Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Not to get off on a rant, but...

I'm going to vent a little.

And, oddly enough, I'm going to vent about something I enjoyed.

I just finished reading Brian Keene's "Earthworm Gods," and I've got a serious irritation about it.

The funny thing is, it's a great book.

But it still sort of pisses me off.

Here's the thing. I've been looking forward to reading this book ever since I heard Keene himself say at HorrorFind Weekend a few years back that it included some of the characters from, and was based in the same world as, my favorite Keene short story.

That one's called "The Garden Where My Rain Grows," and it's 100 pages about the survivors of the great flood at the end of the world.

And it's incredible. I loved it from the first time I read it, in a book I borrowed from Stewie called "Fear of Gravity."

So when "Earthworm Gods" (called "The Conqueror Worms" for mass market - yeah, I bought another LE to fuel my addiction) churned to the top of my reading pile, I devoured all 300 pages.

Which gets me back to my irritation.

See, the middle third of the book is basically, word for word, "The Garden Where My Rain Grows." The first 100 pages tell the story of the protagonist, the last 100 tell what becomes of him, and the middle third... well, it's the short story. Just like in "Fear of Gravity."

Now, I'm not feeling ripped off because I paid $whatever for a book and a third of it is a book I already read. I'm feeling ripped off because a third of a book I otherwise thoroughly enjoyed is a book I already read.

It feels like a cop-out, or a shortcut, or something.

Believe me, I'm all in favor of expanding the story - like I said, I love the story - but it's just ham-handedly plunked down in the middle of the current story ("Earthworm Gods," as it were), and there it sits, complete with ham-handed segues at the end of Part I and the start of Part III.

Look, I'm not the first person I know to have issues with a Keene novel. And hell, I probably won't be the last.

In fact, I should be so lucky as to write so many published novels as to have readers bitching about them.

It just disappoints me. Maybe I should've known this was just a wraparound extension of the short story. But that's not the way Keene described it when he talked about the book at HF back when. He said it included the same characters. Hell, that's what had me excited. (That, and the idea of learning more about the world of "GWMRG.")

I guess I just would've rather either had 200 pages of new material, without the middle, or actually gotten 300 pages of new material. Either would've been better than 200 pages of new material and 100 pages that basically ruined the flow of the entire novel because I'd read every freakin' word before. I could've skimmed 'em and not missed a thing relevant to the 200 pages I'd never read.

Don't get me wrong. They're a great 100 pages. The whole book's a great 300 pages. If you've never read "GWMRG" before.

Go get it. Go get "Fear of Gravity," go get "Conqueror Worms" or whatever version you can.

But if you've read the story, like I have, and especially if you got lured in because it's in the "GWMRG" world, like I did, be prepared.

Links, because I haven't put any down here in a while:
Hail Saten, Brian Keene's blog
Something about worms
And a bit about gods

Finally, this and this would be SPOILERS if you haven't read the books, but may be of interest if you have.


jin said...

I wonder why they didn't just plug it as a "Newly Expanded Edition"?

I can see your point, though.

Have a "sweet" week!!

Ace said...

Boy, somebody doesn't sleep...

And yes, I'm waiting to have a "sweet" weekend...

Aric Blue said...

How come Keene didn't come to defend himself on your blog like he did on mine?