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Current Reading.

I am, currently, reading Resident Evil: Zero Hour by SD Perry.

...

Yeah, I know what you're thinking: What the fuck? A franchise hack book? It's not even one of those franchise hack books we like, you dick. Go read some Dr Who. Go read some shitty crappy Dr Who. Maybe some Star Wars. Maybe some Dragonlance. Or better yet, maybe those books you have to read for that review in January. Better still, those books you posted back from the States, and those other books that sit round in piles, waiting to be read. Read them. Ready anything but the Resident Evil book which, while written with workman like prose, is nothing but typed thrills and spills of zombies and guns and explosions--

And you would be right, except, I am using this piece of trash to teach.

It's true. I have a kid who needs to pick up his vocabulary, who needs to be reading more, but he hates all the young adult lit he's seen. It's of no real surprise: he's eleven and watches Resident Evil, Rush Hour, Spiderman, and countless other action slash horror films, which leaves him entirely unwilling to read anything that is sitting in the kids lit section. It's not violent enough. Not scary enough. Not filled with enough thrills. You know, it's not trashy enough. It's not like an action film on paper. It's too nice, too easy, obviously not rated like the MA films that he's watching in his spare time, and talking with his friends about, and if I want to pick up his vocabulary a bit, and get him to read the books so that he feels like he's not going to the dentist every time one appears before him... well, I got to embrace this trashy film taste he has, and find the literary equivalent of it. Guns, explosions, zombies, action scenes, and for fucks sake, no swords, knights, or whatever, cause he hates them.

You would think, in fact, that finding such books would be easy, but it's not. For all the crap that is published--and there's a lot, really--there are so few authors who are entirely willing to throw off any kind of semblance of literary pride, and reduce their books to set action pieces where their hero, or heroine, is chased, shot at, shoots at, and basically moves through a chapter after chapter of mindless action. I haven't yet finished Zero Hour, so it might be that I do not have such a book right here, but strolling through Borders the other day, I was forced to come face to face with book after book I considered trash that had swords, elves, wizards, or which spent pages going into simplistic politics, or would at least look like they were going to try and be a little bit outside my admittedly narrow guidelines. Guidelines which I need, at least for a while, so I can lull the kid into a false sense of assurance, and I can slip in slightly different books on him after I've earned reading trust. But first, it's the video game mentality I need, and there were, at least to my examinations, not a whole lot of books that hit this for me that weren't franchise material. Part of me would prefer not to buy the franchise, company owned stuff, simply because I recognise in me a desire to support creator owned books, rather than company owned ones, a belief I've obviously picked up after reading American comics for years, and watching talented artists and writers and inkers and everyone else, leash themselves to company owned products that cut the legs out of their own creativity... but you know, if I'm not given a choice, I'll go wherever.

It is entirely possible that Q will read this book and hate it, too, but that's no real issue. Whatever he hates, I'll move somewhere else. The important thing is to keep reading, to keep trying new things, and if all else fails, I can drop to graphic novels, though I don't like them for this, because they're not so word intense, and it's what he needs. But whatever I have to do to pick up the vocab and comprehension skills and so forth, is where I'll go. At the end of the days a book is a book and you can teach skills out of any kind of book, and I don't much care what I've got to suffer through, so long as I get what I want in the end.

As you can see, my literary standards, they're very optional.

At any rate, if anyone reading this has any truly trash recommendations on the level of Resident Evil: Zero Hour, feel free to toss them down. Remember: explosions, death, guns, zombies, maybe a little bit of something else to shoot at, and in a nice, easy prose, without any of those pesky things authors like to do to convince themselves that they're doing something different.

This is my best post ever, by the way.

Comments

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crookfactory
Nov. 23rd, 2007 03:41 am (UTC)
Check out the two zombie books that Max "Son of Mel" Brooks: Zombie Survival Guide and The Z Wars.

The former is as it is: a survival guide for a zombie war and the latter is a "fictional" account of various zombie wars across the ages. Both are written half serious, half funny but with good respect to the genre.
benpeek
Nov. 23rd, 2007 04:15 am (UTC)
sweet. thanks, man.
bluetyson
Nov. 23rd, 2007 04:43 am (UTC)
I have read World War Z, those actually probably aren't as trashy as you want, perhaps, being somewhat about politics and the crappy life of the soldier, etc.


