Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Eclipse Chapter 1 : Ultimatum(?)

Hi! I'm Tom.
Most people who might ever read this are probably friends with me on Facebook, but basically Patrick's explanation below was countered by an actual review. Baby steps at first; I reviewed the Preface.
Here are some highlights from that. If you like these, befriend me on Facebook to read the full review.

  • Heheh. Barney Stinson.
  • This Contents page bodes poorly. There are chapters entitled "Selfish", "Temper", "Epoch" and "Newborn". Which makes "Switzerland" a bit of an odd one out.
  • From this point on, we are in Twilight country. Expect angst, hope for werewolves fighting vampires IN SPACE. (That last bit is powered by pure optimism)
  • Wow. When you're being panned for your bad writing, it takes guts to quote a poem that scans so badly it can't be read aloud. (NB Robert Frost apparently won four Pulitzers, so that joke makes me a philistine. Well played, Stephenie Meyer)

 Because somebody should be...

Good times. But now it's time to man up, and delve into Chapter 1.

Stuff That Happened
- Dude. Who writes a note to the girl he's in love with, scribbles it out, and then doesn't change to a new piece of paper? That's just embarrassing.
- He lived alone for 10 years and he can't use his own microwave. I'm not saying that's impossible, but still, the local restaurateurs must love their sheriff.
- Betraying her trust to break up her relationship? Not cool, fuzzy injun.
- Now, y'know what we call five homicides in two weeks where I come from? A plot device. 20 quid says vampire.
- Aw, Mikey, no. Give up. Find someone else. Anyone else. Go save the cheerleader or something.
- "Charmed by the Cullens"? Oh lord. Angela's going to end up eating bugs and calling Alice "Mithtreth".
- She raises a good point, Charlie. Only place she's meeting people while grounded is online. And god knows that doesn't count.
- Good advice on healthy social relationships, right up until you consider Charlie's failed marriage and complete lack of any romantic sub-plot.
- "The Blacks are practically family". 2 for 1 deal! With every brother for whom you have inappropriate feelings, you get an adorable pet!
- Now I've got this image of Jacob sitting somewhere, whining like a puppy. "Aroo roo roo..."
- Alaska? Insert-Sarah-Palin-Joke-Here!
- Agggggh. And it was going so well. Can't somebody else narrate when Edward enters the room? Charlie? The microwave maybe?
- Goddammit Edward. If you're going to lie, couldn't you just pretend you were going to Punxsutawney Clown College? Charlie needs you to not be brilliant for once.
- And you're 100 years old! You should be past the stage where you show off to your girlfriend by making fun of her dad!
- Ahhhh, I see what he's doing. The whole "provide her with a future as a human" gambit. It's a nice idea, but I'm not feeling it.
- I can hardly claim credit for predicting the predictable.
- Yes, shocking, a vampire in Seattle. It's as if it's one of the largest cities in the Pacific Northwest, and thus a perfect feeding ground.
- Pppppick up a penguin!
- So that's why the polar bears are endangered.
- Wait. Is Stephenie Meyer seriously going there?
- Good god, she is. Yes, I think this will make it into the post-game analysis.
- He can smell your lies. This could be a problem for a long-term relationship.
- Unstable? Pot vs. Kettle, Cullen.
- Huh. She knows something about the werewolves he doesn't. That's actually a sensible and interesting development.
- Yes, yes. Baaad vampire, leaving the emotionally traumatised girl to die in a forest. Now, any chance of letting her visit the guy who manned up when you wussed out? Thought not.
- This vampire/werewolf politics thing is actually racking up definite George R.R. Martin style geek points.
- And how will you "stop her" exactly, if, for example, she gets her dad to give her a lift? Haven't thought this through, have we, fangsy?
- And that's the end. Hang on. What was the Ultimatum again? Ultimatums (ultimata?) have deadlines. Edward's was more of a command, and her dad's was more of a compromise. Hmmm...

Fantastically Atrocious Dialogue (and the actor/actress who'll be stuck with it)
"I want to hurry. I want to be a monster, too." - Kristen Stewart
"Their love is their only redeeming quality." - Kristen Stewart
"You compare one small tree to the entire forest." - Robert Pattinson

The Infinite Swirling Madness of Bella Swan's Inner Monologue
"I liked to think of those groups as good vs. evil. Us vs. them worked too."

The Unrelenting and Unbearable Tragedy that is Mike Newton
"Edward's return had taken it's toll on Mike's friendship"

My Take
Leaving aside the fact that there appeared to be no actual ultimatum, a trend of dissociating title and content that I hope is maintained throughout the book, I rather enjoyed this chapter. On second read, the bit between Edward and Charlie feels a little petty. Edward knows he's going to effectively steal this man's daughter, does he really have to tease him too? But there's a whole alpha male thing going on there that I'll have a chance to revisit further in the book.

