Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Book Review: Something From the Nightside, Simon R. Green

Let's preface this with; the review is only my opinion and does not mean anything. It's just what I took away from this book and is a reflection of my personal experiences and beliefs. Because I don't like it and I'm going to expand on WHY I don't like it. But first let's do some pros and cons, IN THE NIGHTSIDE.

PROS:

There is fantastic imagination in this book. There is a great vibrancy of places and characters that I quite enjoyed. As a quick read, it works. It's not taxing, its not heavy, its fast and doesn't dwell on things and you can read it in a few hours, IN THE NIGHTSIDE.

CONS:

I have a theory and goes like this: the vast majority of male authors can't write women worth shit. It's the sad product of a sexist culture that nobody has a problem imagining things from a male point of view because EVERYTHING is from a male point of view. But when it comes to entertainment/fantasy/sci-fi/whatever writing, a female character is something very few people can do - they can't write women as just people who desire things beyond babies, sexy times and how to please the menz.

Not to say ALL MALE AUTHORS, no not at all, but plenty of them. I say this as someone who has spent their entire lives, since childhood, reading everything I could get my hands on, and have been disappointed SO.MANY.TIMES that when there IS a female character there's is always 1.)Rape 2.)SEXYTIMES/RAPE 3.)Marriage 4.)Marriage and babies 5.)them taking a backseat to the men's role in the story/becoming the sexytimes sidekick who doesn't do much but be the prop and support to the male character (pay attention to that last one). So I have no problem imagining men's stories and perspectives because that's the default, but when it comes to writing women's perspectives I find.... well, let's take some examples, FROM THE NIGHTSIDE.

Hm, better yet let's do a short summary AND examples:

Main character John Taylor is GRIZZLED yo, he's SEEN THINGS and is hardcore, even if no one hires him for his detective skills, and he's basically a loser is this world, IN THE NIGHTSIDE he's like, major business, WORD. He can FIND THINGS. Leggy Blonde Bombshell comes into John's life asking for him to find her runaway daughter, IN THE NIGHTSIDE.

For whatever bizarre reason (sexytimes) this prissy, fussy, stuck up rich bitch decides to tag along, TO THE NIGHTSIDE. Remember what I said about women being props to men's stories? Holy SHIT, this is what Joanna's character was. She is there to be explained at, she's there to comment on the weird-ass shit that goes down, she's there to be saved, and she's there to, I kid you not, simper and go MY HEERROOOOOOO to John.

Lots of Stuff happens, the main bulk of the story is just John and Joanna wandering in and out of trouble, following the white rabbit of Joanna's runaway daughter, finding weird places and having every fucking character be a prop to John's SUPER BADASS-NESS. He's badass because these people ARE TELLING YOU SO, SO IT MUST BE TRUE.

Oh look, ex-psycho girlfriend meets up with John - she's a Blonde, Big-busted Bombshell who looks like dominatrix Barbie. Her and Joanna fight for John because that's what chicks do - cat fight over the menz.

How BADASS is John? HE'S SO BADASS HE ENDED THE WORLD. Because REASONS!!! But it's okay, because that was a different reality so he just hops back onto another reality where it never happened, IN THE NIGHTSIDE.

The ending felt... tacked on, because all of a sudden it's like HA HA FOOLED YOU, JOANNA WASN'T REAL ALL ALONG AND NOW THE HOUSE IS GOING TO EAT YOU. But John's BADASS, so he wins. The end.

All right look, this story has been done before. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman kicks the shit out of this book and has better female characters, to boot. The Dresden Files has done this, and while I can't stand that series either IT'S BEEN DONE BEFORE so FROM THE NIGHTSIDE feels like a knock off of these two books.

This is a guy book, and what I mean by that is it's basically like walking through a 14 year old boy's wet dream of masculinity - BADASS MEN whom everybody cowers in fear of his BADASS-NESS. Huge titted blonde chicks who throw themselves at you because you're BADASS and SEXY. The world literally TREMBLES at your power, bla bla bla - immature fluff bullshit that I've seen plenty of times before. Basically I feel like the author was projecting his fantasies onto these characters and this world and while it works for some people, it did NOT, however, work for me.

Not to mention, was is really necessary to add 'IN THE NIGHTSIDE' in nearly EVERY GODDAMNED PARAGRAPH!?! I got it the first thirty times, THANK YOU.

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