Posts Tagged ‘books’

January Updates

Posted: January 26, 2013 in Reading, Stuff, Writing
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Neglecting the blog? Never! This is a big ol’ pile of miscellanea; things I want to get out there but I’d rather not do a mess of super short blog posts. My kiddo is bouncing happily so let’s see how much I can get done while jumping up and down keep entertained.

Amity v1.5

It’s coming along. Finding what chunks of time I can to type the b’jebus out of it. I think about 40% of it is in digital form and not just sitting in my notebooks. I’ve got a dozen-ish beta readers who are chomping at the bit to read it so I am trying to ramp it up. That’s part of why the blog posts aren’t flowing fast and furious. Downside of all this is that I’ve had a horrible thought that keeps nagging me… wondering about changing from third person for all three protags to third for only two of them and first person for the primary protag. I need my beta reader feedback before I do anything drastic. It would require a rewrite of a third of the book. It’s a possibility. Gotta get that feedback though.

New Writing

It’s happening, which is part of why Amity v1.5 is slower than I’d like. I was getting antsy that I wasn’t writing anything new. I have a couple shorts I’m working on. One is a prequel/backstory to the next novel I plan on writing, the Connecticut godpunk. I’m also in the middle of another one that’s a bit more specialized. I was looking for a good idea for a couple of characters that have showed up in a previous story and I found a market taking some themed submissions and those characters just fit. I’ve also got pen on paper with a meta story that’s been rolling around in my head for a long time. I’ve actually changed from third to first person and lopped off the front half of that one already.

Tangent on the Connecticut godpunk… Going to have to add a pronunciation guide in the front. The Thames River in New London Connecticut is pronounced very differently than the Thames River in London England. It will drive me crazy thinking of all the people saying it wrong.

To Read Pile

It’s gorram huge. I’m currently in the middle of book two of Kylie Chan‘s Journey to Wudang Trilogy… which is really the second trilogy in a set of three. I guess trilogies sell better than nonologies. As there is no pause from one to the next, I’m going to do the blog post about it when I’m all done. I’ve got a few shorts stacked up on my Nook. Been following John Scalzi’s The Human Division which is his and Tor’s experiment with bringing back serials. I have also been picking at the Mitigated Futures compilation from Tobias Buckell.

My dead trees To Read Pile has gotten big enough where I had to send a few books off to a new home to make room for the ones I have. It’s got the first of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, the next of Naomi Novak’s Temeraire series, the classic Ringworld books, a CJ Cherryh from ’82 picked up on a recommendation from twitter, more from Jim C Hines, and Peter V Brett, The Hammer and the Blade put out by Angry Robot Books and a new steampunk series starting with The Doomsday Vault. Oh and I just remembered I borrowed a whole Jim Butcher series from my dad and have a couple stand alone David Weber books kicking around. This is just what I had handy and doesn’t count any rereads in there like my annual Zelazny reread. It takes me longer to get through the To Read Pile now that I don’t work nights and have the kiddo, so the pile as listed will probably keep me occupied through April. This in no way factors in the To Buy List.

Anticipated Books

This list is largely sequels for stuff I’ve read and enjoyed the crap out of. The new Myke Cole comes out this week. Peter Brett has his newest coming out soon, once I catch up with it. Madeline Ashby’s sequel to vN comes out this summer. Joshua Palmatier / Ben Tate is slated to finish the Well of Sorrows series sometime this year. Angry Robot Books has some particularly cool looking stuff coming up (as always). I’m waiting for Libriomancer to drop in paperback soon too.

Impending Blog Posts

Yeah I have a bunch of those. The Journey to Wudang post will be a biggie. So many characters, I need a flowchart with that. I’ve got some other non-book posts on the burner including one I want to see if I can get some outside opinions on. Means reaching out in a less craptastic way than I did last time. I was new at this then, it happens. I’m going to hit Boskone again next month so there will be a nice big pile of pontifications on that.

By the way, the answer to how much I could get done while my kiddo was bouncing away in his jumpy thing… Two paragraphs. You didn’t think I’d have him up jumping at ten til midnight did you?

