No, there was not a typo in the title. I meant to do that. This series is atrociously ridiculous and hackneyed. Usually, derivative works tend to lose some quality in the translation. In the case of the Twilight series, I give the movies just a nudge—a mere vampire weekend, if you will—above the books. Yes, in this humble writer’s opinion, Stephenie Meyer is just that bad at what she is getting paid gazillions to spit out. She is suckling, like her monsters of inspiration, on the lowest common denominator’s teet.
While I have yet to conceive the next great American novel, much less write and [attempt to] publish it, I am fully confident that when I do, it will be a much higher quality work. I believe my blog writings and short fiction attest to that claim. What will it matter, anyway? It never ceases to amaze me what the seemingly literate public desires to consume. While Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Meyer’s Twilight are both novels under the strictly technical definition, one is clearly more objectively palatable than the other. Obviously, fortification for the brain is not the same as banal entertainment. It is the same reason that McDonald’s is a more popular venue for sustenance than your average health food store. It is quick and easy to digest. It also leaves you full of hot, putrid gas to compensate for lack of actual nourishment.
Let me do a quick comparison of some of the variances between Ms. Meyer’s vampires and the ones of lore:
Lore: Vampires can only come out at night.
Twitlight: Vampires go wherever they damn-well please. Inexplicably, it is high school.
Lore: Vampires burst into flames when exposed to the sun.
Twitlight: Vampires sparkle in the sun. I guess they don’t have to dive into the nearest plot-hole for cover.
Lore: Vampires have fangs.
Twitlight: Vampires must have an awesome dental plan.
Lore: Vampires fear religious relics, as well as garlic.
Twitlight: Vampires have some seriously powerful magic underwear. That’s the only explanation.
With fictional characters, there is a little poetic license allowed. I grant writers that, and have done it myself just recently with my own vampire tale, as well. So, parking the plot wagon for a moment, let’s focus on the quality of the writing. The premise is rather simple and unoriginal. Girl moves to new town, girl falls in love, girl almost dies, boy saves her. Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, that could be fully realized in less than 250 pages. At almost 500, it is too long for so little to happen. Egads did my mind drift as I waited for something remotely interesting to happen. It’s like the vampires glamoured me into a stupor.
There are two reasons I give the movies a notch above the books. First, the quality of the acting is good. Actually, it is sad to see such talent wasted on terrible material. Seeing the two stars—Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart—in better projects, just leaves me shaking my head. Second, I confess to having a grand old time as hubby, friends, and I conduct running commentary à la MST3000. Good times, good times.
There is a tendency for women to breathe life into their fantasies through their writings, and some of them are paid for it. Unfortunately. A common one is to make the female protagonist the objet d’lust for many characters. I’ll get to the point; apparently, it is thrilling to imagine powerful and sexy beasts willing to fight to the death in order to be with you. I don’t know why, but it is a rampant theme. See my previous post about it: Creatures of the Trite.
Despite my aforementioned kudos to the acting, I am not any closer to suspending disbelief with Ms. Stewart’s Bella Swan (is there a more contrived name, by the way?). While pretty, her character is so bland. The undead have more zest for life than she does, and the most mundane circumstance can make her so tense. She is stuffed to the gills with angst. She does play that convincingly, I will say that. But, I don’t get why vampires and werewolves (of course!) are so willing to lay their difficult-to-kill, if not immortal, asses on the line for her. I just don’t see it. Sorry.
Here is a lesson in writing: The plot must be consistent within its own internal logic, thus allowing suspension of disbelief. As an example, while on the surface, their lightning-fast baseball game seems clever and cute, albeit a lame attempt at achieving the same level of awe as Harry Potter’s Quidditch. Fail! Unfortunately, a ball traveling that fast and hit that hard would be structurally unable to withstand the extreme forces thus applied to it. Since these are fictional creatures in the real world, laws of physics still apply. It is difficult enough to swallow such a bastardization of vampire legend, but defying scientific logic where it should exist is inexcusable.
I noticed a lot of writers fall into what I call “murmuritus.” There are at least thirty synonyms for that word, but many default to that one. I don’t know what the hang-up is with that particular verb. Ms. Meyer is definitely no exception. Just to drive the point home, I downloaded all the books for the sole purpose of doing a search on murmur, et al. The “find” function is a wondrous tool for empirical research. Here are my results:
Book 1: 46
Book 2: 30
Book 3: 95
Book 4: 111
As you see, it gets worse as the saga thickens. I know emopires are so bothered that they are reduced to a mere whisper, but really, perhaps they should just learn to enunciate through their non-fangs. If that weren’t enough, Stephenie felt it important to demonstrate her characters’ blasé annoyance by having them roll their eyes. Inordinately. While I had the PDFs, I figured I might as well confirm that. If you don’t believe me, read it and weep blood:
Book 1: 12
Book 2: 18
Book 3: 21
Book 4: 25
I just decided to start rolling my eyes to see how many creatures, great and small, cock-fight to the death for my affection. Apathy is hot!