On the non-tie-in front:

Deathstalker etc., by Simon R. Green - but those are longer than 500 pages. Guns, swords, superspeed, spaceships, evil female overlords, maniacs, robot space zombies...

Someone else you said you don't like Robert E. Howard I think, but there is always Conan, too, and the large number of pastiche novels.

Also, series like The Executioner and various Mack Bolan spinoffs.

Back to the other :-

The DeCandido Resident Evil novelisation I came across was ok, him being an expert at that sort of thing. Saw one of the Perry ones, as well fairly ordinary, but that could well be what you are looking for, so that one sounds like a good idea, if similar. The one I came across had this twisted brother/sister monster incest thing going on, though.

If you want another hot chick possibility, there are a few Underworld books by Greg Cox I think you might find around. There are some Tomb Raider books likewise. Novelisations and original.

If the kid likes Spider-Man, there are Spider-Man books, too from movie novelisations - so he'd know the story -(by Peter David, and he is pretty good at this sort of thing as far as that goes), to several recent original stories like Jim Butcher's The Darkest Hours. A list here, of course :-
http://superprose.blogspot.com/ - X-Men, Batman, Fantastic Four, Blade or whoever, is that takes his fancy, likewise, and some quite recent examples of all of these - and Wolverine, solo.

The Hellboy novels might be a bit advanced from what you are saying, in the main.

The various 2000AD books are a possibility - Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper might be your best bet.

Dark Angel, Indiana Jones?
benpeek
Nov. 23rd, 2007 05:43 am (UTC)
the green stuff, i think, is a bit too much for him, and also much too big. i've also got to be able to speed read the thing a few days before i create questions out of it, and 500 pages is a bit too much.

but, the spiderman novels are a good idea, and i hadn't thought of them, so thanks.

i think i'm also going to try some of the warhammer books. you read any of those?
bluetyson
Nov. 23rd, 2007 06:02 am (UTC)
No, I haven't, been meaning to try one for a while.

A couple of people have said some of them are actually quite good (writer types). Sounds like a good idea too, if after the SF horror explosive violence sort of thing.

Think it was Chris Roberson and Dan Abnett the guy he mentioned - there are heaps of them, presumably :-

http://www.chrisroberson.net/2007/09/book-report.html
benpeek
Nov. 23rd, 2007 09:30 am (UTC)
yeah, i've seen the abnett stuff round. well, isaw it the other day while buying the resident evil book.

there's a level franchise fiction doesn't rise above, i find, but it'll have its uses here.
bluetyson
Nov. 23rd, 2007 09:37 am (UTC)
Sure, never found a 5 star book of that type, and likely never will, but there are certainly some 4's I have come across.

Star Wars and Buffy are too wussy for this boy I presume from what you were saying before.
benpeek
Nov. 23rd, 2007 09:39 am (UTC)
he doesn't have the age to be able to reference buffy or angel, and star wars... i don't know. if he's into the franchise, maybe. i'll see.

i mean, the book itself might not work, and i might be back at square one, but no chances, no successes.
bluetyson
Nov. 23rd, 2007 09:46 am (UTC)
There are some younger reader type Star Wars books I think too, but might come off as wimpy.
benpeek
Nov. 23rd, 2007 09:46 am (UTC)
yeah, this is what i figure.
jody_macgregor
Nov. 23rd, 2007 07:10 am (UTC)
You mean the Warhammer 40,000 books? There are some entirely decent books in their fantasy line (mostly by Kim Newman writing as Jack Yeovil), but they tend to have the swords and stuff your boy hates.

Of the sci-fi ones, the best are by Dan Abnett. His Gaunt's Ghost series are war stories about hard men (and occasionally women) who are always outnumbered, heroic last stands blasting hordes of aliens and such. He also did the Eisenhorn series, about an intergalactic detective so hard-boiled he never smiles. Literally -- he lost the ability to grin after being tortured. So grim it's hilarious.

