet, when there are doors and windows involved, not just tents staked out in the woods, I can become afraid.  What is that?  Why would it be more frightening to be at home than it would to be surrounded by the dark of the woods with just a layer of nylon ripstop to protect me?

I have found that having my dorky dog with me helps too.  I figure he's not going to be much of a defender since he cowers when the clawless cat swats him about the head and shoulders, but he's got a good thick suit of fur that can stand straight up if he's frightened.  That helps, though I'm not sure he'd be smart enough to be frightened by any person, no matter how evil.  He LOVES people.  Well, crap.  What he'd be afraid of, bears and coyotes, don't bother me so much so long as I'm not being stupid, like trying to feed their offspring.

Here's the last thing I'm going to say about this book right now.  I keep wondering how they're going to get out of the next level of problems.  Cronin has done a pretty good job of describing a post-apocalyptic nation, down to the batteries and relays in a circuit.  I like when an author does his (or her) homework.  Did I ever tell you that I stopped reading an author because she didn't know the difference between a revolver and a semi-automatic?  I mean really, if you're going to have someone using a gun, you'd better know what it looks like to load it.  This author also screwed up the difference between playing blackjack in Vegas and in Atlantic City.  In Atlantic City, they never let you touch the cards.  Cronin isn't making these kind of mistakes, though I'm not really an expert at what a hundred-year-old battery would do.  So, instead of questioning the facts that he's laid out before me, I get to focus on what's going to happen next, and more than once, I've been surprised.  After reading roughly 2000 books, that isn't easy to do.  Oh, I don't know if I've got an accurate count here, but I figure I've read at least a book a week for about 40 years.  Sometimes I wish I'd kept track the way some people do.  Seems too late to start now. 

So I'm going to go to bed now, where it's kind of dark, but I know the shades are drawn.  I'm trying not to think about this book, but whenever you tell yourself not to think of something, there it is like the rain on your head because you've forgotten your rain jacket.  I wonder if I'll need to leave a light on.  Pathetic, isn't it?

Thank you for listening, jb

No comments:

Post a Comment