Now admittedly, I only read the first novel. I strongly suspect that it is a representative sample, albeit possibly misleadingly in favor of Ms. Meyer. From what I’ve heard, they get worse. Perhaps it is due to a few ridiculous key plot points in subsequent books, such as being turned [into a vampire] used as a metaphor for (eep!) going all the way—which must not happen until marriage, dagnabbit. I’ve also been informed that Edward is forced to turn his beloved Bella as she is giving birth to their vampire hatchling, because that bugger is being a recalcitrant monster imp. Edward must then commit an unspeakable act: Use his teeth to tear his offspring out of mommy’s stomach to save them both! Now that’s just nasty. I suspect Meyer took Vonnegut’s rule to be cruel to her characters just a wee bit too far. Be that as it may, there’s no Father’s Day Hallmark card for that creepy level of devotion.
To say nothing of the fact that the werewolf Jacob imprints romantically on the baby who miraculously matures fully by age seven. He is, in fact, lusting after a seven-year-old, ergo, making him a Native American Mormon werewolf pedophile. Ms. Meyers just squicked me.
In the second or third book (does it matter?) Edward spurned Bella’s advances because he is old-fashioned and wants to wait until they are married, blah blah blah. So, does this mean that he has gone over one hundred years without sex? Really, come on! Let’s put him in a taxicab for some dashboard confession here. He may rip out the cabbie’s carotid before allowing his chaste image to be sullied. All right all right, let’s assume he is a virgin for a moment. It must also be pointed out that he doesn’t feed off humans—just wild animals. Hmm. Not that I know personally, but every vampire tale speaks of the thrill of the kill and savoring the sanguine life force flowing from its human victim into his gullet. Assuming he is completely genuine (and all Mormons are, of course), what the HELL is the point of existing? So little pleasure and all this wasted energy expended on resisting tempta . . . oh wait, that sounds eerily accurate. Pfft!
Gotta love proselytizing pulp.
More Miscellaneous Musings
Here is my second installment of ponderings. They’re just as random as the last batch.
- Ms Ryder, Winona, if you really were called an oven-dodger, you should be outraged. No one deserves that level of disrespect. Regardless, I still don’t like you.
- I hate to break it to the Robert Pattinson adoration society, but technically, his vampire from Twilight is a pedophile. Think about it. He met her when she was 17 and he was 109; he is over six times her age. That’s just creepy.
- Speaking of, it seems only in religion can abstinence be preached and pedophilia practiced at the same time, and get away with it.
- The person who decided to train cashiers to sandwich the receipt between the currency and coin, needs to be bludgeoned with a pillowcase full of register tape rolls.
- Just because I don’t have time to talk about gay marriage, animal rights, etc., doesn’t mean I am against it. I just don’t care to show my support while standing outside in inclement weather and talking to a complete stranger, all while missing my train. Nothing incites that level of devotion in me.
- Why do people on television or the movies make out after drinking coffee? A garlic and shit sandwich is the only thing that might result in worse breath.
- I think we should all practice reverse psychology on ourselves and make New Year’s Irresolutions instead, and list all the things we want to do as things we don’t want to do. What’s the worst that could happen?
- What is reality tv like in Bizarro World?
- Why is it good to be the salt of the earth, but bad to salt the earth?
- While I don’t subscribe to the concept of heaven and hell, I think proof of the latter may be in the growing popularity of skinny jeans.
- How can celebrities be so image-conscious, yet go out of their way to arouse suspicion that they might be insane?
- So what you are saying is that your soul—Thetan is it?—was dropped in a Californian ocean . . . from Venus? Really?
- In any other occupation, Tom Cruise would be institutionalized.
- I think L. Ron Hubbard was looking to recruit all people named Diane into his cult. He failed with me. Neener neener booyah!
- Who is the arbiter of which religion is the right one? I haven’t met that entity yet.
- Why is it that people who believe in angels are considered normal, but those who do of fairies are touched in the head? They’re both chicks with wings, just like Victoria’s Secret models.
- Now . . . why do we need pennies?
- Am I the only one who gets freaked out by the tests of the Emergency Broadcast System?
- When will the general public realize that Taylor Swift is not talented?
- I’m just going to say it. If Justin Bieber removed his helmet of hair, he’d look like the poster child for St. Jude’s Hospital.
- What does it take to get Gary Oldman an Oscar nomination? The British actor played an American who was a psychotic, perverted, paraplegic, self-mutilating, homosexual pedophile who FED HIS FACE TO DOGS! For cripe’s sake, a role doesn’t get much more challenging than that.
- News flash! It isn’t special anymore to own a mobile phone. There is no important person’s club, and even if there was, you couldn’t be a member. So zip it!
- If someone farted during a moment of silence, I suspect that person would use the remaining time to pray no one heard it.
- I wonder if Alfred Fielding popped a pimple in the mirror and said, “Eureka!” Then, he invented bubblewrap.
- The person who could create a laxative for writer’s block would become a bazillionaire, then collapse into bankruptcy and ruin once it is discovered it causes colon cancer. Figures.
- If a married human had sex with a humanoid, is it cheating? I hope not; it would seriously corrupt my Jude Law AI fantasy.
And again, where do I end this mess? There was an overwhelming religious and deviant sex theme with this group. Hmm.