I wouldn't recommend the Zombie Survival Guide, which is a bit dry and really aimed at film buffs who appreciate references to Romero.
benpeek
Nov. 23rd, 2007 09:33 am (UTC)
yeah, the warhammer 40000 ones are the ones i'm thinking. i didn't know there was a sword and sorcery line. what i'm mostly looking for is horror/action, so the abnett stuff seems like it'll work, though it's important to note that he is eleven, and you got to keep it going on that line.

i might skip the zombie thing--i'll have a look, but it sounds like it's not my deal.
bluetyson
Nov. 23rd, 2007 09:42 am (UTC)
And I didn't notice the swords bit before, sorry, re: Conan. But that is the absolutely non-girly end of the fantasy thing if you were enticing him towards something else.

Plenty of guns and bombs and horror etc. as well in Blade, though, if he likes those movies, but probably not as likely to find one of those on a shelf.
benpeek
Nov. 23rd, 2007 09:44 am (UTC)
yeah, conan wasn't going to float. i might try them later. right now i just need to find the strand he's attention will hold, and push from there.

but thanks for the recs.
bluetyson
Nov. 23rd, 2007 10:02 am (UTC)
Sure, you could start from the angle - you know those wizards and knights and dragons you hate? So does he, he sets out to kill the motherfuckers.

;)
benpeek
Nov. 23rd, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)
nah, he's too smart for that.
bluetyson
Nov. 23rd, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC)
Pretty much true in Conan's case, though.
crookfactory
Nov. 23rd, 2007 11:01 pm (UTC)
If you're going for the Warhammer 40K stuff, go for the Dan Abnett ones. They're the ones that sell the best so that's always a sign. My mate swears by him as well.
benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 12:38 am (UTC)
cool. you know the average age of people who buy them?
3lobed
Nov. 24th, 2007 01:19 am (UTC)
Eleven is probably at the younger end of the scale, but a smart eleven-year-old should do fine with them, particularly if he's going through it with a teacher.

If you're going for the Abnett books then I'd put another vote in for the Gaunt's Ghosts series. The Eisenhorn (Xenos, Malleus, and Hereticus)books have longer, talkier breaks between the action set-pieces, and the Ravenor books (Ravenor, Ravenor Returned and Ravenor Rogue), which spin off from Eisenhorn, continue the trend. On the other hand, that might make a useful progression to take him along if he enjoys the Gaunt stories.

Be aware that you probably won't be able to find the Gaunt novels as individual books unless it's second-hand or online. Black Library have taken to reprinting their series in big omnibus editions, which is probably to the good since a three- or four-book omnibus doesn't cost much more than one of the original books that comprise it. I'd suggest starting at the beginning with The Founding, which is the first three books (First and Only,
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<i?ghostmaker</i>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

Eleven is probably at the younger end of the scale, but a smart eleven-year-old should do fine with them, particularly if he's going through it with a teacher.

If you're going for the Abnett books then I'd put another vote in for the Gaunt's Ghosts series. The Eisenhorn (<i>Xenos</i>, <i>Malleus</i>, and <i>Hereticus</i>)books have longer, talkier breaks between the action set-pieces, and the Ravenor books (<i>Ravenor</i>, <i>Ravenor Returned</i> and <i>Ravenor Rogue</i>), which spin off from Eisenhorn, continue the trend. On the other hand, that might make a useful progression to take him along if he enjoys the Gaunt stories.

Be aware that you probably won't be able to find the Gaunt novels as individual books unless it's second-hand or online. Black Library have taken to reprinting their series in big omnibus editions, which is probably to the good since a three- or four-book omnibus doesn't cost much more than one of the original books that comprise it. I'd suggest starting at the beginning with <i>The Founding</i>, which is the first three books (<i>First and Only</i>, <i?Ghostmaker</i> and <i>Necropolis</i>). The second omnibus is called <i>The Saint</i>, with the next four books <i>Honour Guard</i>, <i>The Guns of Tanith</i>, <i>Straight Silver</i> and <i>Sabbat Martyr</i>. The third plot arc is called "The Lost", although the omnibus won't be out for another year or so since the original books are still coming out in hardback.

