January 12th, 2006


Lost Stuff

Don't get me wrong, I love the show Lost. I think it's proved itself to be one of the most creative shows around. It's just that I think the rigid structural formula of each episode -- plot-flashback-plot-flashback-resolution -- is getting kind of tired. To tell you the truth, I could pretty much do without the flashbacks altogether at this point and would be much happier to have whole episodes of on-the-island action. We get that all the characters had majorly sucky lives before the crash, we don't need to keep seeing new details about just how sucky they were. The flashback revealing Kate's formative crime was a disappointment (must all fictional female criminals trace their lives of crime back to one of passion against an icky, abusive man?), and I have the sneaking suspicion that finding out how Locke wound up in a wheelchair will be equally disappointing.

The show needs a major revelation, pronto. Something big, on the level of finding the hatch in the first season. Something to get us talking at the watercooler again.

But that's the problem with setting up such an enormous, compelling mystery, isn't it? The answers are never good enough.

Straubathon: Ghost Story

Wow. Just...wow. I don't even know what to say about Peter Straub's Ghost Story that wouldn't sound like a gushing fanboy. I feel like I should wait a while and collect my thoughts so I can speak more intelligently on the subject, but that's not really the point here. And it says a lot that Ghost Story is the kind of book you want to analyze and deconstruct and trace root influences for and write thesis papers about. There are segments in this novel that could be whole novels unto themselves: the story of Gregory and Fenny Bate, the story of Don Wanderley and Alma Mobley in California, Dr. Rabbitfoot -- the story of any of the characters, really. This book is legion; it contains multitudes.

Ghost Story is brain food disguised as a revenge-from-beyond-the-grave horror novel. (Though it's interesting to note that it is not, in fact, revenge from beyond the grave. The last two Straub novels I read, Julia and If You Could See Me Now, are both ghost stories, though very different kinds, and both contain an actual ghost. The one novel Straub actually titles Ghost Story does not. There's your thesis paper right there, Sparky!) I was barely 100 pages in when I realized I was reading no ordinary novel. It was that early on too that I realized Ghost Story would be joining Lolita, Frankenstein, Lord of Light and The Complete Tales & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe on my list of favorite books of all time.

I don't know what else to say other than that as a writer I am humbled, shamed even, by the multilayered perfection of this novel. I want to crawl under a rock and pretend I never wrote any of the drivel that's out there with my name attached. Maybe I should say that to Peter sometime: "You make me ashamed of what I've written!" He'd probably just pour me some vodka and mumble comforting words in that Hamburglar voice of his. God, I love that man!

Next up in the Straubathon: 1980's Shadowland.