Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Help, I'm Steppin' Into the "Twilight" Zone!

I have two daughters who are readers, a 15 year old in high school and a 20 year old in college. both are part of the wave of young people who've become smitten with "Twilight", author Stephenie Meyer's series of four novels detailing the love of a teenage girl named Bella and an immortal vampire named Edward Cullen.

There has a been a profusion of novels in recent years that fall within what I derogatorily refer to as the "vampire/love genre", less goth, and more fantasy-anything-goes-coming-of-age-sexuality-sorta-bullshit-kinda-stuff. Goths I understand, they're pretty much fracked in the head, but the whole wishy-washy, vampires are beautiful people who are simply misunderstood & I really, really, really wanna zig-a-zig-ha-one of 'em, sorta irritates me.

What the heck is this crap all about? No. Stop! I don't actually want to know as my question is meant to be rhetorical.

So, it amused me to read "real" horror genre author, Stephen King's somewhat barbed comments made about Ms. Meyer in a comparison to the equally popular J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter author). The following news item was taken from the AP:

Stephen King’s opinion may drive a stake through the heart of “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer.
In an interview with USA Weekend, the bestselling author compared Meyer with J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series.

According to Stephen, “Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people… The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.”


While Stephen may not be a fan of Stephenie’s writing, he understands the appeal of the series.
“People are attracted by the stories, by the pace, and in the case of Stephenie Meyer, it’s very clear that she’s writing to a whole generation of girls and opening up kind of a safe joining of love and sex in those books. It’s exciting and it’s thrilling and it’s not particularly threatening because it’s not overtly sexual.”

He further explains, “A lot of the physical side of it is conveyed in things like, the vampire will touch her forearm or run a hand over skin, and she just flushes all hot and cold. And for girls, that’s a shorthand for all the feelings that they’re not ready to deal with yet.”

When I was told by my girls that "Twilight" vampire Edward Cullen was described in the novel as one who "glistened in the sun", I reacted with utter bemusement and tried to explain that what they were reading about wasn't a vampire at all (since true vamps burn to ashes in the full glare of the sun) , but some kind of fantasy sprite (or something else). I do offer a belated, feeble apology to my daughters, who are happily free (and welcome) to read & enjoy whatever they please, but next time that dad snorts in derision over one of these ridiculous tomes, take it from expert Stephen King, who understands that unlike the classic & cool vampires of old (see above; left) - this stuff sucks.


joe ackerman said...

I actually read the first of the Twilight books, on the reommendation of my neice, and you're right, it's trash. just for the record, I think Harry Potter's trash, as well, but there seem to be a lot of people who make me wrong, so what do I know?

a good Vampire should be scary. if he's not scary, he's not doing his job.

Mr. Barlow. That's my kind of vampire.

Anonymous said...

In Bram Stoker's Dracula, Dracula actually makes a few appearances in the daylight.

(I thought that the issue of daylight was especially well handled in Near Dark.)