You might also want to have a look for <i>Storm of Iron</i> by Grahame McNeill, which also has pretty relentless bash'n'blast action with added daemons and Battle Titans. I've not got much direct knowledge of the Space Wolf books (the current first omnibus consists of <i>Space Wolf</i>, <i>Grey Hunter</i> and <i>Ragnar's Claw</i>) but they do seem pretty popular, including with the younger end of the readership.

The reason I've been rattling off all the individual book titles is so that if you want to get an idea about what you're in for you can check them in BL's PDF archive at http://www.blacklibrary.com/articles/pdf-list.asp . There's chapter-sized chunks of each of the books in there, which should give you an idea of how the respective authors read.
3lobed
Nov. 24th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC)
Ack, looks like I fucked up the tags there. Sorry.
benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
that's cool, man. i can still read it. thanks for that, btw. i'll check the link now.
crookfactory
Nov. 24th, 2007 02:00 am (UTC)
11 year olds to 11 year olds in a 40 year old man's body...

So I think your student should be able to digest the Warhammer books.

40K's the sci-fi line. Sans 40K is the fantasy line.

benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 04:58 am (UTC)
sweet. thanks.
ellen_datlow
Nov. 23rd, 2007 05:35 am (UTC)
Ben, off the subject but you've won a copy of Black Thorn, White Rose because your guess on its reissue date was closest--it just came out a few days ago...once I get some books, I'll mail you a copy if you email me your address....do you know my email?
benpeek
Nov. 23rd, 2007 05:38 am (UTC)
haha. i can't believe i was closest.

anyhow, no, i don't know your email. you can use benpeek at livejournal.com to email me it, if you want, or just drop it here and i'll delete it after.
ellen_datlow
Nov. 23rd, 2007 05:40 am (UTC)
Just emailed you. You said October something and even though you were a month early--the next, somewhat cynical guess was 09, I think ;-)
benpeek
Nov. 23rd, 2007 05:43 am (UTC)
those cynics ;)

anyhow, yeah, got the email and replied.
black13
Nov. 23rd, 2007 08:36 am (UTC)
The Buffy and Angel novelizations come to mind.

How much is he into TV? Which shows? Are there tie-in novels to the shows he likes? (Most likely, the answer is yes.) If so, your answer's right there.

It's how I got introduced to novels: tie-ins to movies and TV shows that I liked. From that, I progressed to other books. It's a decent enough way to get to non-readers.
benpeek
Nov. 23rd, 2007 09:34 am (UTC)
nah, buffy and angel aren't going to swing it, i don't think. the kind of tv he likes is half hour sitcom stuff--simpsons, everyone loves raymond, and some cartoon series in which, for no particular reason, santa is poisoned.
black13
Nov. 23rd, 2007 09:44 am (UTC)
Check Amazon for the titles. If you come up with hits, there's no reason why you shouldn't get them from your brick-and-mortar bookstore. But Amazon's at least a decent resource to check for what's available.
benpeek
Nov. 23rd, 2007 09:45 am (UTC)
yep.
hollowpoint
Nov. 23rd, 2007 10:07 am (UTC)
Check Abaddon out:
http://www.abaddonbooks.com/books.php

I reckon he might dig some of their stuff. The two I've read are totally unashamed action, bouncing from set piece to set piece with plenty of explosions, shooting, dinosaurs, zombies, driving, whatever.
benpeek
Nov. 23rd, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
thanks. i'll have a check in the morning--brain dead now.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 24th, 2007 12:02 am (UTC)
BTW--speaking of tie-ins, you're now officially dead in the Predator book. I'm afraid you went rather fast, and you were killed from behind so you didn't have a chance to do anything about it. Afterwards, the Predator said, "I hated Ben Peek."

JeffV
benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
my finest moment, i bet :)
(Anonymous)
Nov. 26th, 2007 03:38 am (UTC)
hm i would recommend the Priest graphics novels...only because they're all just violence and gore and dead ugly things, but alas they're not what you're after :(

--Ains
benpeek
Nov. 26th, 2007 05:21 am (UTC)
nah, it has to have words :)

anyhow, gave him the resident evil book, so i'll see how it works out.
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