With that aside for now, I am really beginning to enjoy the tension between Vampire and Werewolf. Meyer's set them up as two opposing sides with absolutely no hope of compromise.

What's been made clear is that the whole POINT of being a werewolf is to kill vampires. That's why they become werewolves. When they're near vampires, they have to actively resist wolfing out. And it's quite clear that most vampires are like the Volturi, selfish and superior murderers with no concern for the lives of mortals except for what they create, so killing them is as heroic as killing gets. At the same time, we've seen that the werewolves are already naturally aggressive, and it only gets worse around the vampires, who seem to take a positive delight in provoking them, at least Edward and Alice.

Imagine this situation from Edward's point of view. These are the only creatures we've seen that can and do kill vampires. And that's about all he knows of the werewolves. It's not like the two sides communicate. They literally can't stand the presence of one another, because of the smell if nothing else.

So his main competition is a creature that he's mostly seen charging towards him to tear him limb from limb. For him, Jacob Black doesn't really exist. There's just the wolf.
And at the same time he's jealous of Jacob. Jacob can compete with Edward on his own terms. Both attractive, both with an element of danger, both mysterious. Both fully capable of sneaking into Bella's room without a ladder. Jacob can be with Bella as she is, without worrying about crazy vampire royalty or her own aging. Bella would be safe from the Volturi with Jacob. Bella's HAPPY around Jacob.

And lest we forget...

It's a nice little dark romantic conceit. When he left, he must have known on some level that he'd be able to come back later, and who'd he have to compete with? Mike Newton? Please. And suddenly there's this guy who on every rational level is better than him. Of course, we know Bella doesn't care about that, but he can't. He can't tell if Bella's concern is just compassion, or if she secretly wants a booty call. Hence him getting all offended and formal when Jacob's brought up.
Worse yet, she wants to go visit Jacob. So she wants to go into a den of savage monsters, to see his only serious rival for her love and if he follows her in, he puts his whole family in massive danger. You can kind of see why he might not be willing to compromise on that.

That said, telling a girl she can't go and comfort a friend because she might not be 100% safe, when his own "brother" is one paper-cut away from draining her dry, is not going to be his strongest argument.

So, all in all, net positive. I'm concerned how the whole thing with Charlie's going to turn out, but I'm interested in how the relatively unexplored relationship between Fang and Claw is going to be affected by What Bella's About To Do.

Anyway, all of that pales into insignificance, after pages 24 and 25.

A little context; I'm well aware of my collaborator's feelings on Bella Swan. The word selfish and hatred are appearing an awful lot on his Twitter page at the moment, that's all I'm saying. I'm not even saying he's wrong. That said, he's clearly not being that original. You know how we know that?
"The characters are ghastly people who ruin each other's lives."
"I think it's something about the inevitability. How nothing can keep them apart - not her selfishness, or his evil, or even death, in the end..."
""Their love is their only redeeming quality.""
"I hope you have better sense than that - to fall in love with someone so... malignant"
"I hope you're smart enough to stay away from someone so selfish"
Hang on... is she implying what I'm inferring?
Stephenie Meyer is implying that her work is of the same calibre and style as Emily Bronte's classic Gothic melodrama Wuthering Heights.
I honestly love that. That is the most outrageous claim that Stephanie Meyer could have made. "See this writing you're calling sub-fanfic? This heroine you're all up in the face of? Well, in 2150, people will be reading this in Book Clubs across the fucking world, bitches! Meyer OUT!"

"And might I add... Fuck all y'all."

There's a section in the ISB's ChrisCon '09 (in which all the people named Chris are ranked. Because comics, that's why). It concerns Darkhawk. If your question was "who?", trust me, it will never come up outside of comics. No one in this world or any other is planning a Darkhawk movie.

Never. Going. To. Happen.

Anyway, the quotation from the ISB is:

Plus, there are a bunch of scenes in the series that take place in the future, where scholars would look back and discuss the heroism of “The Powell,” who was “the greatest hero of his age,” and even if you give the creators the benefit of the doubt, that’s still clearly untrue to the point of hilarity, which somehow loops around and becomes even more awesome because they had the stones to stand there and go “Fuck yes Darkhawk’s better than Spider-Man, and history will bear me out on this.”
Well, that's what Stephenie Meyer's just done. Only instead of doing it with the iconic fever dream that was Spider-Man in the 90's, she's done it with one of the premier classics of English literature.
So... Stephenie Meyer. BALLS OF STEEL.

Now, what did you think?
This post was made with the understanding that Stephenie Meyer probably swears much less regularly than I have implied.
As a tribute, this post was written to the sound of AC/DC's "She's Got Balls" and others. And to bring me down from the Classic Rock High, I used the bluegrass twang of Nickel Creek.

1 comment:

  1. Hehe, very good Tom. You are much more forgiving than I am!