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Oops. Missed a day. And can't get past the first sentence of the… - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Oops. Missed a day. And can't get past the first sentence of the next sextion of "Little Bits of Junk"; I guess that's what I'll be working on tomorrow. I know where it's going, but I'm bad with middles, and at maneuvering the two of them to where I need them to be.

I'm really thinking that I need to tackle The Prank. It's one of those things that sooner or later, every Marauder writer needs to do, like artists need to learn to draw the nude or whatever. It started out with Monsters, but if I'm going to do it, I should remove Elizabeth and do the story with only characters that we all know. It just seems like that should be the rule to follow (although in "Monsters," the incident with Elizabeth was just sort of an emotional trigger that set a lot of things in motion).

That pairing meme was certainly conversation-generating. I don't think I want to commit myself to quite that much again for awhile! Thirty-one pairings, and I did between 100 and 300 words on each. That's longer than most fic chapters I write, word-count wise.

I'm reading the first book of Dean Koontz's Frankenstein series (Prodigal Son). It's good. I'm not normally wild about Koontz. I don't dislike him or anything, but his books never did much for me. But this is a neat idea. He starts from the premise that Mary Shelley was writing from a local legend, which is a little disconcerting because the story of how she came to write Frankenstein is well-known and has nothing to do with local legends, but I'm willing to shrug that off. The idea is that both Victor and the monster (whose name is Adam, but Koontz sees fit to have him change it frequently and he's now going by Deucalion) survived the story--Shelley made up the death scene only for narrative reasons--and are both nearly immortal, Victor by choice, Deucalion because the lightning storm had this freakish after-effect. Victor has spent the last two hundred years refining his techniques and becoming increasingly bored, and is now making monsters with genetic engineering instead of mouldering spare parts. He calls them the New Race, and demands their utter obedience (though they are physically superior to him; they're genetically programmed to accept their place as his subordinates). They will displace the Old Race (humans), which Victor despises. When Deucalion finds out that Victor is alive, he hops a midnight plane to New Orleans, where he hooks up with homicide detectives working a serial murder case that (of course) has connections to the Frankenstein scheme. Seems that Victor is starting to lose control of the people he's made.

Folks, welcome to professional fanfic.

And unlike Scarlett, this is pretty good professional fanfic. Finding a way around that single canon problem of Victor's and Adam's deaths, Koontz has created a pretty darned plausible scenario for Frankenstein in the modern age, and he's using the canon characters well, and integrating OCs pretty decently. There are a few more curlicues than the story strictly needs and I don't find myself caring all that much about the detective who plays the lead role--she's a walking, talking stereotype of "tough broad with a heart of gold"--and would like to spend more time with Deucalion and his ages-old battle with Victor, but that's a personal choice, and Koontz is working well with the choice he did make.

Now, if I were fanficcing Frankenstein, I think I might be more interested in the dilemma of Victor, rather than simply casting him as a villain, with Adam/Deucalion as a would-be hero. Stephen King (in Danse Macabre, which has a lovely analysis of the book, along with Dracula and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in the chapter on the archetypical novels of the genre) listed it as a weakness in Shelley's prose that she couldn't seem to decide whether Victor's fatal flaw was in his arrogance at appropriating the power of G-d or in his refusal to take responsibility for his creation, but I actually thought that conflict was interesting. Kind of, "You probably shouldn't have done this, but since you did, it's yours and you need to take care of it." But I think Koontz may actually go there in later books. He's had Frankenstein remember in a disconnected way that he used to have feelings, and the moment that comes up, it kind of flashes the idea that young, idealistic Victor may still be in there somewhere, and there could be a conflict to reach him.

Of the OCs, the one that interests me most if Victor's engineered wife, Erika, who is starting to wake up to the notion that she admires the art and poetry of the Old Race, and to therefore question Victor's values, which she's supposed to be genetically programmed not to do. It gets into the question of identity and sentience in much the same way the book gets into it with the monster. Who am I? Why am I here?

Anyway, just a rec, for those who like that sort of thing. I'm a bit slow on the uptake; it's old enough for the second book to be out in paperback. But it's good. I'll definitely be checking out the sequel.
13 comments or Leave a comment
imadra_blue From: imadra_blue Date: March 27th, 2005 08:49 am (UTC) (Link)
And can't get past the first sentence of the next sextion of "Little Bits of Junk";

Sextion? Going for a higher rating? ^_~

I just had to go there and tease you.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2005 05:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ya know, I mistyped it as "sextino" at first, fixed that, and totally missed the x. Yeah, definitely going for that higher rating, 'cause I so love writing that stuff. ;)
forked From: forked Date: March 27th, 2005 10:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I was reading your description and it sounded SO familiar, but I was sure I hadn't read any Koontz lately. Then it dawned on me- I saw the movie back in the fall! USA aired it- there are still some trailers here. Frustrating movie, as it ends right smack dab in the MIDDLE- as might be expected, given it's based on a series of books that have yet to be completed.

I would like to read the whole thing once it's done- I like Koontz and I did find the ideas interesting. But no way I'm getting sucked in until it's all done! (Glares at the 'Dark Tower' series.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2005 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Koontz started that, but pulled out because USA wanted to do things with it that he wasn't remotely interested in, so he and Kevin J. Anderson went back and did it in book form, leaving the movie behind.
straussmonster From: straussmonster Date: March 27th, 2005 10:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I hate Prank threads and discussions. I hate them with a pure and firey passion. For one, I find myself completely unconvinced by all projected scenarios which try to explain the scanty amount of information that we have at present. I think there's too much missing data that's been withheld deliberately for us to reconstruct events. And so people go nuts in postulatng wacky scenarios, and it's used as incontrovertible proof that Dumbledore favored his Golden Gryffindors and it drove poor dear Severus to the Dark Side.