First Lines

Posted: July 19, 2012 in Genre, Reading, Shelf of Honor
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If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ve probably heard me mention the Shelf of Honor. It’s my small shelf of my most favorite books. Inspired by a post over at io9.com, which frankly I can’t find after ten minutes of searching because their search function is crap. Nonetheless, it was a post about great opening lines in science fiction. There was a corresponding one for fantasy and one for closing lines. Zelazny showed up a few times which made me happy. And now that I mentioned Zelazny, I found the posts. Here’s Great Openings from Fantasy, which links to the others in the article.

So here are the opening lines from my most favorite of favorite books. Depending on the energy I have left and/or attention level my infant needs, I may talk about what makes for good opening lines or I might save it for later. And now, in no particular order….

“Colin saw Walter’s foot a moment before it connected with his stomach.” —Well of Sorrows by Benjamin Tate

“Do your neighbors burn one another alive?” was hownFraa Orlo began his conversation with Artisan Flec.” —Anathem by Neal Stephenson

“In a cold jail cell in Boston in Massachusetts Bay Colony on November 16, 1699, a weather-beaten man with hard scarred features unbuttoned his trousers.” —The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks

“Gleaming steel, gleaming steel…” —Thirteen by Richard K Morgan

“Eliot Post and his sister, Fiona, would be fifteen tomorrow and nothing interesting had ever happened to them.” —Mortal Coils by Eric Nylund

“In an unremarkable room, in a nondescript building, a man sat working on very nondescript theories.” —Un Lun Dun by China Miéville

“Unpaved, uneven trails pretended to be roads; they tied the nation’s coasts together like laces holding a boot, binding it with crossed strings and crossed fingers.” —Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

“The sign was rain-streaked and had never been overly straight.” —A Thousand Words for Stranger by Julie Czerneda

“The night before he went to London, Richard Mayhew was not enjoying himself.” —Neverwhere by Niel Gaiman

“A mile below the lowest cloud, rock breaches water and the sea begins.” —The Scar by China Miéville

“In the tower of the nameless necromancer, it is always cold.” —Grunts by Mary Gentle

“Nothing here,” said Melchior,his voice echoing from the depths of an ancient citrus-wood chest.” —WebMage by Kelly McCullough

“The ticking of the conference room’s antique clock was deafening as the Hereditary President of the People’s Republic of Haven stared at his military cabinet.” —On Basilisk Station by David Weber

“It began, as many things do, in a tavern: about eight o’clock on a Friday evening, in The Pot of Gold on Post Hoc Lane in Simka.” —Trapped by James Alan Gardner

“Pull over!” cried Leila.” —Roadmarks by Roger Zelazny (although it starts at chapter two, so I’m not sure if that counts.)

“I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday.” —Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

“Blackness. Blackness over and about her.” —In Fury Born by David Weber

“The small family group gathered in the library was only conventionally alarmed by the sound of a violent explosion – a singularly self-centered sort of explosion.” —The Night Life of the Gods by Thorne Smith

“At the height of the long wet summer of the seventy-seventh Year of Sendovani, the Thiefmaker of Camorr paid a sudden and unannounced visit to the Eyeless Priest at the Temple of Perelandro, desperately hoping to sell him the Lamora boy.” —The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

“About a third of the way down the massive wooden staircase the older of the two tuxedo-clad men paused, head up, nostrils flaring as though he were testing a scent on the air.” —Smoke and Mirrors by Tanya Huff

“Shadow had done three years in prison.” —American Gods by Neil Gaiman

“John Rolfe had rented the house for seventy-five a month, which sounded extortionate but was something close to reasonable, given the way costs had gonr crazy in the Bay Area since Pearl Harbor.” —Conquistador by S.M. Steirling

“Since Maria had decided to die her cat would have to fend for itself.” —Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

“It started to end, after what seemed most of eternity to me.” —Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny

Goblin Quest

Posted: July 10, 2012 in Reading
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This whole “book recommendations from authors” thing is hitting nothing but home runs for me lately. I’m on the fourth book of the last batch of six I bought and I haven’t wanted to slow down for a second. Today, I’ve got another of the big eastern-midwest crowd of SF authors. Seriously, it seems that everyone I’ve read this year, except Myke Cole, is in the Ohio-Michigan area or on the west coast. The latest author is Jim C. Hines, another Scalzi recommendation. He did a Big Idea post a couple years ago and I’ve mentioned stuff he’s talked about on his blog. So what has this highly recommended author written for my discussion today? Goblin Quest, a hilariously awesome book that turns fantasy genre conventions upside down.

Back of the book action!

