Thursday, January 25, 2007

More Things That Suck

Here's a little more material from an unpublished column. For more wit from Christopher Moore, see "A Genius In Flip-Flops: An Interview with Christopher Moore."
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Frankly, it seems like bloodsucking is making a big comeback right now. Oh, sure, there are always those vampire romance novels that seem about as self-aware and lucid as a letter to Penthouse (“Dear Gothic Beauty magazine: you won’t believe what happened to me…”) but vampirism and horror in general really needs a good smack in the head every so often to make it work.

God knows Christopher Moore has the chops for it. Though not strictly a mystery or thriller, I think a rambunctious evening among the dead in atmospheric San Francisco should qualify for thrills under a technicality, so the good humorist’s latest volume - You Suck - makes my A-list this month.

Moore has been on what is, at least for him, a fairly black streak lately with the death-defying escapades of A Dirty Job.It’s good to see him return to the genre-bending horror-comedy he so dearly loves in this sequel to 1995’s Bloodsucking Fiends. That book plots the audacious and strangely touching love story between Jody, a deeply confused, newly made and hungry new vampire and her “minion” Tommy, the nineteen-year-old manager of a Safeway, leader of its dysfunctional night stockers “The Animals,” and world champion turkey bowler. Where Moore’s debut novel, Practical Demonkeeping, delved a bit far into fantasy, his entry into the vampire genre jumped into comedy with both feet, taking all the old clich├ęs about blood, capes and so forth and twisting them into a tear-inducing, hilarious inquiry into things that suck.

Not so much a sequel as a continuation, You Suck picks up where the original left off – not the next day, not later that year but right at that moment, as Tommy confronts Jody with her misdeeds: “You bitch, you killed me! You suck!” From there, it’s easy to laugh along as Tommy learns the conventions of eating cat (gives you tuna breath), Hot Monkey Love (which turns out to be a bit rough between fellow vampires), and the peculiarities of his new minion Abby Normal, a teenager in the vein (so to speak) of Lily, the appealing goth girl from A Dirty Job. It is, as usual, a bit over the top (and generally necessitates a first reading of BSF) but during this frigid time of year when the books dry up, it’s a nice companion to a glass of dry red.