Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Another Guilty Pleasure


So while camping, I read MHI -- Monster Hunter International -- which if it isn't a video game, probably will be soon. A book passed on to me by Peter, at Powell's, who also hates to see the gun stuff done wrong.

The premise -- that there are monsters among us, and that there are people who get paid to hunt them down for the bounty -- isn't exactly new. We've all played in that yard a time or two.

The writer, Larry Corriea, admits to being a monster movie geek and a gun nut, neither of which are strikes against him, far as I am concerned. The book is full of things that go booga-booga and boom in the night, and there is blood, gore, and exploding critters hither and yon and yon and hither out the wazoo. Vampires, werewolves, wendigos, gargoyles, elves, orcs, wights, you name it, it's there. Got some cute touches -- a Dirty Dozen cast of hardcases and tough and gorgeous girls over which to drool -- white trailer trash elves, ancient curses, and the Old Ones in the mix for good measure. A Jewish ghost who visits Our Hero in his dreams.

It's all mad, hell-bent-for-leather, and silly -- way over the top, but I confess I probably had more fun than I should have.

Biggest flaw is that Corriea doesn't know when to shut up and his editor must have been on vacation when the book got there -- all of the action scenes go on two or three times longer than they should, and you get worn out waiting for the next monster to step up and shrug off bullets and bombs like they were stopped-up water guns.

Battle fatigue is not something you want to induce in your reader.

Book is something over 700 pp. and would have been much better at half that long.

The best thing it has going for it is that he knows the gun stuff and gets it all right. He tries to offer some martial arts material, and he needs it, but it's obvious he doesn't know that aspect, and he shuffles and jives past that part.

It's a first novel, and I expect we'll see more. I hope his editor takes him in hand next time ...

6 comments:

Scott said...

Selling for $240 at Amazon? No thank you.

Steve Perry said...

Hmm. I read the paperback version, from Baen. Little cheaper than that ...

jks9199 said...

Sometimes, I wonder if there are still book editors out there...

Way too many seem to get published way too long, with plenty of scenes that could be trimmed or eliminated.

Steve Perry said...

In the old day, editors would take a ms that needed fixing and work with the writer until it was done. Nowadays, if it isn't pretty much ready to publish, they just pass on it -- it's not cost-effective to take the time when they can get another ms that is close enough so they don't have to work on it.

This isn't what editors want, mind you, but what corporate policy dictates.

It's all about the bottom line.

taintmonger said...

As the self-appointed video game expert of your blogosphere, Steve, I feel obligated to say that there is actually a game entitled Monster Hunter -- a whole series, even. It's huge in Japan, but is only now garnering a decent cult following in the U.S. It involves going on missions and quests, battling various monsters by yourself or in a group (either AI-controlled or with real-life teammates). I find it surprising this book would have that name/premise and not be associated with the game series.

I only played one of the games a short while, and wasn't impressed. But they sell like Hello Kitty over there in Japan.

J.D. Ray said...

Someone recommended I read something from Iain M. Banks' "Culture" universe. I picked up "Consider Phlebas" because it was the shortest of the series, and they didn't seem to need to be read in any particular order. I got the same "battle fatigue" that you speak of reading the action sequences in it.

Too many writers, I think, get caught up in the adrenaline rush of the action they're writing, and write the scenes with the volume turned all the way up. I think the Japanese word is bukkake.