Jig the Goblin was the runtiest member of an admittedly puny race. Jig was scrawny, so nearsighted as to be almost blind, and had such a poor self-image that when he chose a god to worship it was one of the forgotten ones – after all, what other sort of god would have him as a worshipper? He also had a cowardly fire-spider for a pet, a creature that was likely to set your hair on fire if it got into a panic.

Made to stand tunnel watch by the goblin bullies who’d been assigned the job, it was just Jig’s luck to be taken captive by a group of adventurers – with the usual compliment of a dwarf warrior, a prince out to prove himself, his mad wizard brother and an elfin thief. Forced to guild this ill-fated party on their search for the Rod of Creation – though Jig had no more idea how to find it than they did – he soon had them stumbling into every peril anyone had ever faced in the fantasy realms. And they hadn’t even found the Necromancer or the Dragon yet.

So right from the start of this enjoyable read, it reminded me of A. Lee Martinez’s Too Many Curses or Mary Gentle’s Grunts. All of these books take the traditional norms of the Tolkien-Gygax Fantasy and move the perspective 180. Jig is the goblin, the bad guy, the cannon fodder. In constantly skirting death, he realizes the whole cannon fodder thing and tries to do better than that. Jig’s world starts out limited to ‘my stick is bigger than your stick.’ He’s never even seen outside his own tangle of tunnels.

When Jig takes this small window of perspective and runs into the Adventure Group, his world view window is smashed open with a vengeance. The adventure and the compliment he’s stuck associating with, are ripped out of a classic Dungeons and Dragons module. I think if I was reading this from the point of view of Darnak, the dwarf, or Barius, the prince, it would easily devolve into the standard fantasy that was played out twenty five years ago. Riana, the thief who was also shanghai’d into the adventure, or Rysland, the slightly bat shit crazy wizard, could make for an interesting read but not nearly so much as Jig.

By writing the novel from the point of view of the outsider, it gives Hines the chance to poke at the tropes we would normally gloss right over as readers. My favorite one of these involves Jig’s epiphiany about why adventures always kick goblin asses. I don’t want to outright ruin it since I did enjoy it so much, but think about every DnD encounter you’ve ever had versus a bunch of goblins. How does it go? Not so well for the little guys. If you can think of why, you’ll have a facepalm duh moment. Hidden in plain view, no one sees the problems or solutions that Jig does because they are too close to the situation.

These outsider moments Jig has made me laugh. Frequently. Humor isn’t an easy thing to do. I wouldn’t try touching it with a ten foot pole, but Hines finds the absurd in the everyday. Well, I’m using the term ‘everyday’ loosely what since we’re all probably a bit nerdy and get what’s going on. The point is that Goblin Quest is like a hybrid of Gary Gygax and Jerry Seinfeld.

The plot points and growth are high points of the book as well. Jig starts out with the mentality of the runty and bullied. He’s picked on and lets it happen even though he’s smarter than the other goblins. He becomes that wily little survivor that’s buried deep within. There’s something ultimately satisfying in watching Jig’s character arc. The plot is hard to talk about because of the genre bending POV going on here. It’s seriously, journey through the cavers, fight the necromancer, slay the dragon and get the magic Maguffin. It sounds old and tired but remember, the whole point of this book is to poke fun at the tired and old.

Don’t take this book at face value because it’s all going to get turned upside down in the best possible way.

How do you do fantasy different? How do you take one of the oldest of our genres and make it feel different? How can you stand out among legions of Tolkien devotees? A good start is being Saladin Ahmed.  His debut has gathered a lot of buzz since it dropped back in February and I couldn’t fight it. I gave in to hardcover. Scandalous, I know, but well worth it.

Throne of the Crescent Moon is now! Inside the flap time! That’s right, I said inside the flap! This is hardcover territory after all and there’s a lot of space on those flaps. Let’s make it happen.

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings:

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, “the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat,” just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and savings lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame’s family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter’s path.

Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla’s young assistant, is a hidebound holy warriors whose prowess is matched only by his piety. But even as Raseed’s sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.

Zamia Badawi, Protector of her Band, has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the lionshape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man’s title. She lives only to avenge her father’s death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father’s killer. Until she meets Raseed.

When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince’s brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time – and struggle against their own misgivings – to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.