That may well be true--but argument from absence is a weak, weak argument in the Potterverse. So while everyone may have to tackle it creatively, I'm going to sit over here until the exposition fairy comes to visit and just not think about it. Part of me thinks it would be hilarious if most of the postulated actions and repercussions turned out to be dead wrong, on the part of the fandom. That's just contrary me.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2005 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm mostly thinking of it as an opportunity to do kind of blind-men-with-the-elphant exploration of James--different people observing him until we get a picture of him.

Or of doing it from his POV.

I'm just a little James-obsessed lately. All the ranting, probably.

And you know me... I think it was probably Snape being a toady little ass and Sirius figuring he'd put the fear of Marauders into him, and never once thinking, "Gosh, I'll try to kill Snape today."
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: March 27th, 2005 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
yo usid what iwanted to say. i'm scared to speak otu liek that because ineverk nw where the hord of fierce snape fans=marauderh aters wil fall on me.
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: March 27th, 2005 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
sorry i nad vance if i misinterpreted this, but why do yo fuele obliged to write aboutthe prank? i lie kto write mrauder sotries sometiems too. but ionce read a two-part antabulous (for me0 fitting fic explainign it andi didnt' fel lie kwriting m yown version 9andn ow i'm not sureany more becasu the fic felt better tha nanyting i togthi could write or jsut because it somehwo was defiend for me by then.)
for osme reaosn ineer bothered to explroe it. jsut lek the first bite, or the post-penseivescene stuff. Yeah. i' a twistedperos nwho only watns to lokat he happy side of their time togehter. perhaps becausei 've comeacros too many dark angsty fics that suggested thatthey never had a good time. so perhaps imerle yfeltl ike the luckier sideo fthigns was 'a totall ydifferent focus' whicis whati mostl ywanto write about when i write m yow nstuff.

i ralize this was mroe about me but ther was an 'eveyr amrauder write rshould cover this scene' that just hadm e think..I don't know. it makes me suddnel yfel abith ollow. liek i feel when igthink of my ltierature classesandhow much itnerest i had fo rhtoseandh ow much classic/wellknown/wellread stufi ended up simply NOT reading because ididn't getto it that ifelti should hve red.
am I makign sense here? I'm not not writing it otu of rebellion ofsome sort. yoru remark jsut amdme think of the many many folks that DID coverthe subject andn ow ithink i'm one ofhe few who's not following the herd 9as if i should...argh. i am NOT makign sense...)
alkari From: alkari Date: March 28th, 2005 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I tend to agree with Straussmonster - there are too many unkowns about The Prank, and far too many inconsistencies. Everyone assumes that DD "didn't" do anything to Sirius, but the simple fact is - we just don't know. Plus the Wizarding world seems to have a different perspective on certain aspects of behaviour, and the expectations that people will just have to get on with life and 'cope' with incidents - get on and get over it, type of thing. It is an endless cource of amusement when Americans in particular seem to approach things with an "OMG! Why didn't they offer Ginny / Harry / Snape / whoever any counselling about this or that incident." Snape was clearly expected to get over it: he wasn't killed, no one was hurt, so 'grow up and get a life, mate!'

That said, I would certainly be interested to see your take on James and the Prank, Fernwithy - because it clearly did NOT affect the affection and friendship between James and Sirius. Nor, apparently, did it leave Remus with any great lasting grudge. Many of the takes on the Prank do not address these issues at all. I strongly suspect that the aftermath of the Prank was very instrumental in Sirius' decision to leave home at sixteen. And IMHO, if Snape was idiot enough to believe something that his arch-enemy Sirius told him, and didn't expect/suspect a trick or something more devious, then he was (a) downright dumb, or (b) as reckless as Sirius.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 28th, 2005 12:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Everyone assumes that DD "didn't" do anything to Sirius

I don't. :) I think that something was definitely done about (or to) Sirius, but it wasn't what Snape wanted, so in Snape-ese, it translates to, "He got away with it, waaa-waaa-waaa."
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: March 28th, 2005 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)
And IMHO, if Snape was idiot enough to believe something that his arch-enemy Sirius told him, and didn't expect/suspect a trick or something more devious, then he was (a) downright dumb, or (b) as reckless as Sirius.

Yeah, the Pensieve scene seems to reinforce for some people the idea that Sirius really did fully intend to have Remus rip Snape to shreds. It left me thinking that the Prank really requires some explanation of why Snape would go anywhere he thought Sirius might want him to.

I have heard some people try to solve this by suggesting that Sirius sneakily let the information slip in such a way as to leave Snape thinking that he hadn't been meant to hear. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if it was meant as something of a bluff -- if Sirius thought the perfect way to ensure that Snape would never show up would be to make it appear that he, Sirius, wanted Snape there. (And Snape second-guessed, figured that part out but not that there really was a good reason not to go.) Maybe not.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 28th, 2005 03:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that's where I am with Snape--if he followed it, he was either stupid or duped into thinking it was his own idea. I tend to favor Sirius tricking him into thinking he got the info without help, as it's the only way to make it actually seem to work psychologically for Snape... maybe he used Regulus to leak the info back to Slytherin?

I thought the Pensieve scene showed just how little the boys actively hated Snape. He wasn't a thought-out target who they obsessed over; he was a target of opportunity, casually brought up and casually forgotten by them.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: March 28th, 2005 03:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I can see both parties being well aware that Snape wouldn't generally fall for an "invitation" anymore, though, and if Sirius had mostly given up on them I can imagine Snape suspecting that Sirius didn't really expect him to turn up -- in which case I can also see Snape thinking he could be adequately prepared to surprise the Marauders.

But this may be a bit too convoluted.
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