Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Man, am I out of the cultural loop

You want to hear something bizarre? The #13 bestselling Kindle book is a mystery by Richard Castle. Who's a fictional character on the TV show, "Castle." He's played by Nathan Fillion. The premise of the TV show is, he's a rich and famous author who gets his friend, the mayor, to force a homicide detective named Kate Beckett (played by Stana Katic, whom I'd never even heard of before) to let him come along on murder investigations. They play romantic cat and mouse games because they're both beautiful (well, SHE is, he USED to be) while solving crimes that are easy to solve and violating every concept of true homicide detective work.

Guess what the book is about...albeit with the fictional names changed to OTHER fictional names? And there are TWO of them. Both in the top 20 bestsellers on Kindle. And the paperback is doing well, too.

I think I'm gonna hurl.

After I read the damn thing. Because the fact is...I liked the show, even as it got dumber and dumber...until it got too dumb to pay attention to, anymore. The same thing happened with "Law & Order: SVU" with Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay. I just plain got to where their characters were so consistently bull-headed and full of ideas about what a criminal did or didn't do when confronting them, then turning out to be wrong and NEVER learning from that and relaxing their stance, I finally blew the show off.

I don't like it when a story becomes too out of it to be real. I noticed a trend towards this back in the middle 90's, with movies like "The Rock" and "Con Air" and "Face Off", movies that didn't even stay true to their own little worlds, they were so lost in STRUCTURE and the Syd Field School of Cookie-cutter Screenwriting. Mix one part decent but wounded hero, a nasty villain who's the hero's mirror image, A woman to prove the hero's straight, throw in some fights and chase scenes every ten minutes and mix until you're done. Those three movies set me on the road to not caring about Hollywood, because they infected even "indie" films with their unacceptable shallowness and one-note characters (I'm talking "Reservoir Dogs" baby, that got by due to Tarantino's directing verve and the acting of Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth).

Unfortunately, that's all moviegoers seem to want, anymore. And the same is true of novels and plays and even education. I once joked we were heading into a new dark ages. A period of 500 years after the collapse of the Roman Empire where books and learning meant nothing to most of the world. I ain't jokin', no more.


Writer said...

Yeah. I hate it when publishing companies do this. We recently got this book here at the library where I work - and I was so confused when I saw Mal on the backcover. We also recently got a new Murder She Wrote title by Jessica Fletcher with late 80s/early 90s Angela Lansbury on the cover. And then there are the authors who have died and their names become registered trademarks. Come on, people, let V.C. Andrews die for Pete's sake!

JamTheCat said...

I'm beginning to feel superfluous as a human being, let alone as a real writer.