So first impressions. If anyone out there is working on being a writer in their own right and is having trouble with an opening chapter, look no further. Throne is an amazing example of a first chapter, a serious hook that will propel you on to chapter four before you recover from that first one. Following this excellent hook, the novel has a pacing I this is more spot on than a lot of stuff I’ve read. Even in the most intense moments, there’s something small to keep it from becoming too much, a breath of fresh air to make it feel more real. Leading up to the Final Confrontation, Adoulla drops a joke. I laughed out loud and the little bit of inanity in this super serious time of the book. The loud laughter was sleightly awkward because I was at work, but damnit, they’d laugh too. I won’t ruin in here, but you’ll know what I mean when you find it. It’s a perfect example though of the delicate balance between those moments and the dramatic and intense.

That’s just straight up good writing. What about the genre stuff? That’s where a lot of the buzz has been coming from. Well clearly, it is an Arabia based fantasy world rather than a medieval England based world. That’s huge. I can count on one hand how many faux-Arabias I’ve read before this. One was a seroiusly dated Gary Gygax penned novel which was just a DnD campaign without the THACO tables. Ru Emerson’s Night Threads books had some Arab based settings but only partially. I can’t even think of anything beyond that so getting this fresh setting not normally seen in American genre books is like walking into a candy story and finding out there’s something other than chocolate and vanilla. It’s the kind of thing I actively seek out and find hugely enjoyable like Kylie Chan’s Hong Kong or the Russia out of Night Watch. So it’s Arab instead of English. How does it stack up? Awesomely. The city of Dhamsawaat is almost a character in itself. I’d put Dhamsawaat in the same category as Camorr or King’s Landing.

Setting only goes so far. What else does Throne bring to the table? Ahmed gives us a fresh perspective on character. Adoulla is sixty. Epic fantasies are the realm of young untested warriors setting out to make their way in the world. Not here. Adoulla has two young’uns under his wing but this is his story, he is our reluctant hero. I don’t mean reluctant because he’s unsure of himself and if he can save the world. Adoulla has saved the world dozens of times, he’s more than comfortable with himself. Well… not the aches and pains of a body betraying him with age. He’s reluctant in that damnit he wants his tea. He’s at times crude and surly (I have a special affinity for surly) but when push comes to shove, gets the job done anyways.

And his young’us are tormented by their own demons, those figurative ones in between fighting the real ones. Zamia’s entire tribal band is slaughtered while she’s supposed to be their protector. Raseed is rightously strict with his holy vows as a dervish. But they’re both teenagers who don’t really feel happy about making eyes at each other but they do anyways. Yeah, teenagers making awkward eyes at each other is a story as old as time, but it works in this setting with these characters. They both feel bad about making eyes at each other and keep themselves from doing it. Emotions denied make for better stories than people getting what they want.

Oh hey the ghuls! I’ve been going on and on and haven’t even touched on them yet. They’re right proper Arabian ghuls and just as mean and nasty as you could want. The action flows without ever relying too much on one character’s strengths. There’s a lot of back and forth between Adoulla’s magic, Raseed’s swordplay and Zamia’s animal maulings. The plot that these enjoyable characters claw their way though starts out simple. “Some monsters killed this kid’s family. Go.” It’s sufficient to get things started but it mushrooms fast.

So I reined in my rambling there at the end and am trying to do so here, but I could seriously talk up the praises of this for a long time coming. And a lot of other people have done so. I am eagerly awaiting to go back to Dhamsawaat.

Leaves of Flame

Posted: June 25, 2012 in Reading
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I was chomping at the bit for Leaves of Flame by Benjamin Tate to show up in the mail since it’s the sequel to the newly Shelf of Honorized Well of Sorrows. It was the only book of the last Amazon batch that wasn’t damaged in the mail and I’ve been devouring it between feeding the infant.

No mucking about today. Back of the book time!

One hundred years have passed since Colin Harten – transformed to something more than human by the magic of the Lifeblood contained in the Well of Sorrows – used his new powers to broker a peace agreement between the human, dwarren, and Alvritshai races of Wrath Suvane. Since then all three races have greatly expanded their empires. And Colin has continuously sought ways to defeat the dark spirits known as the sukrael – and the Wraiths they have created to act for them in the physical world. Yet Colin has not been able to prevent the dark spirits from reawakening more and more Wells, thus extending their power across the lands.

