Dec. 18th, 2011

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I was not going to read Twilight.  I really wasn't.  But [ profile] robling_t asked really nicely.  ("I will read this if you write it," is a pretty nice way of asking for something.)

I do wish to point out that Stephenie Meyer gets really excellent covers.  Unfortunately, they are instantly recognizable from across a room.  Or a subway car.  I wanted to carry a sign saying, "Only reading this to make fun of it," but I would have worried about being accosted by the many actual fans doubtless present.  Maybe "My other book is an in-depth exploration of the psychology of human error."  Actually, I'm not sure how much a distinction that is.

Overall Impressions

I had previously read summaries and deconstructions of the book, and had not expected to like it.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it is reasonably well-written.  There's even some genuinely beautiful writing, mostly when Meyer gets into landscapes.  I would happily read a whole book, character-free, in which she contrasts the pacific northwest and the Arizona desert.  This is, of course, not that book. 

This one, however, does start with a rather cool literary conceit, which is that Bella, in the midst of her whining, describes moving to Forks in terms normally used for, well, becoming a vampire.  She is "saying goodbye to the sun forever."  It makes her skin look sallow and unhealthy.  Forks is "literally my personal hell on earth."  There is, in fact, a whole parallel with (better) stories about people with one angelic and one demonic parent, or similar.  Charlie is bound to Forks, and Renee actually left him over it.  I mean, this town is actually the reason for their divorce, and Bella refused to do visitations there, and Charlie wouldn't leave to keep his family together.  There's a whole different urban fantasy romance failing in the back story.

Several people have described Twilight as dreamlike or surreal.  It doesn't feel that way to me.  Poorly thought out, at times, but not deliberately dreamlike.  I am therefore judging it as an actual story in which details and plot elements are meant to be taken as stated.

My biases, let me show you them

I read Luminosity first.  In my head, these are the canonical versions of Bella and Edward and the rules for sparkly vampires.  I can't help making the comparison, and am not particularly going to try.  Luminosity, for those who haven't read it, is part of the relatively small subgenre of rationalist fanfic, along with Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.  Additional recommendations would be very welcome, since Luminosity is complete and MoR has been stalled for months, and there are some moods where I just want to read about characters nitpicking their own worldbuilding details.  In accordance with rationalist fanfic commenting standards, characters from different versions are referred to as rational!Bella and irrational!Bella, etc.

Cut for spoilers, like you haven't heard everything that happens in these books ten times already through cultural osmosis )

I think that my live-blogging notes from the read will go in a separate post.
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I wrote down comments as I went along, mostly snarky; this is what allowed me to finish.

Cut for length and spoilers (major for Twilight and minor for Luminosity) )

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Sometime over Thanksgiving, S heard my parents reading Bobby a particularly insipid version of Goldilocks--one where the bears don't even get angry because Goldilocks is too cute, or something.  In response, she read him Three Bears Norse.  My parents may have been a little alarmed, but Bobby loved it, and insisted she reread it several times.  But he also told her, repeatedly: "I want Three Bears Norse in a book with pictures!"  We were, of course, unable to comply, but we passed on the compliment to [ profile] papersky, not expecting anything further to come of it.

The book is now available!  There is not enough squee in the world, and I cannot wait to see Bobby's face--or B & A's.  I haven't told them yet; I'm planning on presenting the thing in person.  Meanwhile, I believe there are about 50-odd copies left.


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