Having mastered three of the five magics of Wrath Suvane, Colin has gifted each race with a magical Tree to protect them from incursions of the dark forces. He has also realized that unless a certain number of Wells are left open, their magic can never be stabilized, and the land will be torn apart by this uncontrolled force.

But now the enemy has located the one Well that is key to controlling the entire network, and if Colin can’t find a means to stop them from claiming and activating this Well, it could mean the end of all three races…

So starting off, I tend to have this thing with sequels where I go “Oh yay! Book two!” and never actually read the back of the book. Typing it out here was actually the first I read it and while I don’t think that the Back of the Book for Leaves misses some of the big selling points as much as with Well, I think there is some underselling going on here again. Now I figure that condensing a whole book down to three paragraphs has got to be a pain, otherwise I could be doing that rather than building submarines, but it seems that with Leaves it’s playing up the more traditional fantasy aspects of it. Colin is on a race to save the world! Ok that’s fantasy, but remember what I said about Wells. Thriller. That race to save the world isn’t some sort of old school D&D standard party. Leaves has more of the political wrangling (seriously, not exactly easy to make that interesting), backstabbing and conniving that the first book. The intrigue among the Alvritshai in particular take it to this to a cold war level I enjoyed the hell out of.

Speaking of the Alvritshai, we get to see a lot more of them and their culture in Leaves than we did in Well. Some of that background world building gets to come to the forefront here. Colin and a cadre of Alvritshai head to the northern wastes. There’s some mini ice age stuff going on in Wrath Suvane and the old cities of the Alvritshai are buried under glacial snow. Tate shows us the inner workings of an Alvritshai House and the shaman-chieftan relationship among the dwarren. Some of the world building set up in the first book continues along here as a set up for the finale. A lot of the “I want to know more about this” from Wells is expanded upon here to the greatest satisfaction. So this top tier world building went and build another, taller tier and set up camp there.

World building isn’t the end all and be all. That’s how you make a Dungeons and Dragons source book, not a novel. We’ve got our thriller plot and epic setting, we need the soul of the book now. Colin seems more realistically flawed here than he did in the first book. I think it is a reflection of the character’s evolution over the hundred year gap between the books. He loses touch with the world. Mistakes are made but he does what he feels is best at the time. That’s a common thing with the characters here and I’m glad. All too often, characters do what the book things they should do rather than what they feel is best. Some of the forces opposing Colin aren’t doing it out of anything evil or malignant, it’s what they feel is best.

In particular, my new favorite character is Siobhaen. She’s part of the religious Order of the Flame and gets stuck in one of the bigger moral quandaries of the book. She ends up rolling with Colin and kicking ass along the way. I know this is Colin’s story first and foremost but I’d read a whole book from Siobhaen.

Siobhaen isn’t the only new face we get in Leaves. We get chapters that follow the point of view of a dwarren shaman, a human leuitenant on the fringes of explored lands and a lot more focus with the Chosen of the Alvritshai. I’m calling this a neutral thing. The larger cast is well handled but there are some chapters that pull you away from a point of view you really don’t want to leave. A big cast like that can be a double edged sword sometimes although I think it is a well wielded sword here.

My only real drawback is Leaves has a bit of the Book Two Problem you can see coming from a long ways away. It’s the sort of thing that happens in trilogies of any medium. Hell, it’s even in Star Wars. The first installment has a self contained story arc but book two resolves bits and pieces while saving much for the third. It’s a complete non-issue when book three is sitting on the shelf ready to go, but Tate is still writing it. So this is less of a complaint and more of a “Keep going strong ’cause I’m all impatient!”

So go read the first book and then have at it with this one. This is an author to support so we can keep getting books like this for years to come. Hell, this is an author I wish was a Rhode Islander so I could talk shop over Wrath Suvane maps.

So a lot of people have harsh words for movie adaptations of books. It’s universal. I’ll bet people complained with Gone With the Wind came out saying, I don’t know, maybe they thought Rhett Butler wasn’t dashing enough. Although, it’s Clark Gable, so people probably complained he was too dashing.

I’ve been waiting for this Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter to come out so I can address this issue with a book I’ve read fairly recently. See, I’m a writer with a film studies degree. I spent four years making this stuff my bread and butter. I’ve written dozens upon dozens of papers. Some of my favorites were Akira Kurasawa’s MacBeth adaptation, Throne of Blood, my ridiculously intense analysis ofMaltese Falcon and my thesis on the films of John Frankenhimer.

I’m qualified for this. Let’s have at it now.

Spoilers. Spoilers. Spoilers. Oh did I mention spoilers?

Yeah, I’m not going to censor any juicy bits of the movie/book so consider yourself warned.

The short version of how I liked the movie…. I give it an A as a movie but a C- as an adaptation.

Stepping back and lookingAbe Lincoln from a fan’s point of view, it was a wild success of a movie. The pacing was steady and upbeat. The characters, particularly Lincoln himself, had solid character arcs. I loved the slightly awkward courtship between Abe and Mary. They had witty dialogue back and forth with each other the whole time. The frosting on the top of this cinematic cake are the fight scenes. The battles and fight scenes are mind blowing.

Seriously, Timur Bekmambetov could make a fight scene between a fork and a vacuum and I’d watch it. I loved his style in both Wanted and the Russian Night Watch (which was another A movie C- adaptation). The ax wielding martial arts going on in this movie is a beautiful thing. That action scene going on with the train is a wonderous bit of cinematic awesome. Over the top? Absolutely. But that’s not always a bad thing. Think of Bekmambetov’s other movies. Over the top is his staple.

So I’ll give the movie A.

But that’s watching the movie from a film guy’s point of view. As an adaptation, I was bothered by a lot.

See, some changes are inevitable. Film’s strengths lay in the visual, visceral and external. Explosions are so big you can feel them are something that only film can do. So combine that with the director’s flair for the fighting and it makes sense to play up the action parts of Abe Lincoln.

Now a book’s strengths lay in the internal and compartmentalized. The whole first act of the book is compressed into about two scenes of the movie. That’s a lot of the book to squish down but Lincoln growing up is not the meat and potatoes of the story. The important parts of his childhood are shown: being raised to find slavery appalling and his mother being taken by a vampire. Beyond that? We can do without his time as a rail splitter or the relationship with his step-mother. The core of his person is all we get because the film has a limited amount of screen time to get things done.

Even the gold standard of book to film adaptations had to skip over certain things.Lord of the Rings never showed one of my favorite parts, Tom Bombadil, on film. Even with nine hours of screen time across the whole epic, side quests had no space to develop.

So Edgar Allen Poe never gets to show his face in the film and we miss out on his childhood and that whole introduction about the modern day person finding Abe’s journals is gone. Abe’s posse of fellow vampire hunters never show up in favor of just two for the sake of centralization. Almost all of the politics are taken out of the film. I can accept these things. These omissions are literary strengths and would serve as a distraction in film.

Problem is the decisions that seriously mess with the essence of the story. These are changes that are not playing on the literary weaknesses and turning them into cinematic strengths. Here be those biggun spoilers I talked about. Abe knew about Henry being a vampire much earlier on, pretty much from the get go, in the book. It changes their relationship when he’s a vampire right away. I was glad that Henry’s reason for wanting to take out his own kind remained the same, but the mentor-student relationship is now on such different footing. It added a dramatic scene where Abe finds Henry nomming on a would-be rapist, but there is no reason to change their relationship. It has plenty of ups and downs in the book, why create more?

Mary never finds out what’s going on in the book. She doesn’t smuggle anything to Gettysberg and she certainly doesn’t shoot a lady vampire in the face with her dead son’s silver toy. Mostly she just loses her mind to grief and depression when their kid dies. She figures it out on her own in the film, she reads the secret journals that Abe writes (which we get excerpts from constantly in the book), which is keeping with her character, but it puzzled me why that would change so much. The author of the book, Seth Grahame-Smith, also wrote the screenplay so he must have felt some justification for it but I found it confusing and distracting because of its randomness.

The third seriously huge problem I have is an omission that didn’t appear in the film, but am hesitant to discuss because it’s that big of a spoiler. It’s the ultra mega spoiler of all spoilers. It’s the end of the book. See, the film ends right where Abe and Mary are about to go to Ford’s Theater. The last two pages in particular should have been in the film. They are awesome. The end of the book creates a completely different vibe and different experience than the film.

The book and the film end up being quite different from each other. Yes, I said that as an adaptation, the film gets a C-, but remember I said that by itself gets an A. The book by itself get an A as well. So if you can separate the experiences and enjoy each one for it’s own specific merits, they are both totally worthy, enjoyable and awesome thing.